Monday, September 19, 2011

One Day in Moscow


What an amazing city this is, a city of about 17 Million inhabitants. I was very fortunate that I could join a one day tour to this beautiful city on my last cruise on the Constellation before going on vacation. I will of course write a story about St. Petersburg as well.

The tour started very early in the morning, the moment the ship was docked and cleared we had a bus that took us to the airport, 40 minutes one way, and we could see some new parts of St. Petersburg, then a fairly quick check in and off we went on a 45 minute flight to Moscow, I was so excited.

Like I said, Moscow is huge and it took us good 40 minutes to get to the city center. I could see the first high rise buildings from the Stalin era, wow, they are like huge monuments and then the first big moment came, we saw the Kreml and St. Basil’s Cathedral. We stopped on the other side of the Moskwa River and had a great photo opportunity. The Kreml was closed as every Thursday the Parliament is there.

Then we went to the Red Square. They are busy with a huge Military Music Festival, so one couldn’t see the huge size of the square, but one gets the hint. It is amazing to stand here, imagining the huge army parades that they hold at this very same spot.

Next to the Kreml and the St. Basil’s Cathedral is the number one shopping center in Russia, it is called GOM, even so it is written differently. Of course I went in there quick, we had only half an hour free time and wow, what a shopping center, it is not huge, but stylish. Only the best shops are in there, jewellery, fashion designer that sort of shops. Then there is one food shop in it, called Gourmet No 1. What a treat for a chef, I could have gone absolutely wild, the cold cuts, the cheeses, the pastries, everything was just amazing. So I spent most of my free time in there.

After the red square we went for a metro ride. The Metro is huge and absolutely beautiful. The two stations I saw had bronze statues and white marble and beautiful mosaic. They were both built just after the second world war, but still look like new. Even today the government is still expanding the Metro which makes travelling in Moscow a lot easier, free from traffic…….just that I don’t understand the names written everywhere, no there is no English!

Quick tea break in one of the nicer hotels, not one of the top 5 star hotels, but just nice to have a little break, the day is long, it is already early afternoon. We are now on the way to Smolensky Cathedral and Monastery. The Monastery is still functioning today and is one of the richest and most beautiful monasteries in Moscow. The reason for it is that the Tsars were not allowed to divorce or have another wife, so if they had enough of their wife or just wanted another one, they put them in a monastery, this monastery and of course they made generous gifts, just that they could continue with their lives as nothing has happened. It sounds a bit harsh, but I know that in history many wives were just killed and disposed of, I think that is a better option, still not nice so.

Then we went off on the bus again, the day was still long and we still had more on the program. Now we went on a river cruise to see the sights from a ship, loved it, it was so relaxing and we did see a lot, like the trainings place for the ski jumping, even to be used in summer, the famous Gorki Park, you have to read the book (or watch the movie) then further towards the university with the center of science.

Then we went on the bus again, this time along the old walls of Moscow, built in the 15th century to the restaurant where we will have dinner and wow, how wonderful that restaurant was. It is called “The Writers Club) and has been built as a house of a rich Muscovite in the 19th Century. The interior was absolutely beautiful as you can see on the photos. The food was nice, but could not match the interior of the restaurant. The main course was the traditional Beef Stroganoff…… but still the entire evening in the restaurant was absolutely amazing.

After that we went off again towards the airport. Now the long way home started, 45 minutes to the airport, check in, waiting, flying, another bus trip and then finally we arrived at Constellation at…..2 AM. This was a very long day, but so memorable and amazing. I found another city in the world which belongs now to my favorites, yes I know I only saw so little, but then again, I saw so much in just one day!

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