Random thoughts on Moscow

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The Kremlin Embankment of the Moscow River.
The Kremlin Embankment of the Moscow River.

Just a few unique items of observation in my two months here.

Applause, Applause: In Russia, when the pilot makes a successful landing, the passengers applaud. No idea what happens if it’s a bad landing and I am not interested in finding out.

Toilet seat: The seat is always up. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Ladies room. It doesn’t matter if a women used the toilet just before you. The seat will be up.

Glasses: I found sunglasses to be especially difficult to find here. I could go to a specialty store where they only sold expensive sunglasses, but I won’t pay that much for something I’ll lose, break or leave behind. In fact, I’ve never seen so many expensive stores in all my life.

Photos: All over the world, I’ve offered to help people take photos. It seems like a kindness to help out a group of people so that everyone can be in the picture. I look (and am) harmless, so I’m seldom turned down. People simply smile, hand me their camera and pose. When I am turned down, it’s usually with kindness and gratitude. Not so in Russia. Offer to take a photo for a Russian couple and they look at you like you are a thief. A man actually made a threatening gesture at me this week and I’m pretty sure he called me an impolite name.

Commerce: Capitalism is done differently here, or maybe they just don’t have the hang of it. Tour buses have no ads or sign posts to make it easier for a tourist to find them. You almost have to chase them down. Store clerks are indifferent to your presence. I hate shopping, so I hate it when a sales person won’t let me browse, but I don’t want to beg you to take my money, either. There must be a happy medium.

Annoyances: There’s lots of little things that I find annoying here. For example, the audio guide on the tour bus has 8 languages, but it jumps back to Russian every few minutes. People are constantly mixing up left and right, even in recorded or printed messages, even among folks who speak English very well. I don’t understand this, but I finally got folks to show me directions rather than tell me.

Language, and not in a good way: in Moscow I’ve seen more T-shirts with the f-word than everywhere else I’ve traveled combined. And other shirts say rude things that indicate that the wearer does not care about anyone else. I’ve seen THREE different women wearing shirts with the words “F@ck your girlfriend.” These appear to be worn by Russians, though I can’t be sure (they weren’t Asian tourists). I have no idea if these people know what the shirts say.

Barricades: There’s lost of construction, so there are many barricades up which makes walking difficult. What surprises me is how few baricades or signs there are in tourist places, like the Kremlin or Red Square. There are lots of places you aren’t supposed to go, but they typically post a few security personnel with whistles to keep you out.  You don’t know you’re breaking the rules until you’ve already done it. Having security scold me is just one more thing that makes me feel unwelcome.

Metal Detectors: They are everywhere, but most places don’t use them. At the underground mall, GUM department store and numerous places, they are operational, but The security offices pay no attention as they go off. At the metro, they are turned off, but you have to walk through or around them. Where they are used, like the Kremlin or Lenin’s Tomb, they slow everything down. There were only about 50 people in front of me at the Kremlin, but it took 45 minutes to enter. The whole time, I was standing outside in the rain.

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Assorted photos of Moscow

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View of the Moscow River from a bridge on the edge of the Kremlin. In the center of the photo in the far distance is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
View of the Moscow River from a bridge on the edge of the Kremlin. In the center of the photo in the far distance is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

As always, I took a LOT of photos. Here are some random ones, mostly of buildings.

Former KGB office. Many political prisoners were held here in the Lubyanka Building. Although the Soviet secret police changed its name many times, its headquarters remained in this building. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lubyanka_Building
Former KGB office. Many political prisoners were held here in the Lubyanka Building. Although the Soviet secret police changed its name many times, its headquarters remained in this building.

This is one of the “seven sisters,” skyscrapers built across the city. There were supposed to be 8 of them, but the last was never built. This one can be seen from a bridge across the Moscow River, near the Kremlin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Sisters_(Moscow)
This is one of the “seven sisters,” skyscrapers built across the city. There were supposed to be 8 of them, but the last was never built. This one can be seen from a bridge across the Moscow River, near the Kremlin.
There are little chapels and full churches everywhere. I assume most are Russian or Eastern Orthodox. This one is near the Polytechnic Museum (closed for renovations) and is fondly referred to as “the bell” since it’s made of cast iron. It’s to commemorate the war with Turkey in the late 19th Century.
There are little chapels and full churches everywhere. I assume most are Russian or Eastern Orthodox. This one is near the Polytechnic Museum (closed for renovations) and is fondly referred to as “the bell” since it’s made of cast iron. It’s to commemorate the war with Turkey in the late 19th Century.
One of the Seven Sisters. Each of the skyscrapers has a counterpart in NYC since the architects went there to study the structures. Stalin also insisted that all of the Seven Sisters be given a spire, in order to distinguish them from their American counterpart.
One of the Seven Sisters. Each of the skyscrapers has a counterpart in NYC since the architects went there to study the structures. Stalin also insisted that all of the Seven Sisters be given a spire, in order to distinguish them from their American counterpart.

