Saturday, January 3, 2015

Moscow Tourist Time

On our first full day in Moscow, we did all of the touristy things one is supposed to do in Moscow. We had no idea what to expect of this city, so we were surprised at its size and its beauty (and its cold temperatures!). We first walked from our hotel to the Kremlin (basically the DC/White House area of Russia) and toured the various cathedrals. Each one was a bit different, but they were all beautiful inside. Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to take any pictures of the interiors of these places.

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that before coming here, I didn't really even know what the Kremlin was exactly, and I definitely didn't expect there to be so many beautiful buildings within the complex or all over Russia in general. There are random gorgeous churches and examples of awesome architecture all over the place.

After leaving the Kremlin, the highlight of our tourist adventure was visiting Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral, the Russian building everyone recognizes. This thing truly looks like it is out of some fairy tale! The colors and designs are so funky; I loved it.

We were allowed to take pictures inside of here, and some parts of it were similar to the cathedrals in the Kremlin. Other parts were more vibrantly colored, and there were several corridors and steps and rooms to explore. I really liked the beautiful paintings at the top of various cathedral domes. There were ones with geometric designs, others with Jesus or the trinity, and the colorful one below with Mary.

Touring the cathedrals allowed us to be out of the freezing cold temperatures for a bit, although the upper part of St. Basil's wasn't much warmer than outside! There were many times during the day when I couldn't feel my fingers or face.

Another building we entered to get warm was the GUM (pronounced "goom" not "gum"). This is a huge department store alongside the Red Square, and it was totally decked out for the holidays. We had fun grabbing a quick lunch, browsing the stores, enjoying the decorations, and drinking some of the best hot cocoa I've ever had.

Walking around the Red Square, where there was a Christmas festival going on, made me finally feel like it was the Christmas season. Though I was freezing, it was an awesome experience to see such a unique part of the world and visit attractions I never thought I'd see in person. Moscow, we were impressed!

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