There is a “hold onto your hats” element to every TourMagination tour that Mary and I have been privileged to be part of, and that is certainly the case with this Russia tour.
It began yesterday as we all gathered in our wonderful Moscow hotel (thank you, Anna, for your care in making all of these arrangements!). Our group has gathered from all parts of Canada and the States again, and it is especially gratifying to see the range of people who have gathered here.
Some already wandered about the city yesterday, though things really began this morning as we met Alexandra (our local guide) and made our way on foot to the Kremlin. A tour of the Kremlin grounds, ancient churches and Armoury followed. How amazing to be at the heart of this great land and city. At noon we wandered out onto Red Square (yes, it was “that” famous Red Square) and had lunch in the nearby GUM.
In the afternoon we walked about on our own, took in the entirety of Moscow’s magnificent Red Square as an ensemble, and then wandered past some of its other sights, from the former KGB headquarters (the Lubyanka), the Bolshoi Ballet, the Metropol Hotel, and I could go on. It does not take long to see the tremendous focus that this city brings to your attention.
It’s a warm day in these parts and so we had some downtime in the aft. For some of us that extended into the evening, though most went to a stirring concert at the nearby Moscow Conservatory. The Concert was described as: dissonant, the music was off, but also precise, and the violinists were almost like the battle of banjos, but they were also in sync, and it included music by Chaikovskii (normally translated as Tchaikovsky) and there were even movie themes at the end. Another called it “emotionally charged and dramatic” and stereotypically Russian and Avant Garde and atonal and not always melodic but stunning. This is what I heard from the group as they came back, beaming.