Moscow, July 17, 2016, 54

This is a canal, built to save the city center from spring floods. You can see the statue of Peter the Great in the background.
This is a canal, built to save the city center from spring floods. You can see the statue of Peter the Great in the background.
Unusual statue in a park near the canal. It’s called Children Are the Victims of Adult Vices. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_Are_the_Victims_of_Adult_Vices
Unusual statue in a park near the canal. It’s called Children Are the Victims of Adult Vices.
A wedding party.
A wedding party.
Did I mention construction was everywhere? It was difficult to walk in some areas and impossible to take photos in others.
Did I mention construction was everywhere? It was difficult to walk in some areas and impossible to take photos in others.
This is the statue of Peter the Great. It's huge, 98 meters tall and the 8th largest in the world. It’s a fairly recent addition to the city and not terribly popular. According to the Audio guide, it was built originally to commemorate Christopher Columbus, but no one in the US or Italy was interested in purchasing it. The artist finally changed the head and gave the massive sculpture to Moscow. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_the_Great_Statue
This is the statue of Peter the Great. It’s huge, 98 meters tall and the 8th largest in the world. It’s a fairly recent addition to the city and not terribly popular. According to the Audio guide, it was built originally to commemorate Christopher Columbus, but no one in the US or Italy was interested in purchasing it. The artist finally changed the head and gave the massive sculpture to Moscow.
I don’t know anything about this building, just thought it was lovely. It’s on a pedestrian street near the financial district.
I don’t know anything about this building, just thought it was lovely. It’s on a pedestrian street near the financial district.
Churches and chapels are everywhere. I’ve not seen a synagogue or mosque at all.
Churches and chapels are everywhere. I’ve not seen a synagogue or mosque at all.
Russian Olympic Committee Headquarters https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Olympic_Committee
Russian Olympic Committee Headquarters
The former Olympic weightlifting arena used in 1980. It looked in disrepair. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izmailovo_Sports_Palace
The former Olympic weightlifting arena used in 1980. It looked in disrepair.
Another 1980 Olympic venue. That was the one we boycotted, right?
Another 1980 Olympic venue. That was the one we boycotted, right?

Moscow, July 17, 2016, 75

Cathedral of Christ the Savior, located on the Moscow River. It is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world at 103 meters. This is actually a new construction the replicates an older one that was torn down. The original church, built during the 19th century, took more than 40 years to build. The original church was the scene of the 1882 world premiere of the 1812 Overture composed by Tchaikovsky, which became internationally famous. This first church was destroyed in 1931 on Stalin's orders. In it's place was supposed to be a colossal Palace of the Soviets. Construction started in 1937, but was never built completed. It was even the site of a swimming pool for awhile! This church was completed in 2000. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Christ_the_Saviour
Cathedral of Christ the Savior, located on the Moscow River. It is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world at 103 meters.
This is actually a new construction the replicates an older one that was torn down. The original church, built during the 19th century, took more than 40 years to build. The original church was the scene of the 1882 world premiere of the 1812 Overture composed by Tchaikovsky, which became internationally famous.
This first church was destroyed in 1931 on Stalin’s orders. In it’s place was supposed to be a colossal Palace of the Soviets. Construction started in 1937, but was never built completed. It was even the site of a swimming pool for awhile! This church was completed in 2000. It was a very long walk here just to find that you can’t go inside.
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Moscow Metro

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The metro was not only beautiful, but clean, safe and cheap.
The metro was not only beautiful, but clean, safe and cheap.

Yes, I honestly took a tour of the Moscow Metro. The stations–all 200 of them–are each unique. Some of the older ones have marble and semi-precious stones. I toured only 7 of them, but are pretty impressed. My guide, Elena, also pointed out many of the places were are with Stalin’s image had been removed, a process called “de-Stalinization.”

The first stations were built in the 1930’s but those built just after WWII are the most elaborate. Oh, and there’s free wifi. Seriously, this is the cleanest metro I’ve ever seen–that includes Tokyo.

