Friday, 21 August 2015

MIDNIGHT IN MOSCOW

17.08.2015

To Yaroslavl
The scenery changes, looking more prosperous along the Volga (and we have local guide called Olga). We skip visit to local home but John and Jim return with 3 1.5 lemonade bottles filled with moonshine vodka from some guys garden shed........
pretty churches
18.08.2015
To Uglich
Markets, churches and we wander off and fail to find the house of A.Kalashnikov. Weather still overcast and chilly. Onto the Moscow canal
19.08.2015
Arrive Moscow midday and city tour after lunch. Traffic as bad as St.P if not worse and we spend time in crawling. First impressions favourable although guide wastes time. Travel on metro and hop off to view amazing architecture on stations. Red Square impressive but big event at weekend means much scaffolding and chain link fencing spoils overall view but compensated by hundreds of small shacks like a german Xmas market liven everything up.
Weather now hot again. Evening concert most enjoyable back late.
20.08.2015
Happy birthday to me. Many cards and emails.
At leisure having forsaken museums to do own thing. Viking bus drops us off in Red Square we head to Lenin's mausoleum which is only open 4 days a week 10-1.
Queue 1/2 hour then get to see all the tombstones in the wall, every leader except Kruschev (didn't die in office ). Big bust of Stalin.  Also Yuri  Gagarin. Then into crypt. ...pitch dark, black marble,stairs impossible to see,no stopping, file round embalmed body in open casket in total silence. Absolute amazing experience even GF moved.
Once back out in RSq we head to Kazan  Cathedral  and light candles for Valery on anniversary of death.....she loved a visit to Moscow so it seemed appropriate. ..couldn't get to a working church yesterday so only 12 hours out.
Coffee  on terrace of Bosco Cafe outside GUM store opposite Lenin's tomb costs arm and leg as we imagine him spinning in grave. Deliciously ironic. GUM is a monument to capitalist conspicuous  consumption.  Wonderfully over the top.
To lunch at Dr.Zhivago in the hotel National where Lenin used to stay and Trotsky had rooms. Now chic and elegant top spot. Magnificent  lunch amongst Moscow mafia businessmen and ladies who lunch (felt slightly underdressed but when you're 70 you can do that).
Walk to Bolshoi for GF then tackle the metro system . Got lost then recovered then got lost then found the right line to Maryskaya station which is amazing art deco wonder. Metro back to pier and found lovely local market as we exited  Metro with liquor store. Arranged to dine tonight with John Diane Jim & Kathy  so intended buying champagne on boat ($170 moet & chandon  nv seeming a bit steep I was going to opt for the Russian spkling at $ 25 so a liquor store seemed provident.....long story but ended up with a bottle for 265 rubles which is about $4.50..........
However when we got back to boat there was a very nice bottle of champagne in the room courtesy of Viking with a lovely card from the management.........so we took that down to dinner. ......
And John and Jim produced a 1.5 litre bottle of moonshine with a picture  of John outside on his balcony banging on the door to be let in (see previous post)which they had taken and the reception staff had printed off for them........amazing effort on their part and given a bit more  notice would have had my face superimposed. So after the champagne shot glasses appeared and the first of many toasts, followed by the appearance of staff bearing cake the GF had organised with kitchen and mass singing.........loved it!!!!!!!! Said I didn't want a fuss........
It may have been fortunate that at 9pm we had to assemble for Moscow by night tour or we might all be blind by now.
Moscow at night is unforgettable.
We had 31/2 hours by coach and boat which were wow! Thousands  of buildings  old and new are illuminated  ( subsidised by city council)......and the reconstruction in the last 20 years and most recently make it the most modern city I've seen. It's like London Paris and new York all in one. Back to ship 12.45 and more toasts mooted but vetoed  and so to bed....wonderful day.

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