Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Spring Day in Moscow

A Nice Spring Day for Moscovites

Moscow Underground

Resurrection Gate, Kremlin

Trinity Tower, Kremlin

Park outside the Arsenal, Kremlin

Arbat Shopping Mall

Moscow is a grand place but it can be forbidding unless one visits in friendlier season, like summer. Arriving at Sheremetyevo Airport in March 2006, I was welcomed by a late winter blast rather than spring as I had hoped for. It was dull and grey. Snow and ice piled up on the side of the road and along the Moskva River.

It was wishful thinking considering Russia and southern Canada where I live share similar weather condition called, a continental climate. I don't know how the climate got described as "continental" when "tundra" would have been far more appropriate.

In mid-April, after my return from central Russia, the sun finally got through and the snow was gone. Alexander, our representative in Moscow, took the opportunity to invite me for a walk about in the Kremlin, a UNESCO World Heritage.

We got as far as the Red Square which if I remember right was off limits to pedestrians that day. I refrained from taking photos of the square just in case. However, we did get to see various cathedrals with onion bulbs, watch towers, and very official looking buildings in the citadel. Kremlin bathed in sunshine was pretty grand.

In late afternoon, we took the subway where the escalators go down as much as 50 metres like a mine shaft, ending on a platform that looked and felt like a museum. The trains, not to be outdone in antiquity, were Orient Express vintage with wooden panels and trims inside the car.

We got off at one end of the Arbat and walked down the pedestrian shopping mall. We stopped for coffee in an Armenian coffee shop where a demitasse of expresso can result in serious heart palpitations. After two of these ultra caffeinated drinks and a lot of stories, it was time to head back to the Hotel Arbat, two blocks away.

Moscow in mid-spring seems a vibrant and exciting place. I presume that in the summer, it can give the visitor a kick as strong as that expresso.