Moscow, July 19, 2016, 15 Moscow, July 19, 2016, 16 Moscow, July 19, 2016, 18

I saw a lot of metal detectors. None of them were working.
I saw a lot of metal detectors. None of them were working.

Moscow, July 19, 2016, 21 Moscow, July 19, 2016, 23 Moscow, July 19, 2016, 25

Ceiling art. That's Lenin, but it used to have Stalin and Lenin.
Ceiling art. That’s Lenin, but it used to have Stalin and Lenin.

Moscow, July 19, 2016, 30

Each stained glass panel is unique.
Each stained glass panel is unique.
This used to have an image of Stalin. It was removed and the doves added instead.
This used to have an image of Stalin. It was removed and the doves added instead.

Moscow, July 19, 2016, 34

Ceiling art
Ceiling art
Ceiling art
Ceiling art

Moscow, July 19, 2016, 38 Moscow, July 19, 2016, 39 Moscow, July 19, 2016, 40

Here's one of the reasons that taking the metro is challenging: There's no English.
Here’s one of the reasons that taking the metro is challenging: There’s no English.
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Alexander Park, Moscow

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It is beautifully landscaped with lots of shade trees and benches.
It is beautifully landscaped with lots of shade trees and benches.

I really enjoyed walking through this park and wanted to share the photos. Alexander Gardens are located along the length of the western Kremlin wall for 865 meters (2,838 ft) between Manege Square and the Kremlin.

From Wikipedia: "Towards the main entrance to the park is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame brought from the Field of Mars in Leningrad. Created in 1967, it contains the body of a soldier who fell during the Great Patriotic War at the kilometer 41 marker of Leningradskoe Shosse, the nearest point the forces of Nazi Germany penetrated towards Moscow. Post Number One, where the honor sentinels stand on guard, used to be located in front of Lenin's Mausoleum, but was moved to the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier in the 1990s. "
From Wikipedia: “Towards the main entrance to the park is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame brought from the Field of Mars in Leningrad. Created in 1967, it contains the body of a soldier who fell during the Great Patriotic War at the kilometer 41 marker of Leningradskoe Shosse, the nearest point the forces of Nazi Germany penetrated towards Moscow. Post Number One, where the honor sentinels stand on guard, used to be located in front of Lenin’s Mausoleum, but was moved to the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier in the 1990s. “
Close up, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Eternal Flame.
Close up, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Eternal Flame. I got to see the changing of the guards, though I wasn’t close enough to photograph it. Surprised by the amount of goose stepping they did.
This is another day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is not part of the changing of the guards. This is the "redressing" of the guards. The goose stepping guy rearranges their clothing for them after the changing of the guards and periodically wipes the sweat from their faces.
This is another day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is not part of the changing of the guards. This is the “redressing” of the guards. The goose stepping guy rearranges their clothing for them after the changing of the guards and periodically wipes the sweat from their faces.
In the center is a grotto built underneath the Middle Arsenal Tower. It was constructed in 1841, Is rocks are rubble from buildings destroyed during the French occupation of Moscow in 1812.
In the center is a grotto built underneath the Middle Arsenal Tower. It was constructed in 1841, Its rocks are rubble from buildings destroyed during the French occupation of Moscow in 1812.
From Wikipedia: "In front of the grotto is an obelisk erected on July 10 1914, a year after the tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty was celebrated. The monument made of granite from Finland listed all of the Romanov Tsars and had the coats of arms of the (Russian) provinces. Four years later, the dynasty was gone, and the Bolsheviks (per Lenin’s directive on Monumental propaganda) removed the imperial eagle, and re-carved the monument with a list of 19 socialist and communist philosophers and political leaders, personally approved by Lenin. Originally in the Lower Garden, it was relocated to its present location in 1966. There is discussion to remove Lenin's and reinstall an obelisk duplicating the original."
From Wikipedia: “In front of the grotto is an obelisk erected on July 10 1914, a year after the tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty was celebrated. The monument made of granite from Finland listed all of the Romanov Tsars and had the coats of arms of the (Russian) provinces. Four years later, the dynasty was gone, and the Bolsheviks (per Lenin’s directive on Monumental propaganda) removed the imperial eagle, and re-carved the monument with a list of 19 socialist and communist philosophers and political leaders, personally approved by Lenin. Originally in the Lower Garden, it was relocated to its present location in 1966. There is discussion to remove Lenin’s and reinstall an obelisk duplicating the original.”

