On Friday, August 9th, Rebecca and I flew to Moscow. The 5 hour flight is almost due north and Moscow is interestingly in the same time zone as Abu Dhabi. We arrived in the afternoon and caught a taxi to our hotel. The hotel was conveniently located about a half hour walk from Red Square. We had a nice meal of borscht and pelmeni, which are like a dumpling. The weather was a bit hotter than we had hoped for or expected as we were attempting to escape Abu Dhabi’s summer climate for a few days.
That afternoon, we walked to Alexander Garden then onto the Red Square and saw such sights as Resurrection Gate, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and the GUM department store. We found a nice place on the Moskva River to watch the river cruises go by. Later, we checked out the Bolshoi Theatre and former KGB Headquarters. That night, we had an authentic Russian dinner including Olivier salad, caviar on pancakes, and Beef Stroganoff.
The next morning, we joined a free walking tour. One highlight was a small church in which the KGB used the basement for secret interrogations. The tour ended at the gates to the Kremlin, but we thought we’d save that for the next day. We had the same tour guide both days and it was interesting to hear her stories of the communist era.
We then searched out Patriarch’s Pond, a small spot off the beaten path that had been mentioned in a novel Rebecca read. It was a nice spot to relax as the locals do away from the tourist crowds.
That night, we had tickets for a Russian dance show, called Kostroma at the famous Soviet era Cosmos Hotel. The Cosmos Hotel was originally built for the 1980 Olympic Games and contains about 1800 rooms. When we arrived at the hotel, it was swarming with athletes who were competing in the IAAF World Championships. The show was very good and served as a great alternative to the Bolshoi Theatre which was on its summer break. That night, we had a nice Uzbek dinner, which seems to be a very popular cuisine in Moscow.
On Sunday, we went back to the Red Square, went inside the Lenin Mausoleum and had a look at, well…Lenin. We later did our tour of the Kremlin, but didn’t get a glimpse of Mr. Putin. After that, we cruised down Arbat Street, popular with tourists for its street performers, artists, cafes, and restaurants.
Moscow is a very interesting place with many monuments, museums, and a thriving culture. We can see ourselves returning one day.