Today was a big day. It was the day to meet Jon, a guy from
whom I had been corresponding with for several weeks. He’s an American expat now living in Albany, GA . In the morning, in order to be on time, we
jumped on the metro and headed for Moscow Pushkin
weather was very lousy – rainy and cool.
We waited for Jon on a park bench near the famed Pushkin statue. About , up walks Jon.
Jon is a very Southern guy. He
had just had his teeth knocked out after hitting a railing while attempting to
get on a bus. The whole moment of
meeting him and “sizing him up” was very entertaining. I just knew the day was going to be
interesting. Before setting off on one
of our long walks, we stopped and had some coffee at a fairly swanky coffee bar
in the area. The bill for three coffees
totaled about $20!
Jon wanted to take us down Tverskaya, all the way down to the Kremlin. We contemplated telling him we had already done this, and finally gave in and did just that. As we walked down Tverskaya it was obviously less chaotic and bustling as the first time. It was just a different time of the day. We stopped and took photos at the statue of the founder of
and posed in front
of the mayor’s office, a gorgeous piece of architecture that is rosy pink. Once we made it down to the Kremlin, Jon took
us into Alexander Park, where we saw the Changing of the Guard for the first
time. We were impressed with the ritual
all the pomp that went along with it.
When we in the garden we noticed a long line of people waiting to see
Lenin’s body. Jon explained a bit about
the horse stable that the Czar maintained.
It was as long and wide as a football field! Moscow
We walked out onto
and Jon took some photos. The weather was still not cooperating, but we had to
endure. Jon then took us between St.
Basil’s and GUM, to an area known as Kitai Gorod. He pointed the modest home of the first Czar
and the headquarters of the Romanov
Court, which was genesis of the ruling
dynasty. We then made our way around a
huge construction site (the former Russiya Hotel) and to a spot on the
embankment. This was truly
buildings lined both embankments and there was a huge fountain at a spit where
the river divides into two parts. In the
distance, the goliath “seven sisters” towers could be seen, along with other
city landmarks such as the TV tower and new gleaming office skyscrapers. Moska River
Jon then walked us past the famous
. The gallery’s design is extraordinary and
represents a purely Russian style. The
streets and neighborhoods in the adjacent area were also very unique. This whole area would have been worth
revisiting a few times. There was a lot
of history in the area and the buildings and churches themselves were very
pleasing to the eye. Tretyakov Gallery
For lunch, we ate at an Uzbek restaurant. It was a chain restaurant designed to resemble the now independent country of
. There was a fabulous salad bar along with a
host of Uzbek specialties. I was in
heaven! It was here that Kade got her
first taste of shaslik. Shaslik means
barbecue or a skewer of meat. Kade
ordered a chicken shaslik. Out of this
world! The salad bar was as delicious as
it looked. I loved the layout of it and
the overall cleanliness. Our waitress
was also very nice. Uzbekistan
After lunch, Jon took us to Dom Knigi, the largest bookstore in
. He also pointed out a Seven Continents
supermarket. He even took us inside of
one of the Orthodox churches. It had all
the symbols of a centuries-old faith, including some very impressive murals of
biblical scenes. Moscow
We jumped on the metro and followed Jon back to the station where his home is. He took us to a farmers market just near the station. We bought some delicious dried apricots from
. We also bought some pickled garlic, some
apples, some plums and a very sweet fruit with a name that escapes me. All purchasing was done by bargaining – a bit
challenging but fun. Tajikistan
After saying goodbye to Jon, we were back on the metro for the long ride to our hostel. After exiting our metro station, we walked next door to check on circus tickets. Tickets were sold out for that evening, so we walked across the street to the boulevard park. We sat among families and children who were obviously excited about the circus they were going to attend that night. There were unique statues in the park depicting circus acts and performers. These statues were in the middle of fountains and in spots where kids could play with the water and pose for images. This was a real cultural treat to see. By the way, I do remember looking up and seeing this hulk of a man, dressed in an oversized shirt and some jean shorts. He was waddling rather than walking. I told Kade that he looked like an American. Sure enough, when he talked, the obvious became the more obvious.
We ended our day by having a late afternoon coffee and by picking some pastries to take back to the room. This could have been the day that the pastry shop owner snapped at us. We broke some shop etiquette by using tongs meant for fruit turnovers to grab hold of some meat pies. The lady didn’t like it. I stood my ground, in English!
In the evening, just before bed, we got out the Muscle Rub and rubbed massive amounts into our extremely sore and fatigued legs. Then, as with the previous night, we conked out.