jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 109 [18 May 09] – Moscow

Posted in Moscow by jn82 on May 18, 2009

After waking up late and having lunch, we headed to the Kremlin just past noon. It is really very difficult to communicate in English to anyone in Russia, and even simple tasks like buying entry tickets can raise lots of confusion when there are tickets to many different exhibits.

Today was a day of epic fail photography wise, when my camera was deemed “too big” to be brought through the walls of the Kremlin and had to be left with the bag at the left luggage area outside. Of course you can imagine my irritation at seeing other tourists wielding similar cameras, and some with even longer lenses, inside the walls of the Kremlin! I guess these guys were luckier than me, or were part of tour groups which might have bypassed certain security areas.

Entry to the Kremlin via the Trinity tower.

Monument outside.

Behind the walls, the Kremlin is really one of the most visually interesting places I have been to. It is actually a pretty small area, and the central area is where the cathedrals and museums are located. Entry to the palaces at the sides is not permitted. There are 6 churches/cathedrals in the centre, and all of them have different onion shaped domes of the shiniest silver and/or gold. The interior of these cathedrals is extremely small and narrow, as these were only utilised by the important people of the day and not the general public. Although I did not get any pictures, luckily my travel mate did take a few of me with my serious communist Russian pose.

The Assumption Cathedral.

Ivan the Great Bell-Tower, the Assumption Belfry and the Filaret Annex.

The Archangel’s Cathedral.

As I was taking a picture with the Tsar bell below, this old Russian woman came and stood beside me and posed for her friend’s camera. I am not sure if she saw me, but I am guessing no. I tried to be funny and inched towards her as I thought it would be a very funny picture as we would seem to be posing for the camera together. However her friend motioned for her to move away from me, and she probably I was getting closer to pick her friend’s pocket or something.

The Tsar Bell.

Pretty disappointed not to be able to take any pictures, but at least I did get a few in the end. Might go back tomorrow if we really have nothing to do and try my luck again.

For the rest of the afternoon, we took a walk to Old Arbat Street nearby to hunt for souveniers.This street has the reputation for being Moscow’s most touristy street, so what better place could we go to to get ripped off? It is somewhat akin to shopping for a digital camera at Lucky Plaza. Here, almost every single shop sells the same cheap factory made Matryoshka dolls, in addition to souvenier tshirts and communist badged memobilia such as lighters, cigarette cases and barets.

Soviet brutalist architecture still visible along Old Arbat street.

I really like the next picture for so many reasons. It would have been not so long ago in the U.S.S.R. that displaying a billboard of a semi-naked women would have probably got you interrogated by the KGB. Add to that a Starbucks outlet serving its fancy designer coffee, the personification for everything American, capaitalist and frivolous unnecessarily excessive (I cannot think of the word for this at the moment). How the times have really changed.

Oh, how Lenin and Stalin would be rolling over in their graves now.

I ended the day making a few thousand ruble withdrawal from a Citibank ATM near the hostel, and dinner at good ol’ McDonalds.  The Americans are invading.

Today’s pictures here. Not many due to the idiot guard at the Kremlin.


One Response

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  1. Joanne said, on May 19, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Hmm. Lavish? Frivolous? 🙂

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