Intriguing. That would be the one word I would use to summarize my feelings about our magnificent trip to Russia….planned for and executed by the indomitable Indagare (you know how much I loooooove this company!).
What an incredibly Silver Lined experience (after the headache of getting a Russian Visa…but I’ll spare you those details). Back to Silver Linings. Truly. I can’t tell you the number of times I said to the HOTY (still known as the Husband Of The Year), “Can you believe that we are here?” Wowsy. Bowsy. If you’re ever able to swing it, I highly-highly-highly recommend this adventure. In the meantime, I’ll share our experiences and images with you.
We started our time in Moscow with a tour of the Bolshoi Theatre. Geesh. It is amazing. The spectacular building that exists today dates from 1824 and was last renovated in 1856 in time for the coronation of Tsar Alexander II. The theatre became a showcase for the Russian arts in the Soviet-era when workers could enjoy high culture for a fraction of their monthly wages. Six tiers of seats accommodate over two thousand people. Our timing was phenomenal because it opened in October after a six-year renovation.
The music of the evening…on the conductor’s stand
The most magnificent chandelier I’ve ever seen. Ever.
The next morning, we did a walking tour of the Moscow Kremlin (in Russian: Московский Кремль, Moskovskiy Kreml). I was amazed by it’s size (though I quickly became used to everything being BIGGER in Russia!).
The Moscow Kremlin is an historic, fortified complex in the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River (to the south), Saint Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square (to the east) and the Alexander Garden (to the west). It is the best known of kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes four palaces, four cathedrals and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. The complex serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. …and check out this statistic: The Moscow Kremlin has been continuously inhabited since the 2nd century B.C.
At the Kremlin, you must go to the Armory Museum to see the collection of Imperial Faberge Easter Eggs as well as imperial thrones, crowns and carriages. If you ask the HOTY what his favorite part of the trip was, he would probably say the carriage room at the Armory. It is exactly as advertised…a room of carriages that hauled the royalty around. It is beyond belief. Can I just say that Catherine the Great was an early adopter of “Pimp My Ride”!!! (I wish I could have snapped some shots, but I didn’t think that blogging from Siberia would have been the best of ideas…)
Next stop: Red Square. It began as a slum, a shanty town of wooden huts clustered beneath the Kremlin walls that housed a collection of peddlers, criminals and drunks whose status left them outside the official boundaries of the medieval city. It was cleared on the orders of Ivan III at the end of the 1400’s, but remained the province of the mob and the site of public executions until much later. Charming, right?!?
The square’s name actually has nothing to do with communism or with the color of many of its buildings. In fact it derives from the word ‘krasnyi’, which once meant ‘beautiful’, and has only come to mean ‘red’ in contemporary Russian.
Our time in Moscow concluded with a trip to the State Tretyakov gallery. The gallery was founded by a Russian merchant by the name of, what else?, Pavel Tretyakov. He donated his collection to the city of Moscow in 1892.This is a really wonderful museum that possesses a unique collection of 160,000 works of Russian from the early religious paintings to the modern day. Now, when I say 160,000, I know that sounds like a lot; however, we zipped through in about an hour and a half. Very doable. Did I mention that we are speed tourists? We tend to avoid lingering…which is one of the many reasons that we love Indagare!
When it comes to food, let’s just say that I wasn’t a huge fan. I am not a vodka drinker and you know that I don’t like meat (with the exception of my bi-annual cheeseburger). Let’s just say that there aren’t a lot of vegans running around.
That said, we had some ok meals. I would recommend:
- Vogue Cafe
- Cherdak (Cherdak means attic)
- O2 Bar on top of the Ritz-Carlton (for the views!)
Also, had we had more time, we would have gone to the National Puskin Museum, one of the oldest and largest literary museums in the country.
Next top…St. Petersburg. Look so forward to telling you all about it!