Elbrus Northside Team Visits Moscow
Dobry vecher from Moscow,
By seven last night the entire team - including all bags and gear! - reached our hotel in Moscow to kick off the 2009 RMI Elbrus Northside Expedition! The team was tired from the hours of traveling from halfway around the world, but excited to be here as we shared a drink with the sun setting over the buildings and illuminating the Moscow River. We found a little cafe down the street from the hotel where, with two English menus amongst the ten of us, we managed to order a delicious dinner through a mix of broken English and phrasebook Russian. Afterwards, we returned to the hotel for a well deserved rest.
This morning we made the short walk from our hotel across the Moscow River and along the red walls of the Kremlin to Red Square. We arrived early enough to beat the crowds of tourists and admired the stunning architecture of the GUM (the Soviet State Department Store), St. Basil’s Cathedral with it’s unmistakable brightly colored onion-shaped domes, and the dark red walls of the Kremlin, the seat of Soviet and now Russian government. After visiting Lenin’s tomb, walking through the dark and somber marble building, we met our local Muscovite, Nina, who led us on a tour of this famous area. We walked through the shops of the GUM whose shelves used to stock basic provisions and now houses luxury brands like Dior, then explored the dozens of small, beautifully painted chapels that make up St. Basil’s Cathedral, before watching the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We ended our tour by making our way through the gates of the Kremlin and exploring it’s beautiful churches, gardens, and monuments - such as the largest bell and cannon in the world.
After a full day of sightseeing we relaxed for a few hours in the afternoon, taking some time to explore Moscow on our own. We are headed to a fantastic Georgian restaurant tonight to sample cuisine straight from the Caucasus before we head down there ourselves tomorrow. We are catching a morning flight to Mineralyne-Vody, the gateway to the northern Caucasus. We will check-in tomorrow night from the town of Kislovodsk, our launching point for our climb of Elbrus’ wild northside.
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