Holy Cow! It's Moscow!

Moscow Travel Blog

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Can you imagine? I have just been in Red Square in Moscow, Russia!!!

Literally surrounded on all sides by the symbolism of a seemingly-threatening past - it is quite a moment in my life to actually see these things with my own eyes. The sparkling onion domes of St Basil's Church - the very icon of exotic Russia - seems to almost light up the sky around it. Legend has it that, once constructed, Ivan the Terrible had the architect's eyes poked out - so that he could never design anything as beautiful as this!

Did you know that the name "Red Square" has nothing to do with red-flag waving Communists? The name came from the translation of the old title, meaning "beautiful" "important" or "red."

Give my money back, old woman!

I read in my guidebook that when you enter Red Square through Resurrection gate, it is good luck to throw money to the homeless.

Subway: Photos are (supposedly) forbidden.

So, I dug in my pocket and gave all my coins to the first poor-looking person I saw. A few steps later, however, I noticed a large gathering of people all tossing coins in a ringed area, where other homeless were later collecting them. Apparently, I had engaged in a premature donation. I briefly considered snatching my coins back and doing it correctly, but felt that my act HAD resulted in good luck - for the old woman, anyway.

The Moscow subway is one of the deepest in the world (St Petersburg's is deeper) - over 300 feet deep. And if you can see this picture -
Moscow's must be THE MOST GRAND! This hall filled with marble arches and statues is not a museum - it is a subway station.

Babushkas having a (friendly?) discussion on the merits of the former Soviet Union
Stalin wanted to make the laborers feel as if they were "entering the palace of a friend" each day as they came to work. Photography is STRICTLY forbidden, so I only took 3 or 4 pictures. Judging from what I see on the Internet, so have plenty of other people.

Getting around is VERY difficult. The city is crowded and chaotic. I am traveling solo again - no group - and doing okay. But I must admit that I am intimidated. Partly due to the lack of understanding of the language, but also due to what I feel is a strong authoritarian presence. I honestly feel I am being watched everywhere I go by police, soldiers, security - and babushkas too!

Theft is rampant - I have met two people who have had things stolen while they were making their way through the crowds. One lost their wallet and all credit cards, and another had their phone stolen - can you imagine?

Honestly, I am not as comfortable here in Moscow as I was in St Petersburg. Regardless, I am still thrilled to see the sights that I have. But it doesn't seem to to be the kind of place where one can easily relax.

Quick food notes:
For breakfast I had mashed potatoes, blini (non-sweet pancakes), and deep-fried cottage cheese.

More relics of the Soviet era
Yup. For dinner, I went to the Gum department store's 3rd floor balcony and enjoyed stir-fried potatoes, mushrooms and sauerkraut.

The weather continues to be wet and cool, and I'm having a few small health issues keeping me down a bit (just a sore throat, my little tremor is kicking up again, etc). Nothing major, just something that a good night sleep will probably fix - so that's what I'm off to do.

Tomorrow - the Kremlin!

Marinushka says:
Interesting observation of my hometown. Did you find it difficult to get around? To me Moscow is one of the easiest places in the world, and I don't think it is too much chaotic:)))
Posted on: Apr 09, 2011
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Subway: Photos are (supposedly) fo…
Subway: Photos are (supposedly) f…
Babushkas having a (friendly?) dis…
Babushkas having a (friendly?) di…
More relics of the Soviet era
More relics of the Soviet era
photo by: eefab