Sunday, October 25, 2009

Moscow !

Stepping off the train, I had no idea what we were all in for arriving in Moscow. We were so cozy in our train life but it was time to get our walking shoes on again and find out what makes this city tick. I have to say it is such a stunning city. Contrary to my preconceived ideas of what it could be (gray, sad, maybe a little behind the times-shame on me!!), it is anything but, it is colorful and so rich in history and now, just plain rich. People are so stylish, with our limited around the world wardrobe (2 pairs of shoes each) and some warm sporty-wear, we really felt out of place among these hip gorgeous people.
We set out to the most famous starting place, the Red Square. We toured the Basil Cathedral, the one that looks like a chocolate factory from the outside, and were awed by the Greek Orthodox frescoes and icons adorning every square inch of the cathedral. It was gorgeous and mysterious.
One place we absolutely needed to see before leaving Moscow was the Kremlin. I didn’t even know what the Kremlin was, exactly. I just knew it was mentioned numerous times in one of my favorite childhood shows, “Get Smart”. We stood at the ticket office and were approached by a local guide by the name of Lydia. With her thick Russian accent, she offered to guide us through the Kremlin. We hesitated for a moment and then agreed on a price. She was an amazing guide feeding us with volumes of history. She made mention many times about Ivan the Terrible and his seven wives and his terrible deeds. She brought the Kremlin to life for us! I wanted to hug her afterwards because she made our visit so worthwhile! The Kremlin is likened to our White house. Russia’s president resides here and 2,000 government employees come here to work. The Kremlin was originally a fortress (it is what it means in Russina) and the Russian Tsars resided here. All were crowned in one of the 5 cathedrals that are inside the Kremlin. We visited all 5. Originally there were more cathedrals but since Stalin did not like churches, he had them destroyed. There was a lot of talk about how awful Napoleon was and how he stole a lot of gold and jewels from the Kremlin. He turned some of the most beautiful buildings into horse stables and used one of the cathedrals as his wine cellar. He eventually left because he couldn’t withstand the bitter cold.
We heard that food was terrible here, but we have enjoyed it thoroughly. We’ve eaten with the locals at some great Russian buffets so we can point and choose. We found this works best when you don’t speak the language. Eric loves the stuffed peppers and borscht and I love beet salad with capers. The kids like the chicken soup and meatballs. Its been fun to experiment and its all been really good.
We will leave tomorrow filled with beautiful images of this opulent city and a longing to come back again one day.

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