Finally I can post on our amazing trip to Russia. We didn't have internet access most of the time while we were on the river cruise. I'll do a day by day recap over the next few days.
Tverskaya street in front of our hotel was closed down around 5am and the barricades were erected in preparation for the Victory Day parade in commemoration of the Nazi surrender in 1945.
We had planned to have breakfast and then head down to Red Square, however, around 7am we woke to a rumble and after a quick look out of our window we saw all the military equipment driving to Red Square. Now we understood why the desk clerk suggested we take a street view window and if it was too noisy we could change our room today.
We watched this amazing display of war equipment and then went for breakfast, which was an elaborate buffet with extremely good coffee and service.
We decided to watch the parade from our balcony and also had the TV tuned to live coverage of Red Square. The precision of the marching was so disciplined.
The people were out in hordes on the street below us. The flag sellers were doing a good business.
The sun is coming out as they empty out of Red Square as the tanks begin their parade back up Tverskaya right below us. The soldiers did not parade which was disappointing.
At noon we headed down the street along with hordes of holidaying Moscovites. All the streets around us are closed off to traffic to accommodate the volume. There is a party atmosphere everywhere.
The entire area around the Square was wrapped in a security blanket and the entrances were through metal detectors and your bags were subject to inspection. Once within the secured areas there were military and security everywhere.
We wandered and saw the Bolshoi Theatre, old KBG headquarters and many other historical buildings outside the Red Square. We happened upon a courtyard full of sculptures and stopped for some photos.
Across the street was the monastery of Saint Peter which contains 6 churches varying from the 15th to 17th century. The monastery was founded by Ivan I. It was rebuilt in the late 17th century with sponsorship from the Naryshkin family, relatives of Peter the Great. Its six churches include the church of the Metropolitan Peter after which the monastery is named.
As we got closer to the Square we debated going in due to the crowds. The soldiers were a human barricade to control the flow of human traffic. It was fairly orderly as they kept a close eye on the crowds and we passed through another metal detector and entered the Square . It was definitely a highlight to be in the Square on a holiday such as this. All the seating and scaffolding was still place from this morning's parade. People were lining up to put flowers on the Unknown Soldier's grave which the guard stood to attention not moving a muscle.
The old soldiers that were in Red Square for the ceremony are now walking around in uniform and being presented with flowers from young and old and getting their photos taken.
We wandered around the square looking in astonishment at the ornate buildings. St Basil's Church is definitely the star attraction along with GUM department store. It was the perfect time of day for photos .
We stepped into the Kazan Cathedral which is a replica of an original demolished in 1936. Its predecessor was consecrated in 1637 and housed the icon of the Kazan Virgin. The current icon is a copy as the original was stolen in 1904. Old babushkas keep a steely eye upon the visitors.
We left around 7pm and strolled back to the hotel, some of the streets were now opened to traffic beyond the security perimeters.
We certainly walked our butts off today according to our pedometer! 13.74 km or 8.5 miles!!
We decided to have dinner in the lobby bar around 9 pm in the hotel. We had our first vodka in Russia, Russian Premium, as we felt we had to try it. Dinner was from the appetizer menu and was more than substantial and delicious. I had the salmon salad with caviar, salmon caviar as it was orange in colour.