I am in room 2538 of my very functional hotel. Yes, on the 25th floor and there are three hotels of equal size, side by side, like packs of cards on their end and all full of rushing, excited, impatient, busloads of Chinese or Japanese or South Koreans tourists. Like an oriental ant-hill, they disgorge the winged adults in a huge swarm and their coach larva process into town to absorb the touristy delights of central Moscow.
Putin was entertaining yesterday so decided, on a whim, to close himself inside the Kremlin and prevent us tourists from getting up close and familiar. So full of anticipation it was another trip to Red Square to get tickets to enter Russia’s centre of government. Street, no. Thursday is a ‘non-work day’ at the Kremlin so it its closed. Its golden onion domes can, again, only be appreciated from outside the walls.
So other places and sights have to be found. This is a mixed blessing. Having spent time around Moscow’s main/only tourist site around Red Square, the sight seeing has to spread along the Moscow River and the real impact of the three T’s can only then be fully appreciated. “Oh, the big red bus is a good way too see the city ……and sit in traffic, Traffic, TRAFFIC and be a tortoise. The bridges across the river are simply grid locked and it can take over an hour to cross one.
Still the sun is shining, beetroot soup and a beer fills the stomach and all is good with the world. The big, red bus tour does have its advantages, particularly when linked to the big red boat tour. Every church, every collection of golden onion heads, every Stalinist power house advert statue of a war hero or a revolutionary soldier or a conquering chariot can be seen from every direction. Canons and Nikon are in charge here.
The most impressive sites can be found deep underground where only Moscovites can readily appreciate the magnificence of Moscow’s Metro system. The lenses of coach carried tourists will miss the grand spaces of statue lined corridors and escalators of this really efficient method of carrying humanity from A to B. Alcoves and pillars and ledges reveal grand carvings of Homeric heroes or powerful angels or crouching soldiers, protecting its the traveller as well a reflecting the glories of the revolution and the motherland. Journeys are dead cheap- 50p and people give up their seats for its seniors. All very efficient, especially when one he’s worked out the squiggles that indicate the stations on the tube map. Few people speak English.
The real journey starts later this evening. I will write and take photos every day but am unsure when I will pick up Wi-Fi . I will blog when I am able to. You may get several in quick succession followed by silence for a few days. See you when I see you. I leave you with my friend from the perfumery in Dum.