My Roaming Spirit
Moscow - A Russian Odyssey
Whitter*......Wittier than your next door neighbor.
Our perception about this beautiful country has largely been influenced by American movies, is that why we don't really consider Russia for a holiday destination. More so, The greatest Briton of all time, Winston Churchill famously remarked that Russia was "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
I say, you need to visit before you form a perception, oh and leave room for a huge surprise!
We had a very successful trip to Russia. We made it back. – Bob Hope
I reached the Russian Capital at around midnight, with a few friends that I had made in St. Petersburg. The train ride was picturesque with a lot of greenery and open fields to gaze at. We checked into Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel on Tverskaya street, which is the main radial street. We decided to explore the city while it was relieved of its hustle bustle. The enticing back alleys and charming side streets that branch off of Tverskaya street are filled with hole in the wall eateries that are open late and serve some delicious food. The few people on the streets were hospitable and extremely helpful to point us back to our hotel when we lost our way.
The day started with a visit to the famous Moscow Kremlin, it overlooks the Moskva river and is situated in the heart of the city. Kremlin happens to be the seat of the present Russian government and houses the Kremlin Museum and the Armory. Its business as usual at the State Kremlin Palace, a swanky modern building which remains unobstructed by the flocking tourists. I stood gobsmacked staring at this splendid building, which has been destroyed time and again and yet here it stood in all its might. Of course, like a tourist I did click pictures with the Tsar canon and the Tsar bell, which are on display on Kremlin ground.
The Armory was riveting. The belongings of the Russian Royals take you back into a totally different time. The halls are adorned with gold, silver, precious stones, ivory, porcelain. The clothes of the Tsars and Tsarinas, the royal jewels too are in display to make us commoners pine for the Royal life. It was absorbing to see the daunting Ivory throne of Ivan The Terrible, the many carriages of the royal family and of Course the world-famous Fabergé Easter eggs, said to be made for the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II as Easter gifts for their wives and mothers.
By evening I was standing in middle of UNESCO world heritage site. No feeling in the world compared to the experience of standing in middle of the Red Square. It was simply magical, especially in the evening when the whole place is lit up. The stunningly mesmerizing colorful domes of the St. Basil’s cathedral left me breathless. I had seen it in movies, and they did not do it justice, it was the most beautiful thing I had laid eyes upon. It is said that the creator of this onion shaped place of worship was blinded so that he could never make anything this beautiful! The crimson walls of the Kremlin were imposing and the shining star atop the Kremlin museum was everything I had hoped Moscow would be. How could I not visit the famous GUM department store and gorge on famous Russian ice creams. They were all I ate that day! The kid in me was ecstatic. One last look at the lit up Red Square and I was back to my hotel with hands filled with ice cream and treats from the GUM.
The next day too started with insight into the Russian cold war History at Bunker 42. This meant going underground at the depth of 65 meters, damn those stairs. But it was undeniably worth the effort. Being one of the many once secret military facilities of the USSR, it was meant to serve as the communication headquarters in the event of a nuclear attack. It was completely equipped with food storage, fuel, air regeneration and vent filter systems (now that would make for a very cool spy film). It has now been converted into a cold war museum. The 20-minute movie about the cold war was educational and so were rare exhibits: Soviet radio stations, chemical protective suits, masks, Soviet posters and Stalin’s office. I quite enjoyed the perceptiveness about the important role that it played.
As much as I wanted to visit the world-famous Bolshoi theatre and watch ballet, I could not. There was a lot that I could not see, consoling myself with a second tour. I came back fascinated and ever more so curious about this picturesque country with a bag full of goodies and a heart filled with memories. Oh wait, I think I left my heart in Russia!
My Roaming Spirit | Moscow | Russia | Travel
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