The end of a long day. Walking, walking, walking……… warm and muggy weather so that I was sweating under my blazer most of the time. Just imagine me admitting to being too warm. Now, however, I am in the hotel restaurant with my sandals on, beef stroganoff in front of me and a tall Russian beer by my hand…….. and the waiter just called me”Miss”! I think I could get used to this.
After delivering my passport to the company office this morning, I proceeded via the Moscow metro system to Red Square. Quite proud of myself for making the correct transfers. The escalators are sure long, and I know I haven’t gone to the deepest tracks. I walked past all the souvenir stands, eager to get inside. I did take a couple of shots from a distance – the sign on these headdresses was asking 100 rubles for a photo. Thanks goodness for zoom!
I went in through the Iberian Gate, which was first erected in 1535. It was demolished in 1931 and reconstructed in 1994. It connects the north-west end of Red Square with Market Square. There was a line-up at the Chapel door, so I didn’t venture in – maybe tomorrow.
Just inside the gate is the State History Museum – reputed to be the biggest natural history museum in Russia. It houses an immense collection from prehistoric bones and fossils to much more recent treasures. Cameras are not allowed, and I have discovered that it is not open on Tuesdays, so I may not have a chance to go this trip, but I know if I’m here with David, we will be going, because he loves museums.
There was another small church inside the gates as well. There were no photos allowed inside, but the decoration was beautiful, and quite old, judging by the muted colours. This is the back… look at all the arches in the architecture.
Most of Red Square (which is NOT square) is barricaded off right now, with a huge stage set up. Wednesday is a holiday in Russia, so it looks like there will be quite a celebration. To get to St. Basil’s Cathedral, which was my primary destination, I had to detour through GUM. GUM was a huge government store which always had merchandise when there was nothing in any of the other shops. Today it is three floors of designer shops. Even the Coffee Shop is Armani. It is a whole block with skylights along the three main hallways. I managed to find the one cheap shop in the place, an Italian cafeteria where I got pizza, a Danish and coffee for less than a hotel room – LOL. I suspect that the coffee in the Armani Cafe would be a bit higher.
Anyway, I finally made it to St. Basil’s Cathedral. I have always been fascinated by it – it looks to me like a bunch of decorated ice cream cones, with all those colours and swirls and peaks. I got the audio guide, as usually the English commentaries leave a lot to be desired.
The cathedral is amazing. it is seven different churches, built at different times to venerate different saints, in different styles and colours. It is in various stages of reconstructions as well, as of course, when they were restoring it, sometimes they found wonderful old paintings beneath newer coats of paint.
The icons are amazing, like this one of the Blessed Virgin. I loved the flower decorations on many of the arches. As always, they make inspire me to design an applique quilt. The flowers reminded me of the ones I saw in Turkey, and of course, I took lots of photos.
and saw another church that I want to visit tomorrow.
I wanted to take in the Metro tour, but didn’t find the group, and I was really getting tired. After a 12 hour flight yesterday, and not much sleep, I was fading fast. I’m in the restaurant (well, OK, the bar, because there is more room for the laptop), typing away and having a great visit with two couples from Manitoba, here on a tour. Life is good.