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vagabonds3 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain

The Kremlin and the Metro

RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Monday, 24 August 2015 | Views [209]

Art deco, Mayakovskaya Metro Station, Moscow

Art deco, Mayakovskaya Metro Station, Moscow

THE KREMLIN TOUR WAS A SURPRISE.  Instead of government buildings reminiscent of Washington DC, the area inside the red walls contained mostly churches.  Odd, we thought, for a country that had pretty much outlawed religion for the better part of a century.  Oh, there was the massive Palace and the Senate where Mr. P conducts his dirty work but church domes predominated.

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   Annunciation Cathedral and Palace

Rather than return to the ship for lunch, we elected to explore the wonderful metro system on our own. During the Cold War the metro system also served as a fallout shelter for the city.  Next to St. Basil it was the best part of our Moscow experience.  For a mere 35 cents we traveled the length and breadth of the city, marveling at the stained-glass, ceiling murals, tiles and art deco stations deep beneath Moscow. We even managed to navigate all the way back to the ship without incident.

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  Stained glass at Nonoslobodskaya Metro Station

Our cruise is over but we can hardly say we have “seen” Russia.  The country is enormous, spanning eleven time zones.  More than one hundred distinct ethnic groups make up the “Russian” population.  Even a trip across the country on the Trans-Siberian Express wouldn’t do Russia justice. 

The problem with an organized tour is that it often insulates you from the place you have come to see.  It protects you from having to deal with hotel clerks, waiters, taxi drivers and shop keepers.  You never have to make travel arrangements or ask the locals for help.  We know more about our table mates than we do about Russians.  While our mates are excited about returning home it will be nice to get to Minsk and be on our own again.

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John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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