Monday, June 23, 2014

Let the River Cruise Begin!

This was the construction going on across from the Hotel Savoy. The hotel was great, but it was a bit noisy.
Detsky Mir
Detsky Mir
Detsky Mir was/is an amazing toy store. (This is the toy store Viktoria mentioned as part of the shopping Bermuda Triangle.) In the 1950s most kids' toys would have been gray and dull, built by local industries. Detsky Mir was the biggest toy store in the Soviet Union and it had all the most advanced toys. It's closed while they're renovating. Don't you love the screens that they put up to hide the construction site?

We had a morning in which to do some shopping before heading to the ship. Old Arbat Street, a pedestrian zone, is known for its shops and souvenirs, so off we went. New Arbat Street was made in the 1960s and is not so visually appealing. It could be a commercial street in any city.

We had noticed a lot of this amber jewelry so we went in to have a look. The shopkeeper explained the different colours--the darker the amber the younger the gem, and as it gets older, it gets lighter until the white stones are the most precious. You can also see the matryoshka dolls which we’re hoping to find in some of the villages.

Cinnabon! Sadly it had closed. I guess "Life Needs Frosting" doesn't translate well in Russian.

You don't see much graffiti in Moscow. This wall is a tribute to Viktor Tsoi, a rock star who died in 1990.

Signs we can read!

This ballerina and fountain were next to the Vakhtangov Theatre.

One of those big black clouds rolled in and it started to pour. We were right outside a Beverly Hills Diner so lunch seemed like a good option. That’s the thing in Moscow--one minute it’s sunny, the next minute it pours. It may only last for 5 minutes, but when it comes down, it really comes down.

By the time we came out of the restaurant, the rain had passed and it was a beautiful afternoon.

The green building is the Pushkin House Museum. It's where Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), one of Russia's greatest poets, lived with his wife when they first married. Opened in 1986, the museum shows Moscow streets and houses that date from the Pushkin era, and gives you a chance to feel the atmosphere of Moscow in the 1830s.

Looming behind it is another of the Seven Sisters, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These buildings are massive and something to see.

The statue is of Alexander Pushkin and his wife, Natalia. Aren't they elegant?

In the store windows you would quite often see replicas of Faberge eggs. On one of our later tours we found out that there once was 500 eggs, but now only 10 exist in Russia and they are in the State Armory in the Kremlin. A lot of them were sold for very low prices; now they would bring millions of dollars.

It was time to head to the ship. Vladimir, our driver from two days ago, met us at the hotel and with only a few small problems managed to find the ship.

This building was right beside the pier. It was quite impressive, but then on closer inspection, it was actually quite run down. It appears that it is still being used.

Ama Katerina, our home for the next 11 days.

We headed to the bar (surprise) after a bit of unpacking and didn't have to fight any crowds.

We'll be staying in Moscow on board the ship for two more days before we set sail.

Tomorrow, another day of Moscow touring...

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