Day 12 – Moscow

On the bus at 9:15am after a great breakfast at the hotel. We headed straight to the Tretyakov Museum which naturally houses the Tretyakov collection of art! It is a very impressive museum of Russian artists who mostly painted in the school of realism. The paintings— of landscapes, of people, of objects, all looked like photographs. It is a wonderful collection and a small enough museum that navigating it, with the help of our guides, was very doable.

We then left the museum and headed to Red Square. The Gum shopping center (pronounced “goom”) looks like a gallery of Madison Ave shops (or like the Short Hills Mall without air conditioning!). But it houses a wonderful cafeteria on the 3rd floor that delivers authentic Russian fare  and has a polite request on each table that says, both in Russian and English, ‘Please be a comrade and clear the table before you leave” or some variation of that. Mike took a picture of it and it will make it to this blog soon.

After meeting our tour mates in Red Square, we started our tour of the Kremlin. Truthfully, I was surprised to see that the Kremlin in really a town— not a large government building, which is was I had thought. It is a town that has many churches, government buildings, parks and an armory that now operates as a museum that houses Faberge eggs, thrones, crowns and clothing worn by the royalty. It was a very interesting tour— but we all came away exhausted!

What I forgot to mention is that throughout Russia (0r at least throughout St. Petersburg and Moscow), the buildings that were built during the governments of Stalin, Kruschev and Gorbachev are so different, and they are referred to by the names of each ruler. For example, the larger, more liveable apartments were erected by Stalin. Kruschev’s apartments are tiny, with paper thin walls, and ridiculously small kitchens. Gorbachev’s apartments are somewhere in between the two.

Tonight we are having dinner in the hotel with our tour mates– and pre-dinner drinks on Tauck! One more day before we all say goodbye. It’s been wonderful!