Today was a day to explore Moscow. I woke at 6:00am and went for breakfast at 7:00am. Breakfast was a huge buffet of western and Russian options. It was quite good.
At 9:00am we met our tour guide and got on a bus. Moscow is so much more than I thought. It is such an old city that it is hugely rich in culture. The architecture of the three Ivan’s (Ivan I, Ivan the Great, and Ivan the Terrible) is quite remarkable. Ivan the Great seems to have been the best contributor to the architectural culture of Moscow. The Kremlin, and the various churches are quite amazing.
Communism also had a huge impact on the city. Many of the buildings built at this time were simple and utilitarian, but the building for government and buildings that would be used to showcase the city are beautiful. When Stalin was young he was studying to be a Priest, but by the time he was the leader of the country he was a stanch atheist. During his rule he had many of the cities churches destroyed. Many of these churches have now been re-build in their original form.
All in all it was a very interesting day. I would highly recommend a visit to Moscow and Russia in general. Prices for hotels and food are very similar to North America.
We have now just gone through all out mountain gear and are packed and ready to fly to Mineralyne Vody tomorrow morning. Tonight we are taking the subway to the Red Square for dinner. Apparently Stalin spared no expense on the building of the subway and it is supposed to be wonderfully decorate. I was told that he used the marble from the churches he destroyed to decorate the subway platforms.