July 30th: We had a pretty uneventful day as all we had to do was to get on a train to Moscow at 1pm. After some running around at the train station to collect our tickets, we made it on the train…which was pretty spectacular. I’m really hoping the Trans-Siberian trains will be just as nice but something tells me I’m going to be disappointed. 🙂
We were picked up in Moscow by a driver who took us right to our hotel….which was super touristy. Lots of souvenir shops, restaurants with the requisite karaoke bars, lounges and shady massage parlours and to top it all, a lot of Chinese tour groups. Bill was able to understand the words being spoke around him. We were set for the night!:):)
July 31st: Our first stop was the Kremlin. It is basically the centre of all Russian political power and was also the centre of the Russian Orthodox Church at one point. It is a large compound with high walls and contains a number of office buildings, cathedrals and museums. We visited The Archangel Cathedral which is essentially where all the famous Tsars are buried. The famous Ivan the Terrible and his sons are also buried here. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside. The paintings on the walls are at least 500 years old and didn’t seem restored…which showed. But I prefer seeing it unrestored anyway and they were still very stunning. The cathedral just opposite this is the Annunciation Cathedral which is more of a museum housing old Russian icons and paintings. This dates from the late 1400s. We walked around a bit more to get a feel for the place. It was teeming with guards at every corner..none looked more than 20 years old!
We also saw the Tsar Bell (cracked before it was even rung..much like the famous Liberty Bell in Philly) and the Tsar Cannon (which was never shot)!!
After lunch we made our way to Red Square. As St.Basil’s Cathedral came into view, it literally took our breath away. We took our time walking around Red Square, taking it all in and finally made our way inside the cathedral…which was built to celebrate the defeat of Ivan the Terrible over Kazan ( need to read up more on this).
Anyone that knows Bill well also knows that apart from a gin and tonic, his favorite go-to drink is….The White Russian. :):) How appropriate! We found a nice bar, right on the square just opposite the Kremlin and had a few drinks! Lovely end to the day.
Tomorrow, we get on the train.. Very excited. Hopefully we’ll have Internet connectivity in Yekaterinburg which is our next stop… Not before we spend 30 hours on the train first!:)