Moscow, Russia July 26-27

We entered the Moscow Canal during dinner last evening and proceeded through 6 more locks to Moscow where we arrived at noon.  After lunch we set off for what was mostly a bus tour of the city stopping to take the Metro four stops to get to Red Square as well as the GUM store before heading off to a Folklore Concert during the evening. The orchestra was made up of recent graduates of the Moscow Academy and  was a very professional and well received.  We were given a box dinner to eat as we did not return to the ship for dinner until very late.  On the Wednesday we had a half day tour of the Kremlin which included the Armoury which contains state jewellery, crowns, Coronation clothes and some Faberge eggs.  Unfortunately I could not take photos in the Armoury or inside any of the cathedrals inside the Kremlin.  Instead of returning to the ship for lunch, I stayed downtown on my own and  headed off to the Pushkin Gallery which contains Impressionists and Renaissance masterpieces as well as what the Russians call “rescued artworks” which were stolen by the Germans from Jews.  There is a similar collection in the Hermitage but our guide only told us that there was controversy in Russia as to what they should do with these collections.  Unfortunately, the floor containing the Impressionists was closed so I saw only old icons and Renaissance works including some van Dycks, some Rembrandts and a couple of Titians as well as the Egyptian and Greco-Roman collections. I also visited  Arbat street which is supposed to be the heart of the artists and writers area.  While I did see some portraitists working on the street, the rest of the street has given over to souvenir shops and restaurants.  I walked on to Red Square to get the Metro back to my ship and escaped the heat wave for awhile in a very large underground shopping mall.  I have one free day left and I think I will go back downtown.  If it is nice weather I will go to the Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery where all sorts of famous Russians are buried, including, Khrushchev, Yeltsin, Gogol, Chekhov, Shostakovich and the wife of Michael Gorbachev.  I leave Moscow in the wee hours of the morning on Friday and hope to be in Ottawa late afternoon.   This will be my last post for this trip unless I come across something really interesting tomorrow.  The pictures are of St. Basils and various cathedrals and buildings in the Kremlin as well as the street artists on Arbat Street.  You will have noticed a surfeit of churches in my reports.  For a country that was avowedly atheist not 30 years ago, there are certainly a lot of them but most are now just viewed as museums and are not working churches.



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