Sunday, June 17, 2012

Eurotrip 2012 - Day 3 (6/17) - Red Square

I woke up around 8:45, and didn't really feel like going back to sleep (though I certainly could have), so I took some time to post to this blog and do a little reading until Joe's alarm woke him up at 10:15. We then headed up to the top floor for breakfast (which was included with our room). They had a pretty decent spread, and I partook of some bread, salami, cheese, rice, crepes, and juice (both orange and apple). They also had eggs, sausages (more like hot dogs), yogurt, granola, and some other things I didn't recognize. After eating we returned to the room to lounge around a bit before getting ready to head out.

We left the hotel around 12 and took the metro down to Red Square - a total of 4 stops on 2 trains. Our first destination was St. Basil's Cathedral, known to Joe for being on the cover of Tetris. On the way through the square I was stopped a couple of times by other tourists who wanted to take their picture with me. I didn't realize what was going on the first time this happened, so I declined and kept walking (I now feel really bad about this), but I obliged when I was asked every time after that. We wandered around its various mini-churches for a while before heading out.

As we exited the cathedral, I realized that I couldn't get back to the makeshift souvenir shop just inside the entrance (I wanted a figurine to add to my collection) so I headed back to the entrance with the hope that they would let me in again with my spent ticket, even though I had no way of communicating this. And that was when the picture madness started. A group of middle-school-aged girls came up and asked for some pictures - I really don't know if this is simply because I look so different or if they think I might be somebody famous. Since I couldn't understand what they were saying I thought it was only going to be one or two pictures with the group. Instead, it turned out that each one wanted an individual picture with me. One even pulled out her brush to fix up her hair for the picture! After about 6 or 7 pictures, the scene attracted a bit of attention and other people started showing up. Soon I was taking pictures with people from multiple groups, males and females from young to old. It was getting a bit ridiculous, but I tried to oblige every request. In all, I probably posed for about 15 to 20 pictures before I was eventually able to slip away to the cathedral entrance, where they thankfully let me in again.

After St. Basil's we headed across to the Kremlin. We couldn't see an entrance so we walked halfway around it (probably a mile or so) to find one, and then got in line for tickets. When we reached the front of the line the lady told us that there were no more tickets for the Armoury, the main attraction we wanted to see, at the time, and that we would have to come back at 3:45 - in about an hour. We accidentally elected to go with the cathedral ticket instead, which at least got us in the gates. We walked over to the entrance and went through security, then wandered around for a while. We went into a couple of the churches, including the Annunciation Cathedral (though the Assumption Cathedral was closed), and took pictures by the Tsar Cannon and the Tsar Bell. We then headed back toward the Armoury to see if we could get in. A guard let us in the side door and pointed us toward the ticket counter. We then bought tickets for 500 RUB (~$17) each then went downstairs to stow the stuff that we couldn't bring in the cloak room. When we went back up they were letting the 4:00 group in, so we went along. When we entered, we realized that we were in the wrong place - we had bought tickets to the Diamond Fund instead of the Armoury proper. The exhibit had a few cool jewels, but it wasn't nearly worth what we paid to get in (to me at least), and I was very disappointed to have missed out on the real Armoury.

Next we left the Kremlin and walked to Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. We arrived a few minutes before it was scheduled to close at 5, but we were not allowed in because we were wearing shorts. So we headed back toward Red Square to find some food in GUM (the State Department Store that had since been privatized into a glitzy mall). We had dinner in an upscale cafeteria-style restaurant on the top floor (I had champignon cream soup, rice, bread, meatballs, a kebab (on stick), a fruit medley, some water, and an apricot drink - my eyes were hungrier than my stomach. After dinner we took one last stroll by the "Tetris building" before taking the metro back to the hotel, where we arrived around 7:15.

We relaxed in the room for the rest of the night, turning in after Christiano Ronaldo's masterful performance over the Netherlands (though Joe was asleep a little after halftime).

Observation of the day: Sunrise on this day in Moscow was officially 4:45 AM and sunset was officially 10:18 PM, yielding 17 hours and 33 minutes of daylight. I feel like there was light from the sun up until almost 11 PM, though.

2 comments:

  1. I just want credit for reading this. I read this, and the other two posts too.

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    1. Credit granted. Thanks for reading. I hope it's not too boring. I don't have your flare for writing.

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