Trip Start May 01, 2009
21Trip End May 22, 2009
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Today is my first travel day in Russia, how excited !!! I had a tought time sleeping all night due to time difference.
I woke up around 4 am couldn't sleep, so I started listening to my Pimsleur Russian tape brushing up on my Russian.
My host treat me to a very nice breakfast, then I am my my way to Kremlin, the Capital of the Russian empire. The Kremlin has been settled since 11 th century with the predominate religion of Eastern Orthodoxy. The building and churches all got the unique style of onion dome and beautiful colors. Walking on Red square bring back all the memories back in 1991 and before when history took place, the year when communism collapse. This day, Russia is full of Western stores like Louie Vutton, Mc Donald's, Sbarro, 7 11 and more. Red square is filled with tourists, interestingly predominately from Russia , taking photos. My first stop is St. Basil cathedral, the most important landmark of Russian ( like our statue of Liberty). I took a tour inside and it is filled with old paintings and beautiful frescos complete with Jesus and fellow saints.
My next stop is the Armoury and Diamond fund. These 2 Galleries are filled with Russsian Monarch treasure dating back to the 12th century. There are gold plates, bowls, carriages, jewel encrusted weapons. The most impressive is got to be the Diamond fund where giant gold nuggets 10-20 lb weight, thousand of diamonds and rubies were displayed in the show case inside a safe. Too bad photos are not allowed. There is got to be more jewesl here than the largest jewel collection anywhere in the world. You can imagine how mighty the Russian empire once has been !!!
By this time I am getting fatigued from all the walking but I managed to finish the 5 Orthodox cathedrals inside Kremlin. The onion doms and painting are just breath taking.
One thing that kind of frustrates me is that there aren't that many people who speaks English. I guess once I started the converstion in Russian, they just assume I am fluent and start talking really fast. I still have to think to come up with words, let along grammer....a separate story. Just navigating the Metro subway is an advanture in itself. It is beautiful with sculptures, paintings, etc, but all the signs and label are in Cyrillic alphabets, it sure helped I spend hours back in LA memorizing them and know how to pronounce them. The names of the station are so long like Savyolovskaya, just looking at it in English is scary enough let along its Cyrillic.
Another thing I learned by observing the locals is to dress down as in wearing dark color cloth to avoid attraction of attention. Because standing out as a tourist makes one an easy target to mug.....
Anyways its getting late hope you all enjoy this. I will do more museums tomorrow.