RUSSIA: Enigmatic Moscow

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May 18th 2007
Published: May 18th 2007
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Resurrection Gate: Entrance to the Red SquareResurrection Gate: Entrance to the Red SquareResurrection Gate: Entrance to the Red Square

Rebuilt entirely since it had been demolished by Stalin's order since it made it harder for the tanks and soldiers to reach the square fast.
Hi there:

After 4 incredible days exploring St Pete, mostly in the great company of my 2 new British friends, I can recommend it as a great destination, particularly for those who enjoy walking while exploring incredibly beautiful buidings, churches, and canals. Lot's of Russian history on the streets and museums.

MOSCOW: Beautiful metropolis, fascinating churches, with fairly unfriendly people, very high prices and horrible traffic jams. That's a simplified descripition of the capital I have extensively explored on foot for 3 days.

From the still enigmatic Kremlin, the sight of Lenin's body, which has been preserved since he died in 1924, to the beautiful metro underground, you are reminded of the soviet era. However, the contrasting sight of very exclusive shops, the unbelievable number of very expensive cars, and the innumerous elegant cafes/restaurants, make it hard to believe that not long ago this was a communist country. Moscow "feels" very capitalist and european, with great abundance of designer brand names everywhere.

The Russian people seem to like the lifestyle of other capitalist nations, but on their own Russian way and space. They are tolerante, but not friendly, to tourists. We were denied help with directions
Saint Basil's ChurchSaint Basil's ChurchSaint Basil's Church

It's intricate and colorful beauty brightens Red Square
several times.
Very rarely we find anything written in English, even on tourist places like the airports, restaurants, metro, Kremlin etc. Surprisinly, young Russians generally do not speak English.

Accidentaly, we got to "participate" on a historical Russian moment. At the Church of Christ of Savior, which had been completely destroyed during the soviet era and recently rebuilt from the ground up, the Russian Orthodox Church from Russia and the one from abroad, which had been on bad terms from 80 years, reunited. President Putin, the media, and ME, were there. It was quiet an unexpected and interesting experience. See some pictures.

Remember that I have written that I wouldn't dare go into a Mc Donald? Well, let me take that back. I have discovered that the hamburger joint has accompaning "Mc Cafes" here. Posh looking cafes, great tasting desserts and coffee, cozy atmosphere, it would put Starbucks to shame! I am not exagerating. We have been to 2 and they were so nice we made the time last after finishing the delicious cappuccino, American coffee (strong and tasty, by the way) and apple struddle by reading the newspaper and listening to great background music. We have been
Lenin: the world's most famous mummyLenin: the world's most famous mummyLenin: the world's most famous mummy

He still looks pretty good, particularly since he has been dead for 83 years!! It was Stalin's idea to keep him on display forever but his wishes was to be burried by his Mom.
wondering if Mc Cafe have opened in other countries but we are certain that the concept is way too nice for the average American Mc Donald's clients.

Eating was best at buffet type restaurants for the locals, where we could just point to the food we wanted and could try different dishes.

Enough writting! Just enjoy the pictures and to see all, click on "2"or next, below.

Please be well & in touch.

Additional photos below
Photos: 34, Displayed: 23


Kazan CathedralKazan Cathedral
Kazan Cathedral

Lovely church, also destroyed by Stalin (a toilet was put in its site) and reconstructed after the fall of communism. I entered as a service was happening: insence smell, all follower standing and making sign of the cross continuously.
GUM stores by the Red SquareGUM stores by the Red Square
GUM stores by the Red Square

Located just across the Lenin's Mausoleum. He must be turn with furry... when the tourists aren't around: thousands of exclusive shops, with Russians consuming fashion like good capitalists, right in front of his mausoleum.
Tomb of the Unknown SoldierTomb of the Unknown Soldier
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The remains of the soldiers who died when Napolean invaded Russia are here.
Churches Inside the KremlinChurches Inside the Kremlin
Churches Inside the Kremlin

The gold of the top of the Russian Orthodox churches are even more stanning as the sun shines on them.
Church in the Kremlin 3Church in the Kremlin 3
Church in the Kremlin 3

Beautiful paintings all the away to the ceiling. Pure art! The atmosphere, the paintings, no seats... for the non religious, the Russian churches are still a wonderful place to contemplate art, if not to pray
Kremlin GardenKremlin Garden
Kremlin Garden

More tulips painting the scene
Survivor of Communist Survivor of Communist
Survivor of Communist

There were 50,000 churches when communist took power but most were destroyed. There are now 25,000 rebuilt/remodeled.
Church of Christ the SaviorChurch of Christ the Savior
Church of Christ the Savior

Stalin had it completed demolished to build the talest building in the world, where his statue would be on the top of. It never happened. Now, a replica of the original church stands on the same spot.
Church of Christ the Savior 3Church of Christ the Savior 3
Church of Christ the Savior 3

This fellow is the BIG fellow of the Russian Orthodox Church.

29th May 2007

Great photos! I can't believe you saw Putin - a true moment of history. We have the McCafe s some places in England and I also saw one in Auckland...not sure about anywhere else in the world!
1st June 2007

Hi back Julia
You are quite aphotographer yourself. It was hard keeping up with your inumerous clickings!!! Keep in touch.
6th June 2007

Love the photos
Hi Patricia, Now that I am back home I have more time to read through your blogs! I love the way you write and your photos. Keep in touch. Who knows we might end up travelling somewhere together one of these days. Or just meet for coffee in a Mc Café. Stay safe. Julie

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