Pig's Ear Park and Other Adventures

Day: June 10, 2013


After a light lunch of;salad,proscutio and tiramisu ,I am fortified and ready to start on Moscow.

We berthed just after lunch after cruising down the Moscow-Volga Canal. Very pretty with people camping-god they must be tough to survive the mozzies,plus lots of lovely dachas and enormous leisure boats which ploughed past us as though we were walking…we finally arrived. Sun was shining as we set off on our walking tour…We are berthed at the end of the Green line  which puts us about 45 minutes from central Moscow, so handier realyet than the 20 minutes out in St Petes with no public transport nearby.

We did our first metro and eight stops to where the first of the  highly decorated metros begin. The stations are pretty clean and the trains very fast but very noisy.

There were sixteen people in our group and two guides, we thought they were very brave to herd us thru the metro system.

First highly decorated metro was not that highly decorated but did have lovely porcelain  ceiling pieces, alternate ones of garlands of flowers and angels. Ornate lighting  fittings were also evident plus marble  floors. The next metro station had life sized bronze sculptures, of soldiers, sailors etc, even some women were portrayed. These stations were pre WW 2  and were used as shelters like the London Underground.

We eventually got out at Red Square, swarming with people as it was Sunday. Some of the women are beautifully dressed, always with immensely high heels, not not street walkers, though we saw a few….

Amazing to see St Basil’s, with its highly  coloured onion domes. Red Square was closed off to the public as it was being set up for a concert so we had to walk from one end of MIT to another thru Gum , the large department store. It is actually a whole series of small stores, like Gucci etc etc, had to work hard to stop T shopping……

We are visiting the Kremlin tomorrow but the walls around it seem to go on forever. Hordes of people around and some amazing Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev lookalikes  who  would have their picture taken for a price…

We saw the Bolshoi building and Hotel Metropole then caught another metro to a church who name I can’t remember, but I was not allowed in as I never had a case for my camera!!!! We then crossed back over the Volga River taking in Peter the Greats memorial which is about twenty metres high showing Peter on the bow  of a ship.

Saw yet another bride, loads about, they have the ceremony then visit famous sites with friends before having a reception at a flash restaurant. Failure rate of marriage in Moscow and St Petes is fifty percent according to the guide.!!!!!!!

There is a shortage of ten million males , hence all the Russian bride jokes. The men are scruffy and the women are usually well turned out, now we know why!

We saw the key trees, copied from the key bridge idea, in Budapest?, but here newly weds put a padlock with their names on, on a metal tree. Dozens of these trees with dozens of padlocks. I reckon they should take their padlock off when the marriage fails…

We then joined the rest of the group for a performance by the Moscow Folk Music Orchestra.

They were stunning, played some stuff we know but also some Russian music, very sad and mournful. Everyone was thrilled by the concert,we even bought the CD!!!!!

Back on board about 9.30pm where a full dinner awaited, I went to bed,T had steak!!!!

Day two ,Moscow

T needed paracetamol so we walked over to the local shopping centre, looked dreary but had a mall full of expensive shops. Actually everything in Russia is expensive, I don’t know how the ordinary person can afford to live here…..Unless. There is a black economy we don’t know about.

After a bit of  fluffing about we finally found a pharmacy. Walked back thru a nice park where I tried to photograph some red squirrels, too fast for me….

Now a bit overcast but still warm….Kremlin this pm then a free day tomorrow..

Moscow, or what we saw of it yesterday on foot and then from the bus on the way back to the boat looks very impressive. Buildings in the centre anyway, French architectural influence is quite noticeable in the oldest buildings.

Some of the blocks of flats near where we are docked are known as Kruschev style, read that as awful. Apparently blocks of flats built in Stalins time are now des res….large kitchens, high ceilings and quite spacious…..

Yarosavl , Uglich and lunch….

Yaroslavl is one of the Golden Ring cities which surround Moscow, not sure why the title but they are definitely bigger than the hamlets we have seen so far.

Another day of beautiful fine and sunny weather. average temperature seems to be about 25C, drops down at night. Only problem in paradise is the Mosquitos-they are Huge!!!

As someone said,if they an survive minus forty winters they are big and tough!

We visited the local fruit and veggie market, I bought some saffron for a ridiculously low price, now have to get it home!!! The range of fruit and veggies is huge , plus great cheeses and cured meats.

Next stop on the tourist trail was the Governors house, not nearly as ornate as St Petes in the way of decor. We were entertained by about 6 young people in costume, who did lovely little gavottes and waltz’s accompanied by a violinist, a cellists and a pianist. Nice little interlude plus there was some nice paintingson the walls. There is a photo of one lurking in the depths of machine called Boy preparing to Fight!!!! captured perfectly an aggressive little nine year old!!!!

Then it was back to the ancient church of St Elijah, actually has. Been on the same spot for several centuries and has not been rebuilt at anytime in thelastcentury!!! Startingto see the pattern of the icons, always about 12 above the centra part of the church, JC in the centre surrounded by the disciples etc. Some have more but as each icon is usually about 1.2 m by 1.2 they take up quite a bit of space. The churches all have domed rooves, usually frescoed. Some are quite grand, some a bit simpler…

Nice town and one that would have been nice to have mooched about in….

Next day, Uglich!!!

We were handed over to Vladimir, a con man, from way back, who took us on a home visit…. Uglich is a much smaller place than Yaroslavl, and seemed quite poor. the foundations on many of the houses were definitely in need of repair, but if that had been done then the whole structure should have probably collapsed.

Anyway, 14 of us trooped into Vlads house where, carafes of moonshine , bread, pickles and some kind of scones were set out on the table.

We proceeded to toast each other and Vlad with moonshine, after 3 we were all quite talkative… He asked each of us what we did, 7 of us were teachers!!!! two were priests(1had a wife!!!!),the rest were engineers!!!!

We tottered out of the house and looked at his garden, I think he now spends too much time with tourists ….

Two nice churches here’s, one where a Tsars son was killed at the behest of Boris Gudonov , of opera fame!!!!

A pretty little town where T absolutely insisted I buy a 2000 dollar fur jacket, of course I strongly resisted and settled for a pair of ten dollar sand less instead.

Back on board for they Captains dinner, Food was very good, better than usual, with little interesting additions like caviar and blinis….

We are now inMoscow which is pretty damn impressive but it is lunch time so I have to go.Need some sustenance for a walk round Red Square……

20130616-104255.jpgBirch trees on the way  to Ugilich

20130616-105442.jpgThe  monastery at Ugilich, where we did not get into the church.

20130616-105548.jpg Memorial to soldiers from WW 2 at Yaroslavl.

20130616-105608.jpgSomeone’s church, St Whoever….





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