Moscow, July 16, 2016, 13 Moscow, July 16, 2016, 19

Information plaque in the park. There's more English than you'd expect. Though the vast majority of foreign tourists I see are Chinese, the only language besides Russian is usually English.
Information plaque in the park. There’s more English than you’d expect. Though the vast majority of foreign tourists I see are Chinese, the second language is English.
Statue of Alexander I. He ordered the construction of the garden after the Napoleonic Wars.
Statue of Alexander I. He ordered the construction of the garden after the Napoleonic Wars, It was one of the first urban parks in Moscow. While walking in the park I overhead an American tourist say, “Oh, Napoleon!” No. Definitely not. You might want to learn a little history.
This park is built on the site for a former river which is now underground, but this "simulates" the river. According to Wikipedia: "Another innovation is the former river-bed of the Neglinnaya River, which has become a popular attraction for Muscovites and tourists alike, especially on sultry summer days. The course of the river (which now really flows underground) is imitated by a rivulet dotted with fountains and statues of Russian fairy-tale characters, as sculpted by Zurab Tsereteli."
This park is built on the site for a former river which is now underground, but this “simulates” the river. According to Wikipedia: “Another innovation is the former river-bed of the Neglinnaya River, which has become a popular attraction for Muscovites and tourists alike, especially on sultry summer days. The course of the river (which now really flows underground) is imitated by a rivulet dotted with fountains and statues of Russian fairy-tale characters, as sculpted by Zurab Tsereteli.”

Moscow, July 16, 2016, 18 Moscow, July 18, 2016, 58 Moscow, July 18, 2016, 57 Moscow, July 17, 2016, 5 Moscow, July 18, 2016, 54 Moscow, July 18, 2016, 55

Technically, this is adjacent to Alexander Park. Manege Square is a large pedestrian open space
Technically, this is adjacent to Alexander Park. Manege Square is a large pedestrian open space

Moscow, July 18, 2016, 64

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Red Square, Moscow

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Red Square
Red Square from the Moscow Bridge

This is the place I wanted to see the most when I came to Moscow. Exhausted, jet lagged and badly in need of a shower, I drug myself to it the very first evening. It doesn’t disappoint!

The name Red Square has nothing to do with the red brick walls of the Kremlin nor because of the link between the color red and communism. The Russian word красная (krasnaya), means “red,” but also “beautiful.” BTW, those red brick walls were whitewashed for about 200 years.

Resurrection Gate also called Iberian Gate, is the only existing gate of the Kitai-Gorod in Moscow. It connects the north-western end of Red Square with Manege Square. The gate adjoins the ornate building of the Moscow City Hall to the east and the State Historical Museum to the west. Just in front of the chapel is a bronze plaque marking kilometer zero of the Russian highway system.
Resurrection Gate also called Iberian Gate, is the only existing gate of the Kitai-Gorod in Moscow. It connects the north-western end of Red Square with Manege Square. The gate adjoins the ornate building of the Moscow City Hall to the east and the State Historical Museum to the west. Just in front of the chapel is a bronze plaque marking kilometer zero of the Russian highway system.

Red Square was the trade center for Moscow. It’s about 330 meters (1,080 feet) long and 70 meters (230 feet) wide.

Red Square is always busy! in the center is the tomb of Lenin.
Red Square is always busy! in the center, against the red Kremlin wall, is the tomb of Lenin.

On May 28, 1987, a West German pilot named Mathias Rust landed a Cessna 172 light aircraft at St. Basil next to Red Square, causing a major scandal in the Soviet Air Defense Forces. Airspace over Moscow is still closed.

Lenin's Tomb. Stalin had also been here, but his body was removed and he's buried behind the tomb along with other Russian politicians and important figures.
Lenin’s Tomb. Stalin had also been here, but his body was removed and he’s buried behind the tomb along with other Russian politicians and important figures.
The only sculptured monument on the square is a bronze statue of Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, who helped to clear Moscow from the Polish invaders in 1612, during the Times of Trouble.
The only sculptured monument on the square is a bronze statue of Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, who helped to clear Moscow from the Polish invaders in 1612, during the Times of Trouble.

The Red Square has been a mass-meeting spot for events of all types since its construction, including religious festivals, military displays, benefit concerts, and more.

