Our final day in Moscow, and our last day of this incredible trip has been fantastic! We started this morning with a very interesting lecture by Pavel Palazhchhenko who used to be Gorbachev’s official translator. He is a very intelligent guy with lots of inside information about Russian politics and life. He started his lecture with an informative run through the Czars, and ended with a discussion of the last election putting Putin back into power. He answered all of our questions about Russia’s support of Syria, it’s position regarding Iran’s nuclear arms and also about his view of Russian- American relationships.

Then we boarded the bus to Red Square– where our guides took us on a leisurely stroll pointing out the many churches and historic sites. We also went into the Gum again and looked at the fountain. (Pictures to follow).

Again on the bus and we were driven to a metro stop. The metro system here is very vast– it covers more than 200 miles! Moscow has 14 million residents (in Moscow and its suburbs). More than 9 million use the metro system regularly. In order to access our line (the blue line), we had to go down a fast moving steep escalator, that is more than 700 steps! Our point of origin was a station that was built in 1930. It was full of marble, (no graffiti) and lovely chandeliers hung above. Our next stop was a station that was completed in 1950. It too was beautiful— marble, crystal chandeliers, clean, etc. It had large brass statues throughout. Our final stop was a station that was built in 2000. It was more modern, but it also was constructed with marble and lovely lighting fixtures.

And our final bus ride left us at Arbatt Street– it’s a pedestrian mall with souvenir shops, cafes, a grocery store, book sellers, street artists. There really hasn’t been too much to buy here. The prices are very high, and nothing seems to be locally made except vodka. But still, we picked up a few things to bring home.

It has been a great trip! We certainly will remember this as a wonderful way to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary— and we are looking forward to our next Tauck tour! We met really nice people, we had a great guide with an incredible amount of knowledge, patience and grace (Kori Northrop), and we saw things up close and personal that we’ve only seen on TV and in books.

Now, packing and gearing ourselves up for a full day of travel tomorrow! Some of that Russia vodka will help!!!