Date: 10 July 2017
Location: Viking Akun moored in Moscow
We headed into Moscow early this morning for a brief tour, including a number of the famous underground stations. We visited Red Square, including the GUM Store.
We had an interesting journey on Moscow's busy and very efficient metro system. We had our favourite local guide Dina with us as well as Alexei, who has accompanied us on a number of excursions by now. She is like an elderly school teacher, and he is very laid back with a dry sense of humour. I was amazed by how well the two of them managed to keep our group of over 30 under control! The husband of the couple from Essex seemed to become slightly unwell shortly after we left the boat and they both, sadly, had to abandon the excursion.
Went 7 stops to our first underground station. Unfortunately, I can't recall the name. We took some pictures, then got on for another 2 stops and took a few more pictures. Finally visited Ploshchad Revolyutsii which has multiple arches, each of which is decorated with two statues. Took some good photographs of these, including one of the guard and his dog. Rubbing the nose of the latter is supposed to bring good luck!
We walked from Ploshchad Revolyutsii to the statue of Marshall Zhukov on his horse next to Red Square. We were allowed some free time in the square, and decided to try and photograph Saint Basil's Cathedral. This was made difficult because (1) there were lots of dark clouds around, (2) the sun was still just behind the cathedral, and (3) there was a rapidly increasing mass of tourists obscuring the view. We finally managed to get some reasonable shots. We went to the GUM Store to have tea and donuts. To be honest, the GUM Store was a bit disappointing. It is really just a collection of expensive franchises. I thought it would be a bit like Harrods in London, but it was nowhere near as luxurious. After taking a few more photos of Red Square, we all met back at Zhukov's statue.
We then walked to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which is the largest church in Moscow. The Viking groups used to go into this church, but at the moment it contains relics of St Nicholas, and it has becoming a place of pilgrimage for many. There was certainly a long queue of people waiting to get into the church when we were there. We finally got on the bus again and we were driven to Sparrow Hill for, this time, a daylight panoramic view of the city.
We returned to our boat about 13.00. At 14.30 we set sail for Uglich, our next destination.