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Published: September 14th 2011
Sep 12 – 14 Moscow
Deb and Marilyn were wonderful curtains last night at the talent show. With much bouncing and flourishing of a shawl they made the most of their 3 minutes total time on stage. Then when the show ended they went crazy dancing to country music and that YMCA song. We sailed through the Moscow canal and through many locks and then docked in Moscow about 1:30 pm. We did a city tour which gave us a sample of Sunday traffic in Moscow. It felt like Vancouver rush hour with construction delays and yet in many places there were 8 lanes each way. This is one busy traffic jam almost 24 hours long. However if you are a politically important person you get a Kojak blue light to put on the roof of your car and you can pass anyone at anytime, in the correct lane or not or even take a lane from the opposing traffic. There are tons of blue lights. Apparently there are plenty of accidents to go with them. People don’t really care about white lines designating lanes of traffic – one lane easily becomes 2 even 3 if necessary. The zipper effect that we use on the Lions Gate bridge would be an open invitation to let 20 or 30 aggressive cars in. Bus drivers must have to take years of lessons because they just drive and assume a car ahead will move or give way – the Russians don’t really want to and honk and get within centimeters of the bus. Merging metal into traffic is an art form here. The driving was the most impressive thing about the tour. We did see the city skyline from a hill up near the university but then we live in Vancouver so we weren’t breathless like some people were.
We did visit Red Square and that is impressive. The cathedral with the multi-coloured onion domes was amazing in real life. It was difficult to believe we were actually standing in such a famous spot. The Kremlin is on one side and the tour went to the other side – GUM. What a mall. So many designer shops. The inventory of that mall must be in the billions. I did see a rather nice red tandem bike for $6000 US. The only thing I got there was a cappuccino. At the Metro we went down the longest escalator and saw the bronze statues used to decorate the station. We rode 2 stops and then met our bus again and back to the ship.
We attended a fun music concert at night using traditional Russian instruments. Through intense traffic to get there and back.
Monday morning Marilyn and I took off walking through some parks. I tripped over a loose brick and mashed my knee. Maybe I subconsciously am trying to avoid the French walk coming up. Just 2 scraped knees and no holes made in the pants. I was glad Marilyn was my only audience and that she didn’t have her camera. In the afternoon we visited the Tretyakov art gallery and at night we did the Moscow by Night tour. Not what I expected – just the same route as the city tour but with lights on. GUM looked good since it was all outlined with lights like the Parliament buildings in Victoria. Forgot to mention that it was pouring rain so we couldn’t even take pics form the windows. Didn’t really need that tour especially as it was from 9:30 to 11:45 pm. Must say traffic was a little better on our way back to the ship.
Up this morning early to go for a Kremlin tour. We visited the Armory which shouldn’t be missed. This was not really a weapons display but a treasury display. Gold, silver and jewels encrusted everything. The Czars were lavish and decadent. Workmanship was splendid because the czars had skilled craftsmen brought from many different countries. I wish we’d had more time there but we had to go see yet another cathedral and a cannon and a bell. We left the tour there and stayed downtown for lunch at GUM and then we broke into 2 groups. Dan, Deb Ross and I went off to play on the Metro and Barb, Ron and Marilyn walked around the outside of the Kremlin a couple of times.
We’re all back on the ship now paying our bills, finding the tour guides to give them gratuities and packing. Barb has to leave the ship at 4 am tomorrow for a 9 am flight and we leave at 7 for a pm flight. Because of traffic.
Talk to you from Paris.
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