We are currently cruising on a river that I believe to be the Volga going from one city with an unpronounceable name to another. I will let you know more about them in a day or so, but for now I want to almost finish up posting about Moscow. Almost because I still have to post about our visit to the Kremlin.
Right across from where our boat was moored while we were in Moscow was an amusement park for children. It was quite nice in a retro-kind of way. Lots of little rides just the right size for the wee ones who seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Step Right Up And Win A Prize
I am not sure just what this ride, if that was what it was, was. I think it might have just been some kind of a series of tunnels and passageways for children to crawl around.
Or The Setting For A Sci-Fi Movie
No Amusement Park Is Complete Without A Ferris Wheel
And A Merry-Go-Round
I remember going to the Minnesota State Fair when I was just a wee Bar Boy. I was too young to ride in the bumper cars by myself but I was allowed to ride with my older cousin. Every time he turned the wheel to ram another car his elbow hit me in the eye. Ah, yet another fond childhood memory. The bumper cars here were actually bumper swans floating in a large pool. But, of course, the objective remains the same, ram another swan.
They must like swans here because they also had a swan-themed merry-go-round.
The Dreaded Black Swan
It really was a nice little park and I am sure if I was a kid I would love to spend an afternoon here. There is a subway nearby so it would be easy to get to as well. The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I were thinking about taking the subway somewhere but the weather looked threatening and rain had been predicted. The amusement park probably would have been more crowded otherwise. Plus it was still extremely hot for Moscow, so I think a lot of people preferred staying home. There was quite a downpour shortly after we got back on the boat.
Later in the evening there was a bus tour of Moscow so we could see it at night. Most cities look much better at night, or at least more interesting. Certainly that is true of New York, and Moscow was no exception.
Christopher Or Peter
I am not sure if I have the story about that statue completely right, but this is what I kind of heard. Apparently the statue was to be a gift to the United States and was supposed to depict Christopher Columbus. We, for some reason, turned it down and so the head was replaced with one of Peter The Great and now it commemorates his turning Russia into a great naval power. Of course Russia, at that time, had no access to anyplace to launch a navy, but that was a small inconvenience. They simply went to war with Sweden and captured a fort that ultimately became the location of St. Petersburg.
This is the University of Moscow. If you can qualify for admittance your education, including board and room, are completely paid for by the government. The University was built during Stalin's rule, so he wasn't all bad.
I was mentioning some of the newer, and quite spectacular, construction that rivals that of the new City Center in Las Vegas. You can't see the full extent of it, but this picture gives you some idea of what it is like. There will be no gambling, of course.
Moscow's City Center
We went back to Red Square and the Kremlin was all lit up, something that our guide said was unusual. And the GUM department store was all lit up as well and looked like a Christmas village.
GUM, All Lit Up
And The Kremlin
Okay, The Mysterious Chinese Woman just left for a cooking class where we are going to learn how to make a blintz or something, and I best join her if I know what is good for me. I will finish this post later and check it for typos as well. Consider this as a first-cut only.
Okay, back again. It wasn't blintzes or whatever, it was pelmeni. And what, you might ask, is pelmeni? Kind of a Russian version of tortellini. Which means they are heavy and served with sour cream and don't have a lot of flavor. Some onion and garlic and salt. The chef said you could spice them up if you made them yourselves with maybe some ginger or hot peppers but that, literally, most of the people in Russia don't even know what those are.
Our Illustrous Chef Demonstrating The Art Of Making Pelmeni
I guess this would be a good time to let you know that we are having a bit of an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness, better known as gastroenteritis, onboard. The Mysterious Chinese Woman has already succumbed to this, but is well on her way to recovery, as you can see.
Who Cares If They Washed Their Hands?
The little notice we got about gastroenteritis said that it is usually not serious but can have more serious implications for older people, which would include about 90% of the people on our boat. From the length of the lines at the luncheon buffets it doesn't as though too many people have been hit with it yet.
Okay, that was the short intermission, now for a few more shots of Moscow at night. And don't ask me what most of these buildings are, because I don't know.
Well, Except For The Enchanted Castle
And The Entrance To Red Square
Unknown, To Me At Least, Buildings
Moscow is quite a lively looking city at night and, again, it would be nice to see more of it. Our guide said we should all come back and visit again, but given the difficulty of getting a visa, or even getting a few extra days tacked on to the one we got for this trip, I doubt if that is likely. I hope they change their policy in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics that are to be held in Sochi, Russia.
Next up, the Moscow Kremlin. Must remember that in Russia the word "kremlin" means castle and you need to specify which one you are talking about.