Days 24: Moscow Sightseeing: Two days to explore this fascinating city. Our sightseeing tour includes the Kremlin, the onion domes of St Basil’s, Red Square and the GUM Store. There’s even the opportunity to travel on the Moscow underground! (Breakfast included)
Breakfast: 8:30 Bus departs: 9:00
When we finished on the Metro Galina put us on line to see Lenin’s tomb. We waited on line for a little bit, then had to put our cameras and bags in a security thing since they can’t go in. Going into the tomb was a very weird experience. After going through security you go inside the building, it’s quite dark and the floor looked like granite, it was hard to see. There were guards when you first walk in, then you go down stairs and there were more, maybe 6 or more in each spot. Then when you walk into the room with his body there were only 2 in there, but at this point you’re afraid to do something anyway, it’s a very intimidating experience. Once in the room you walk on a pathway around the body, you can’t stop or put your hands in your pocket (I heard someone did that and a guard came right up to him). The body is encased in glass and looks very waxy, totally unnatural – it was a parafin waxy look to be more specific. When Lenin died he wished for a small funeral with little fanfare. Stalin had a huge funeral with lots of fanfare for Lenin, he also ordered that his body be maintained so people could see him, like me. He told the Russian scientists to figure out a way to maintain the body. According to Lonely Plant the body is wiped down every couple days and then they use paraffin wax on the body to keep it looking fresh, that explains the waxy look. You too can have this done to your body, you just need to pay 1 Million dollars. After Stalin died his body was put with Lenins, but after 3 years Kruschev had his body removed from the tomb and buried.
Once we left the tomb we had to walk half way around Red Square to get our stuff back, but we did walk through GUM, which is a high end mall. One of the stores had mannequins with potato sack heads, interesting. Andy, Kate, Marie, Kieran, Ted, Lis, Jilly, James and I all went to the Church of Christ Our Savior, which is supposedly one of the most beautiful churches in all of Europe. The hand of St. John the Baptist was in the church, making it a little difficult to get in. It seems that every human being on the planet had made a pilgrimage to the church to see the hand, who knew? We walked by the line for it for quite a while before getting to the back of the church, we thought it was the entrance, but we couldn’t get in since it was the exit. We were only able to take pictures of the back. From where we were the line continued around the block and then to the front of the church to get in, the line seemed to be over a day long. Man these Russians really do know how to make a line! After taking a few pictures we headed back to the Red Square area for lunch.
On the way back Lis and Jilly wanted to sit for a few minutes, it had been a long day and it had started getting hot out. Only Kate, Andrew and I waited with them, the others went ahead for lunch. The 5 of us ended up at the underground mall by Red Square having lunch at the food court – we had pizza with bad salads, we also ran into Tom, who had been released from the hospital, I think Lis had sent him a text message about where to meet us. At 3:00 the group met outside the Kremlin for our tour of the Kremlin. Once inside there are areas where you can and cannot walk, they get a little pissy if you cross the line. While inside the walls we saw a group of the military marching in formation, they started heading in our direction but Fraser didn’t see them and they just kept marching right into him, it was pretty funny! Inside the armory we got to see some of the Tsar’s Faberge Eggs, which were very nice. But I was so tired that it was hard to concentrate on what Galina was saying. After that we went to dinner near Red Square and had Borst (soup) which I didn’t like and Chicken. After dinner we tried to go to a bar, but the one that had been picked out wasn’t that good so most of us left. We went back to the hotel and tried to go into the Vodka Museum which was nearby, but it was closed. We ended up in the hotel bar having a few drinks, Daniel was there, he had been released from the hospital and was feeling a bit better.