Moscow , Monday February 26, 2007
This is our day to rest up and see the sights of
Moscow . Tomorrow we are off to our region and the rest of the week should be pretty busy. We slept in until about 8:30am and after making ourselves some snacks for breakfast we headed off to see the Kremlin and the Armory.
Our location at the Marriott Courtyard is great as it is only about a 10 block walk to the Kremlin. Along the way you have to go down stairs and under one of the more busy streets in
Moscow . We discovered a very nice grocery store down there and decided to poke around it for a while to see what they had. It is good to know that it is here in case we need something later in the week.
We got to the ticket office for the Kremlin and Armory and decided we could take an audio guided tour. So, we set off around the wall to find the gate for the armory. I have to say, things are not well marked as to where you should enter. We did get in and spent the next two hours looking at all the richness of Russian culture. We were quite impressed with the variety of things that were on display. They rival the richness of any country’s museum we’ve been in, such as . The first set of rooms displayed a lot of goblets, religious artifacts and objects that would have been royal gifts from our European royalty. Some of the most beautiful pieces were the Bible covers. One or two in particular were spectacular works of art, filigreed silver, colored enamels, and adorned with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and other jewels. I hope to be able to post a photo. Another room in the Armory was devoted to armor, swords and such. There were also rooms displaying carriages. Especially amusing were the small children’s carriages which would have been pulled by ponies. I’m sure Susanna and Laine would have enjoyed that. I especially enjoyed the room that had the gowns, crowns and thrones on display. A couple of the crowns were trimmed in fur and then gold with an assortment of jewels. It was most impressive to see the collection housed in the Armory and how old some of this stuff is – at least the 1400s. There was also a nice collection of Faberge eggs – each containing a wonderful little treasure. I really liked the one containing a complete miniature train in silver. All together not longer than a finger. It was a gift from one Royal to another to celebrate the first train service in . So, the Armory is about way more than arms.
We also decided to tour the Kremlin. I always thought that the Kremlin was just some sort of Russian government office building but it is way beyond that. Actually many towns have Kremlins. A Kremlin is more of a walled fortress which would have protected the citizens from invaders long ago. The Moscow Kremlin contains many buildings, including Government ones, which we did not get to see. Our ticket covered 4 of the churches and some walking around outside. I have to say, we didn’t do that much walking around outside as it was about 5 degrees F. Very sunny and freezing. The churches were absolutely beautiful and very different from any of the ones we have seen in Spain, France or Mexico. Where in Spain etc. important churches tend to have elaborate altars built of silver and gold stolen from the
New World , the churches here do have some gold and silver but they are entirely painted from floor to ceiling in religious scenes and icons. Still, they all start to look alike after awhile. All white and with big gold onion domes on top. We finally wrapped all this walking and gawking around 3pm and went to an Internet café where we were able to post some of the photos that we took.
We decided to head back to the hotel for a quick break and stopped back by that grocery store. Grabbed some basics like orange juice and rolls for breakfast. People in are so helpful. Scott wanted to buy two apples so he just put them in his basket. Then the sales clerk who must be in charge of the produce section came over and took his apples, she weighed them and bagged them all ready to be scanned at the checkout. They have a lot of patience with us Gringos who don’t know the system. Kind of like my ordering ice cream. I spotted a place with Lemon Ice Cream, my long time foreign favorite, which you just can’t get in the States. (NOT sorbet or sherbet). So, there I am pointing at the case and holding up a finger for one scoop and my limited Russian – please. Hey, I got my ice cream.
Speaking of ice, the sidewalks here are treacherous. The overhangs of some buildings have large dangerous icicles hanging down. That explains the areas taped of along the sidewalks so you don’t walk close to the buildings. Then you have the water down spouts which drain onto the sidewalks as well. Each creating a lovely little ice pond to watch out for. Cannot begin to tell you how many times today one of us almost slipped, despite wearing pretty good traction shoes.
In the evening we went to
to look for some souvenirs. We found a train as requested by Corrie and Lee, a couple of T-shirts and other things. I wanted a Hard Rock Café Moscow shirt but it was either small or 2XL! We had this experience a few places today. Shortages. They’re still working on this Capitalism thing. I did also buy the wooden box that we had our eye on last trip. I think I took a photo of it so I’ll have to remember to post it. I’m keeping it for our son to keep some of his Russian stuff in. Sort of a hope chest for him. Maybe a souvenir he’ll be able to keep forever. The shop was nice enough to disassemble the chest for me and bubble wrap it so it will go flat in my suitcase or as a carry one. If you want anything, better get your order in now! Gotta be ready to go at 5:30am tomorrow. Can you believe this day is coming!!
to look for some souvenirs. We found a train as requested by Corrie and Lee, a couple of T-shirts and other things. I wanted a Hard Rock Café Moscow shirt but it was either small or 2XL!We had this experience a few places today. Shortages. They’re still working on this Capitalism thing. I did also buy the wooden box that we had our eye on last trip. I think I took a photo of it so I’ll have to remember to post it. I’m keeping it for our son to keep some of his Russian stuff in. Sort of a hope chest for him. Maybe a souvenir he’ll be able to keep forever. The shop was nice enough to disassemble the chest for me and bubble wrap it so it will go flat in my suitcase or as a carry one. If you want anything, better get your order in now! Gotta be ready to go at 5:30am tomorrow. Can you believe this day is coming!!