Elbrus Northside Team Visits Moscow

Posted by: | August 29, 2010
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Northside
Elevation: Moscow, Russia

After sleeping soundly last night we were greeted to grey skies hanging low over Moscow this morning. Despite international attention for the heat suffocating Moscow this summer, we found ourselves walking down the street buttoning up our jackets against the chill. Leaving the hotel we walked a few minutes to the north, crossing the broad sweeping bridge over the Moscow River and directly into Alexander’s Gardens - a long park that runs along the Kremlin Wall. It was a quiet morning in Moscow with few people in the Gardens. We reached the end of the Gardens and crossed underneath Resurrection Gate into Red Square. The giant expanse of cobblestones between the Kremlin and the former Soviet State Department Store turned high-end shopping center is arresting, the place of so many momentous events in recent history. Today large scaffolding was erected on the Square in preparation for an upcoming holiday, the modern metal tubing standing awkwardly amongst the old stone buildings surrounding. Due to an event celebrating the recent discovery of an unknown fresco above an entrance to the Kremlin visitation to Lenin’s tomb was closed so instead we crossed to the Bolshoy Theater where renovations were recently completed before stopping for coffee on Tverskaya Prospekt, Moscow’s Broadway.

We met our Russian guide, an energetic and knowledgeable local named Nina, around 10:30 and as the ominous skies began to spit rain we dove underground into Moscow’s famous subways. We spent the better part of two hours bouncing from one station to the next, admiring the stunning murals, frescos, stained glass panels, mosaics, and statues that decorate the stations. It is truly incredible to see the work, attention to detail, and pride that went into these stations and they are an under recognized gem of Moscow.

Emerging into the downpour that developed as we zipped across the city far below it’s streets, we crossed underneath the imposing red walls of the Kremlin and into the seat of Russian and Soviet power. A living history of the city itself, with buildings of every era, the Kremlin is a sprawling compound of office buildings and churches, each laced with bits of history. We spent several hours in the Kremlin admiring the churches and watching the Saturday parade of soldiers and cavalry before retreating to a nearby underground shopping complex to escape the rain and cold.

With the day drawing to a close and with tired feet to show for our hours spent visiting about Moscow, we returned to our hotel to catch some rest and get our gear ready for the morning.

We have an early departure tomorrow to make our morning flight south to Mineralnye Vody, our gateway to Elbrus and the Caucasus. We will spend tomorrow night in the town of Kislovodsk before reaching Base Camp the following day. We will check in tomorrow night from the south of Russia.

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