Impressions of Moscow

I emailed a friend today that this city is pretty much as I expected: a mixture of Soviet-style architecture and beautiful old churches and palaces from the czarist era. As a slogan for the local tourism industry, it just might work: Moscow. It’s just what you expected.

Since I will only be here for two days there isn’t much time to see the sights. Today I walked to Red Square, which is a few blocks from my hotel. The first obstacle was crossing Tverskaya and Okhotny Streets. There were no crosswalks that I could see. Then I noticed a little sign with a stick figure walking down steps, and figured it out: pedestrian underpasses, tied in with subway entrances. Nearly lost my way in the maze of tunnels and shops down below, but finally emerged on the other side of the street. Walked past souvenir stalls and a Vladimir Lenin impersonator who would let you take his picture for 100 rubles.

Red Square looked pretty impressive with the setting sun reflecting off the spires of St. Basil’s cathedral. Took a few photos, then wandered into the Gum department store. In a souvenir shop I decided that even in rubles, the cheapest items were too expensive for my budget. I figured I could afford 100 rubles so I had my photo taken with some guys dressed up like medieval Russian knights. Decided to pass on the ersatz Lenin. I’d rather see him “in the flesh” in his tomb. I’ll try to get there tomorrow if I have time.

I was too jet lagged to do much more walking. My legs still feel like rubber after being cramped up in tourist class for 10 hours. Добрый вечер!



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