Thursday, August 27, 2015

Moskow 9 -- Moskva river boat tour

Moscow, the capital city of Russia, is situated on the banks of the river Moskva . A river trip or cruise is a great and...monotonous way to see the city center and its main attractions; no traffic, no smog, no pressure of any kind. It's cool and cozy inside the cabin;  you can buy a drink and enjoy the views .

inside the boat cabin

There are all kinds of boats circulating on the river, and several kinds of tours to choose from. I bought my tour ticket at the embankment near the Kievskaya metro/railway station ( a very impressive building in itself). It was a one way ticket to Novospassky bridge, and from there I walked up to Proletarskaya metro station.

The views on both sides of the river are captivating: the "Red October"chocolate factory (I fell for their milk bar 'Alenka'), Gorki Park (russian Disnyland),  the Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow State University, the Tetryakov Gallery, Peter the Great monument, etc...

'Red October' chocolate factory

                              Tetryakov contemporary art Gallery

                                   Peter the Great monument (partially captured)

At the end of this leisurely water trip, I felt glad I gave myself the opportunity of seeing  Moscow from another angle.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Moscow 8 - GUM and ZUM

It may sound strange, but the above words are the names of two very respectable department stores in the very heart of Moscow: Gum (pronounced Goom) located along the Red Square, and Zoom (pronounced Tsoom) next to the Bolshoi Theater.

GUM is actually a shopping mall, and a very expensive one. 
I think there's something wrong in the location  of this extravagant mall in the historic center of Moscow, especially opposite Lenin's mausoleum.
Having said that, the place is well worth a visit as it is unique architecturally.

                          the red  color belongs to Lenin's mausoleum

It is not exactly an one - piece building like ZUM; it consists of a series of arcades on three levels connected by small bridges and covered with a glass roof. Inside, there are lots of designer shops with western brands. It definitely has class, and it fits the requirements of both the russian elite and the rich tourists.

                      the glass ceiling and the interconnecting bridges

On the ground floor there's a luxury supermarket (which sells among other goodies, finest vodka and black kaviar). For the people with a tight budget there are the ice cream stands which are very popular.( I must confess I didn't like the taste of the local ice cream sold there).

                         licking icecream always makes a good picture

On the third floor I got acquainted with an eatery called Solovaya 57. It's a sort of canteen where you can have a decent meal for a decent price. I had lunch there  twice, and fell in love with their pastry of cherry strudel and cherry pie.

                   people taking the escalator to the Solovaya 57 canteen

                                            Solovaya 57- inside and outside

ZUM is situated in the theater area (Bolshoi and Mali theaters). It is a high end department store with renowned brands in clothing, cosmetics, shoes, accessories, perfumeries. Those looking for real fur will find it here.Those who wish to relax with a cup of coffee will do so at the nice cafe on the fourth floor,

                          the facade of  ZUM department store

Across the store there are some shops, eateries and benches. People seem to enjoy sitting on those benches , and looking ahead at the entrance of ZUM, at people going in and out of the big store.

             in the background, the red sign of the back side of ZUM

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Moscow 7 - The Bolshoi

If you're lucky enough to obtain a ticket for a ballet or opera performance at the worldwide famous Bolshoi Theater - then  you probably get your chance to be exposed to the highest form of culture available.

Tickets, however, are expensive and have to be bought in advance; even a tour of the  building's renovated interior is not without problems. The tour takes place only on certain days and you have to queue. As I was limited by time, I decided to just go and have a look from the outside at the historic building and its surrounding area.

The Bolshoi is not far from The Red Square and one can easily reach  the place  by metro.  There was no sign anywhere with the name Bolshoi, so I had to ask a passer-by to make sure that was It.

The neoclassical building is beautiful and  has a lovely fountain and garden in front of it. People seem to love sitting on the benches in the little garden, enjoying the sight of the fountain.

The 'neighbor' on the right side of the building  is the back (ugly) of the ZUM department store. (Something should be done about that; it kills the view).

                                the back side of ZUM (Tsoom) store