Our Trip to Europe
April 29 - June 26 2005
Lynda Edris and Pete Grant

Page 23a -Moscow

I arrived in Moscow on the morning of June 6th -- a Wednesday -- having taken an overnight train from Helsinki.  I had a reservation in Hotel Rossia (right) and decided to take the Metro to the hotel.  Now, that turned out to be an experience!

My instructions were to take the underground train to Kitay-Gorod station.  I went to the tourist info office but nobody there spoke reasonably good English; nevertheless, I managed to get instructions to take the red line to Kuznetski-Most, then transfer to the purple train for Kitay-Gorod.  OK, clear enough.

I walked through the train station (left) to the metro station and got in a line to purchase a ticket.  The line moved very quickly, then it was my turn.  "Kitay-Gorod", I said rolling the "r" like I had heard the tourist info guy pronouncing it, and holding my index finger up to indicate that I wanted 1 ticket.  The clerk asked me something in Russian.  "Kitay-Gorod", I repeated.  She again spoke in Russian which I didn't understand, her voice sounding impatient.  "Kitay-Gorod", I said for the third time.  The people behind me were getting impatient -- I noticed at least one person switching to another line.  Someone behind me yelled something; I wasn't sure if he was yelling at me or telling the ticket clerk what to sell me.  The ticket clerk then held up two tickets, one with a red line across the top and the other with black.  I had no clue which to choose, so I pointed at the red-lined one and paid my 7 Rubles ($0.25) and headed for the underground gate.

There were two escalators down, neither marked with the color I was interested in - red.  I tried to ask a policeman (security guard?) which escalator was for the red line, but he didn't speak a word of English either.  After much sign language and pointing at the map, he pointed at the left one and down I went.  The underground tunnels in Moscow are a sight to see!  Walking through them was like being in a royal palace -- except for the crowds.  I must have walked a half mile, taking escalators up and back down, following the signs to the red line train -- all the while dragging my suitcase behind me.

Finally, after about fifteen minutes of dragging my suitcase, I came onto a platform where the red line was; and was faced with another riddle.  My map and instructions were written in Roman script (English), but the signs were written in Russian script.  Kuznetski-Most did not appear on the signs!!  (see below right).  What now, my dear fellow?

I asked some young people if anyone spoke English.  I suspect at least one did, but they all shook their heads and walked away.  I asked some other people, showing my map and pointing at the sign, but they all reacted the same way as the youngsters had earlier.  Needless to say, a sense of frustration began to creep into my mind.
Metro tunnel Metro sign

Finally, a business man on his way to work, and speaking excellent English, noticed my dilemma and not only told me I should take track #1, but also volunteered to ride with me to Kuznetski-Most and show me which train to take to Kitay-Gorod.  Good thing he did because I ran into the same exact situation there; i.e., Russian script only.

Oh, do you think my adventure was over after getting off the metro in Kitay-Gorod?  Not quite.  My instructions said to walk a short 5-minute distance to the hotel -- but which way?  I called the hotel and was transferred to an English-speaking desk clerk -- or at least one who could speak a few words.  After trying several times to ask for directions without success, I was transferred to another English-speaking clerk with a little larger vocabulary.  The conversation went something like this:

Me:  "I'm at Kitay-Gorod station.  Which way do I go to your hotel?"

She:  "Take abc street, then right onto xyz street - 10 minute walk"

Me:  "I don't read Russian (street signs).  Can you tell me which direction, East, West, North, South?"

She:  "I don't understand"

Me:  "Which way?  North?  South?"

She:  "I don't understand"

Me:  "East?  West?"

She:  "We are near the river.  Near Red Square"

Me:  "Good, which direction is it?  North, South, what?"

She: "I don't understand.  I can't help you.  Good bye!"

Click.

"Damn" I said to myself.  Then thought:  She said near the river.  Towards the North was up hill; both South and West directions seemed to lead toward lower ground.  That must be where the river is.  I took the street South.

In about 10 minutes I arrived at the river but could not see anything that looked like the hotel (I had a picture of it printed off the web site).  I continued onto the bridge, and a few minutes later had a good view of the buildings near the river.  Sure enough, I saw what looked like the hotel -- about a mile from where I was.  Half hour later, my suitcase wheels surely worn, I walked into the hotel and checked in.

  Hotel Rossia was a very nice one.  Pricey, I'm sure, although I don't know how much I paid for the room as it was included in a package deal with transportation etc.  At left are a couple of interior shots of my room.
 
At left is a front -- there's more than one -- of Hotel Rossia.  The Red Square is straight ahead, slightly to the left of the center.

It was almost noon when I checked in.  After a quick shower and change of clothes, I had a little lunch snack, then went on a self-guided walking tour of the Red Square and its surrounding area.

 
The Red Square Red Square Church On Red Square
 
More of Red Square Modern and old (Note the ad)
 
State Historical
Museum
More old vs. new:
Shop at edge of Red Sq
Leaving Red Square
 
A live Eagle One of many statues Fountain in a park outside Red Square
 
Mickey D's!! And next to MCD -- a beer hall Cops
 
Statues and more statues .... and
 
Didn't get enough of statues??  Here's some more.
 
These four photos, above and below, are of the
Russian's (Soviet Union's) WW2 Memorial.
 
 
Along the outer wall of the Kremlin

Continued

 

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