Unexpected great city.

Trip Start Jul 05, 2005
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Trip End Sep 10, 2010


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Where I stayed
Radisson Royal Moscow
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Russia  , Central Russia,
Thursday, October 13, 2005

The travel to Moscow was not premeditated, neither desired nor prepared. Mi son had begun that year to study in the University of Moscow, after spending 3 years studying  the language in Madrid. Mi wife needed imperiously to know how he was installed and urged me to make the travel for visiting him before the winter coming.

By those times, both my wife as I were compulsive smokers. Still we do, although in a lesser degree. My wife resolved better than I the problem of taking an airplane, but I needed to stop smoking prior to embarkation. So, I suggested to go also to Istambul for a better employment of detox's time. She agreed and the journey was made.

While visas were issued, I was largely more concerned with studying the seasonnal meteorology than to know about the city. This neither was a necessity, considering that we had our proper cicerone.  This lack of knowledge made the impact more shocking. I hadn't the minor idea about what large the city was, neither how many inhabitants had (in fact near 20 billions), as well as I neither had thought that we go to visit the former capital of the Tzars' empire, then the former capital of the comunist empire, now the capital of an oil's empire.

My memories of this trip are mixtured. The city is impressive but somewhat hostile. My son warned us about the corrupt practices of some policemen who used to ask the passport from tourists for returning it only by exchanging for money. The slogan for avoid danger was not talk so much to go unnoticed and, above all, don't acting like tourists. The pairs of policemen are very common in Moscow  streets and the subway, where we were especially vigilants to prevent any undesired event. Therefore, we made only a few pictures inside the subway, despite the beauty of some stations, although not all them. We still did not posseses any compact camera that hides better, and so we did not dare to take pictures inside. Almost as impressives as  marbles and stuccos of some stations were the escalators of all them, so longs that seemed to descend up to the depths of the earth, so fast that we thought to go on a roller coaster.
 
As usual on our trips, many photos were lost. In this case, also some movies. I still had a digital video camera of those that recorded on rewritable tape, being by this reason that some events were sometimes recorded over others, even in the place, because the camera had not tape counter. In spite of, as five days in a city are much, some films also survived and I hope to be able to edit some of the walks by Old Arbat street, the Red Square and other places. 

THE RED SQUARE. 
 The first thing we did was, of course, visiting Red Square. It was the afternoon of the same day we arrived. My son came to pick us from the hotel with a female friend and all togheter walked a great ride. Crossing the bridge over the Moscow River, we go up by New Arbat Street up to the intersection with Smolenskaya Ave., where we saw the Foreign Ministry building and the underground station. Then we walked down the street Old Arbat, which is pedestrian and has many stalls which sell everything, especially on weekends, when it becomes a great market except of food. We went up the street almost to the end, to return to the New Arbar next the former KGB building. From here begins the descent to the Kremlin, whose towers are visible from afar. The rest of the story may be followed by the fotographs sequence.

THE METRO. 
 We take the metro three times, two accompanied by my soon and another only my wife and myself. I will refer this experience because we had to deal to the peculiar organization of the Moscovite metro and to the liguistics barrier. As we desired to confront both, we decided to go to the nearest station to the hotel, this of Kievskaya. In spite of our destiny was Smolenskaya station, in front of the famous Foreign Office, which is the nearest to Kievskaya, about 1/2 milles away, but in the other part of the river, we had to do a great travel, passing by a lot of stations and making a change of line, because the moscovite metro is disposed in concentrical circles, being neccesary to change of line in a determined station to pass from one of those circles to another. I don't remember now what was the name of the station where we had to make our exchange, but still remeber that it was a large one, composed by two long words. Once reached it, I spent so long time for reading its name that we abandoned the train almost when it closed its doors. All things are going very fast inside the Metro: the scalators, the trains, the people.


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