The large, circular item in the center is the Lobnoye Mesto, a circular platform where public ceremonies used to take place. Both the Minin and Pozharskiy statue and the Lobnoye Mesto were once located more centrally in Red Square but were moved to their current locations to facilitate the large military parades of the Soviet era.
The large, circular item in the center is the Lobnoye Mesto, a circular platform where public ceremonies used to take place. Both the Minin and Pozharskiy statue and the Lobnoye Mesto were once located more centrally in Red Square but were moved to their current locations to facilitate the large military parades of the Soviet era.

The crenelated walls of the Kremlin are referred to as “swallow tail” and are similar to some castle walls found in Italy. The designers were Italian.

Inside the the Lobnoye Mesto, which is now used like a dry wishing well. Notice all the coins.
Inside the Lobnoye Mesto, which is now used like a dry wishing well. Notice all the coins.

The Red Square was established in the 15th Century under the rule of Ivan III.

GUM is the official State Department store and a ritzy place to shop. Located on the East side of the square.
GUM is the official State Department store and a ritzy place to shop. Located on the East side of the square.
Inside GUM.
Inside GUM.
GUM is an abbreviation of Russian Glávnyj Universáĺnyj Magazín literally "main universal store." It was built between 1890 and 1893.
GUM is an abbreviation of Russian Glávnyj Universáĺnyj Magazín literally “main universal store.” It was built between 1890 and 1893.
Our Lady of Kazan from the corner of GUM's flowers.
Our Lady of Kazan from the corner of GUM’s flowers.
It looks like Disney World, doesn't it?
It looks like Disney World, doesn’t it?
The State Historical Museum (Russian: Государственный исторический музей, Gosudarstvenny istoricheskiy muzyey) of Russia[1] is a museum of Russian history wedged between Red Square and Manege (Revolution) Square in Moscow.
The State Historical Museum of Russian history is wedged between Red Square and Manege Square in Moscow.
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Timing is everything

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Bolshoi Theater. Those four horses on the top are pulling a chariot with Apollo. The running joke in Moscow is that Apollo is the only cab driver in the city who isn't drunk. http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/
Bolshoi Theater. Those four horses on the top are pulling a chariot with Apollo. The running joke in Moscow is that Apollo is the only cab driver in the city who isn’t drunk.

7/17/2016

Good thing I walked to Red Square the first night I got here. This morning, it was closed along with the Kremlin and the park just outside the walls!

Due to jet lag, I fell asleep early the first night and was up by 5:30a, but immediately saw on the news there was an attempted coup in Turkey. Erdogan is not my favorite but a military takeover isn’t ideal either. I know the USA supports him and he’s been democratically elected, but in my opinion he’s a dictator-in-the-making and not a (mostly) benevolent one like Ataturk. But what I care mostly about are my friends still in Istanbul. I could not contact any of them. Social media was locked down. Eventually, I got in contact with almost everyone. Things seem OK, but I’m still getting a couple alerts a day from the Istanbul Embassy (since their system won’t let me change my address!).  Travel is not recommended and no US airline is allowed to fly into or out of Turkey. Good thing I got out of there.

So after finding out all I could about the situation in Turkey, it was 7am and I wanted to go explore Moscow before it got too hot. All the cloudy, overcast skies of Nakhodka are behind me now—it’s summer in Moscow! Temperatures are in the mid-80’s with bright sun. A new host in the hostel really wanted to talk. He took the summer job to practice his English with native speakers and there have been few. I hated to run out on him, but I had a new city to explore and the temperature was rising.

First I walked past the Bolshoy Theater and Revolution Square on my way to Red Square.

On the right is the Bolshoi Theater. The name means "big" and it's designed for operas and ballet. The yellow building on the left is where you buy tickets. In the middle, the grey-green building is the "Little" Theater for dramas. Back in the days when there was little travel outside the Soviet Union, Mosovites quipped that the "little" theater was what you called the touring Bolshoi troupe when they returned from overseas, since there were always defectors.
On the right is the Bolshoi Theater. The name means “big” and it’s designed for operas and ballet. The yellow building on the left is where you buy tickets. In the middle, the grey-green building is the “Little” Theater for dramas.
Back in the days when there was little travel outside the Soviet Union, Mosovites quipped that the “little” theater was what you called the touring Bolshoi troupe when they returned from overseas, since there were always defectors.
The entrance to Revolution Square. Marx seems to be looking over the flower arches.
The entrance to Revolution Square. Marx seems to be looking over the flower arches.
The most famous hotel in Moscow, This Art Nouveau style hotel is catty corner from the Bolshoi Theatre. It was built in 1899–1907 and each of its 400 rooms is unique. You can't see the detail in this photo, but it's heavily decorated with a mosaic called The Princess of Dreams. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Metropol_Moscow
The most famous hotel in Moscow, The Metropol. This Art Nouveau style hotel is catty corner from the Bolshoi Theatre. It was built in 1899–1907 and each of its 400 rooms is unique. You can’t see the detail in this photo, but it’s heavily decorated with a mosaic called The Princess of Dreams.

