I’ve been fighting the beginnings of a cold the last few days and finally took some Tylenol pm last night before bed. For the first time in a week I finally got a good night’s sleep! So good in fact that by the time Jerry came back from breakfast it was 7:20 and I had 25 minutes to get showered, dressed and have my suitcase in the hall… I made it. Then went down and had a relaxing breakfast and headed back to the room to await our 9:15 departure.
First stop of the day was St. Basil’s cathedral. We then strolled across Red Square where we had a view off Lenin’s tomb. Opposite side of the square is the Gum department store (really a shopping mall). We were given a little free time to wander around but I just found a bench and did some people watching.
We then descended into the Moscow Metro for a quick ride around to a few stations to see the architecture. The stations are all located from 60-80 meters below ground and of course served as bomb shelters during WWII and the Cold War. Every station is unique and features different styles of architecture and decor. They are very opulent and were used as a type of propaganda during soviet times to show how well off the country supposedly was.
Then it was on to our hotel, the Grand Marriott, just about a 20 minute walk from the Kremlin. We had about and hour rest period before heading to the WWII memorial museum.
The museum is very impressive and there was a lot of information to be conveyed. Unfortunately we had a museum guide speaking Russian interpreted by our local guide. So it took twice as long to pass along information meaning we only got to see half of the exhibits. As America’s European WWII experience was primarily in Italy, France, and the Low Countries we very rarely are exposed to the soviet experience. The Soviet Union suffered tremendous losses in the early days of the war and the civilian population endured terrible conditions for several years. The numbers involved in the battles along with the losses suffered are staggering. As the saying goes; one death is a tragedy, while millions are merely statistics…
We returned to the hotel about 6 pm and headed out for dinner. We decided on an Italian cafe where I ordered their signature Basiilca pizza. It was described as having smoked meats and cheeses, herbs, capers and red olives. What are red olives you might ask, seems to be a miss translation of cherry tomatoes… they were easily removed! And capers seem to be green onions, while herbs consisted of basil, parsley and dill. Little bit of an odd mix but all in all was really tasty! Then back to the hotel before our tour of Moscow by Night.
Unfortunately it had started to rain and the temperature had dipped so it wasn’t as fun as it potentially could have been. We only got one new view which was an overview of the Kremlin from a pedestrian bridge. We were back to the hotel around 11:30 or so. One very long day!