Russia-Moscow
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<Elbrus Valley>        <Mt Elbrus>

07/05-06/03
We arrived in Moscow after about 13 hours in the air and a 10 hour time change from Denver. Mike knowing Russian already proved effective as he worked his magic regarding lost luggage and transportation to the hotel Russiya where the lights sparked and the sheets were velvet. There were two female Chechnya suicide bombers that day at a concert, luckily we weren't affected by this. I was praying that my Mother didn't see that on the news! After getting settled in the hotel most of us headed across the street to the Red Square. Seems that everything in Moscow is on a grand scale. The buildings are huge and the architecture is full of detail. On the edges of Red Square are the GUM (Moscow's version of a mall), the Kremlin, St Basils Cathedral, and the State History Museum. A few of us hung out on the lawn near Lenin's Mausoleum drinking cheap beer and watching the world go by. At night on the other side of the Kremlin a lot of folks hang out there near a waterway and fountains, especially in front of McDonalds. In Russian Cyrillic "McDonalds" looks an awful lot like "MacAholic", how ironic?! That night some old Russian woman came up to us shaking her finger and yelling at us. The only thing we could figure was that it was unacceptable to be wearing shorts!
Moscow was your typical big city with lots of traffic, some pollution, and all the women wear these pointy shoes that extend about 4 inches past their toes. While in Moscow and other parts of Russia it seems that not many locals smile, I think it's from the particle-board type toilet paper. Also, the trashcans are tiny, the toilet seats are flimsy and you practically have to stand on the handle to flush them!

07/14-16/03
After Elbrus when we got back to Moscow we were on a mission from God to find pizza. Keith and his handy guide books found us one and 11 of us devoured 6 pizzas and garlic bread in record timing. No one really chewed, just stuffed. Red Square was closed off from the bombing, so luckily we were able to see it the weekend before. We took a bus tour of the city (by far the most touristy thing I've ever done), but it was a great way to see all the main attractions and get a history lesson. Along the way we saw the Christ the Savior Cathedral, the Smirnof factory, Peter the Great memorial, Gorky Park, Arbat St, the White House, Moscow University, Memorial to wars with Germany and Napoleon, and the Lenin library. All pretty impressive. A few of us weren't allow in the Christ the Savior Cathedral because we had shorts on, oops. Arbat St is like a pedestrian mall with several artists and street vendors. The common items were Matryoshka Dolls (the ones that fit into each other and get progressively smaller), furry hats, and painting. Some old war memorabilia including flight suits and pilot helmets too! Ya know you're in a cool store when they greet you with a tray a vodka to sample at 10:45am. I think they do that to get you drunk so you're looser with the wallet!
The food in most of Russia left something to be desired and I was looking forward to getting to Switzerland to go on a strictly beer and sausage diet.

<Elbrus Valley>        <Mt Elbrus>

001-moscow.jpg (66537 bytes)  St. Basil's Cathedral; Clock tower along the Kremlin wall  002-moscow.jpg (52208 bytes)

003-moscow.jpg (92314 bytes)  One of the many statues around town; The GUM, Russia's mall  004-moscow.jpg (104312 bytes)

005-moscow.jpg (80584 bytes)  Red Square; Another Cathedral  006-moscow.jpg (93005 bytes)

007-moscow.jpg (73697 bytes)  Entrance to Red Square; Tons of detail on all the buildings  008-moscow.jpg (52944 bytes)

009-moscow.jpg (134635 bytes) Another sculpture; Statue of Marx (I think)  010-moscow.jpg (79611 bytes)

011-moscow.jpg (97988 bytes)  KGB building; Some of the amazing detail in buildings 012-moscow.jpg (121925 bytes)

013-moscow.jpg (77561 bytes)            014-moscow.jpg (99226 bytes)            015-moscow.jpg (109437 bytes)

016-moscow.jpg (98700 bytes)    St Basils in the early morning sun 017-moscow.jpg (103684 bytes)

018-moscow.jpg (75652 bytes)  St. Nicholas Tower/State History Museum; Lenin Mausoleum 019-moscow.jpg (97458 bytes)

020-moscow.jpg (97622 bytes)  The big hangout at night; State History Museum 021-moscow.jpg (110005 bytes)

022-moscow.jpg (64987 bytes)  Saviour Tower along the Kremlin Wall; Moscow River and Kremlin 109-moscow.jpg (86135 bytes)

110-moscow.jpg (92841 bytes) The Great Kremlin Palace; Assumption Cathedral 111-moscow.jpg (90098 bytes)

112-moscow.jpg (76888 bytes) Christ the Savior Cathedral113-moscow.jpg (90913 bytes)

118-moscow.jpg (81372 bytes) Doors of Christ the Savior Cathedral; Christ the Savior Cathedral 119-moscow.jpg (75492 bytes)

120-moscow.jpg (64394 bytes) Tower on Christ the Savior Cathedral; Mike and I sporting Babushka's 121-moscow.jpg (73943 bytes)

114-moscow.jpg (118128 bytes) Monks house; Fountain on Arbat Street 122-moscow.jpg (109053 bytes)

115-moscow.jpg (57898 bytes) Peter the Great Memorial 116-moscow.jpg (75200 bytes)

123-moscow.jpg (91303 bytes) Russian version of MacDonald's; Moscow's White House? I forget  124-moscow.jpg (66213 bytes)

125-moscow.jpg (87877 bytes) Uuumm, I forget what this is too; view out our hotel room 132-moscow.jpg (70460 bytes)

126-moscow.jpg (42682 bytes) Memorial to the war with Germany 127-moscow.jpg (43017 bytes)

128-moscow.jpg (64897 bytes) Memorial to the war with Napoleon 129-moscow.jpg (70464 bytes)

130-moscow.jpg (104168 bytes) The GUM, Moscow's version of a mall 131-moscow.jpg (111424 bytes)

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