Another view of the Metropol
Another view of the Metropol
It was barely 8am and there were military everywhere. What was surprising was how very young they all were. They looked like mostly teenagers. Or it's possible I'm getting old.
It was barely 8am and there were military everywhere. What was surprising was how very young they all were. They looked like teenagers. Or possibly I’m getting old.

The entrance gate I went through yesterday was closed. There were military everywhere and I could see they were putting up barricades. I walked into Alexander Park, located just outside the Kremlin wall. I found the ticket booth filled with people, but the signs read “closed today.” There’s so little English spoken here that I wasn’t sure if the sign was true or not. Certainly all the Asian (Chinese?) tourists seemed to be waiting for the place to open at 9:30. I grabbed breakfast and extra water before taking a few photos.

This is just as you walk through the entrance to Alexander Park from Revolution Square. The red brick walls are the Kremlin and the yellow building behind the wall is the Arsenal. Just behind the group of uniforms is the perpetual flame and tomb of the unknown soldier from WWII. This is probably a rare photo when the monument is not guarded, though there were plenty of military around. By the way, it's not called WWII here. It's always referred to as the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
This is just as you walk through the entrance to Alexander Park from Revolution Square. The red brick walls are the Kremlin and the yellow building behind the wall is the Arsenal. Just behind the group of uniforms is the perpetual flame and tomb of the unknown soldier from WWII. This is probably a rare photo when the monument is not guarded, though there were plenty of military around.
By the way, it’s not called WWII here. It’s always referred to as the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.

That’s when I noticed the line of military men headed my way. They were clearing the park as well as the square in front of the State Museum.

Revolution Square, in front of the State History Museum building. This is after we were run out of Alexander Park.
Revolution Square, in front of the State History Museum building. This is after we were run out of Alexander Park.
Red Square from behind barricades. I never did figure out what they were doing.
Red Square from behind barricades. I never did figure out what they were doing.

This was not my day. Eventually there was a program of some sort that took up Red Square. I never figured out what it was, but it went until past noon. In the meantime, I took a double-decker tour bus through the city.

It’s easy to see that the country lavishes money here in Moscow, though I assume it also generates a fair share. The building are in much better repair and construction and renovation are everywhere.

More later…..

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First evening in Moscow

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I made it to Moscow!
I made it to Moscow!

It was abut 5pm when I arrived at my hostel in Moscow. Because I’d crossed a few time zones to get here, my body thought it was 7 hour later. Despite that, I got quickly settled and went for a walk. My hostel is near the Bolshoi Theater and Red Square, so here are a few initial photos.

The entire shopping area was decked out with flowers, hearts and little cottages selling jams, ice cream and trinkets.
The entire shopping area was decked out with flowers, hearts and little cottages selling jams, ice cream and trinkets.

1st evening, Moscow July 2016, 6 1st evening, Moscow July 2016, 9 1st evening, Moscow July 2016, 10 1st evening, Moscow July 2016, 4

Bolshoi Theater
Bolshoi Theater
Marx. This statue is across the street from the Bolshoi Theater in Revolution Square.
Marx. This statue is across the street from the Bolshoi Theater in Revolution Square.
Revolution Square
Revolution Square

1st evening, Moscow July 2016, 15

One of the gates into Red Square. Notice the small chapel in front.
One of the gates into Red Square. Notice the small chapel in front.

1st evening, Moscow July 2016, 18 1st evening, Moscow July 2016, 19

The Spasskaya Tower is the main tower with a through-passage on the eastern wall of the Moscow Kremlin, which overlooks the Red Square.
The Spasskaya Tower is the main tower with a through-passage on the eastern wall of the Moscow Kremlin, which overlooks the Red Square.
Saint Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow
Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow
The GUM shopping center houses the ritzy stores. This is the State Department Store located on Red Square.
The GUM shopping center houses the ritzy stores. This is the State Department Store located on Red Square.

1st evening, Moscow July 2016, 34

This statue is just outside Red Square.
This statue is just outside Red Square.
The double headed eagle is from the Russian coat of arms.
The double headed eagle is from the Russian coat of arms.
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