Monday, May 7, 2007

Da Svidaniya, Moscow

Well it is our final day in Moscow and it is rapidly drawing to a close. It is 9:45pm and in about an hour we will head to the train station to catch our midnight train to St. Petersburg. That train is the famous "Red Arrow" and we have a private sleeper car booked. I suspect that it will be either completely romantic and charming or hideously uncomfortable.

While i can't speak for Betty Lou (she isn't with me at the moment), i am not sad to be leaving Moscow, in that we have done the things we set out to do. A person could spend a month here are not see everything, i suspect, but we have made a good effort. The only thing about Moscow that i will be sorry to leave behind is the sense of familiarity we have developed in the past week. By now, the metro is a breeze and finding our way around is not too difficult. Going to St. Petersburg means starting anew, but we are ready for the challenge.

Today was a bit of a struggle. Both Betty Lou and I were feeling tired and worn out. I had planned a grand day of visiting the beautiful Novodevichy Convent and cemetery - pick a famous Russian, they're all buried there (including Yeltsin). We arrived on this, the most warm and sunny of days, and the place was closed. It is supposed to be open on Mondays, but, much like Lenin's tomb, it was closed. I was warned that Russian sights were like that; closed without warning. I was very disappointed. The alternative places we could have visited in (its) stead were all closed on Mondays. So we went to Gorky Park.
Gorky Park might be a swell place to visit on a weekend, as it has paddle boast and amusement rides, but on a Monday it was a ghost town. The rides were open, but no one was on them, It was out of a horror movie (i thought). Not "Children of the Corn"; more like "Funhouse". (Dawn will know what i am referring to.)
After that we meandered back to GUM for coffee and ice cream (where i fell asleep sitting up at the table) and took one last lingering look at Red Square and St. Basil's.  In Red Square rehearsal was taking place for the Victory Day Celebrations on May 9th.  There was marching and Russian voices filling the square.
We then went over to Theatre Square for a loooong dinner (2.5 hours-a record for us). It left us feeling sated and relaxed.
Now we wait to go to the train.
I would like, before departing from Moscow to make a few observations which i may have previously overlooked:
  • There is no litter anywhere; nor are there any garbage cans
  • Pointy shoes are very popular for both men and women, as is black leather.
  • Kopecks (100 of which make up 1 Rouble) are still in circulation, but nothing is ever priced such that you would need to use them. They are kept around for nostalgia's sake. In case you are curious, you get about 25 Roubles for $1 and an espresso costs about 90 Roubles.
  • Ivan the Terrible was the ruler who ordered the building of St. Basil's Cathedral. The architect was Postnik Yakovlev. After the building was complete, Ivan the Terrible was so impressed by its beauty that he had the architect blinded so he could never create anything to rival it. They didn't call him "Terrible" for nothing.

 Ok, that's all from Moscow. We will post again from St. Petersburg when we can.
Happy Trails,
Dale Raven & Betty Lou North

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