October 25

In Moscow

For better or for worse, it stopped snowing last night. Now the ground is mostly white, with dark slush where people or cars have moved over the snow.

Olga cooked some small pancakes and went back to work, leaving me to get caught up in my journal and to read a little. After a while, Mitya appeared and we visited the Kremlin, beautiful in the snow. Near the ticket booth by the Trinity Tower (pictured above,) kids tried to sell me medals and pins, and a woman tried to get me to pay her for an English-language tour. Mitya and I entered through the tower, just behind a small group of German tourists.

The Kremlin garden

The roads inside the Kremlin had been cleared much more thoroughly than those outside. Mitya said that there are more snowplows in the Kremlin than in all of the rest of Moscow. Rank hath its privileges, it seems. Even the paths through the small forest in the Kremlin's southeast corner were being cleared by groups of orange-clad old women.

Views from the south walkway
Spasskaya Tower from inside the walls

There isn't much to say about the buildings inside the Kremlin that hasn't been said in a hundred books already, so I guess I'll just say that I was duly impressed by the place. It is crawling with camcorder-toting tourists and government people; there are few ordinary Russians walking around inside. Entrance fees are two-tiered as elsewhere, and I posed as a Russian to get into one of the churches.

The Tsar Cannon
An open area near the garden
Steve cozies up to Lenin

Naturally, there's a large Lenin statue, this one near the edge of the garden/forest area. Mitya insisted on taking my picture in front of the statue. Closer to Cathedral Square, where all the fancy churches are found, we passed by the Tsar Cannon (the largest cannon in the world) and the Emperor Bell (the largest bell in the world.) The cannon has never been fired and the bell has never been rung, but they look neat.

Gorky Park in the snow
Kids playing in the park
Kids being pushed in the park

Water had seeped through my shoes by the time we made it to a bus stop. I should have had the foresight to bring waterproof footwear. Maybe next time. We got off one stop earlier than usual and walked home via Gorky Park and the Not-Boring Gardens. Both were breathtaking in the snow. There were few other people around, mostly women pushing baby carriages.

Anton wasn't home when we got back, so I let myself in using Sasha's spare key. I napped and started packing my clothes. Mitya and Sasha and I ate dinner and I read until Olga got home. Her computer had been hit by a virus and I helped her get her terminal software up and running. We had some tea and the discussion turned to movies. Anton (who'd returned in time for tea) said that American movies generally hit the Russian video market about two weeks after initial theatrical release. They see movies at home before many of their American friends get around to seeing them in the theater.

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