Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Moscow (Part XXII - The Kremlin)


Sunday morning shone bright and cold, and I was ready to see the Kremlin! My feet still hurt real bad in those boots, and because of the toe I’d squashed at the Jewish Museum, but I hardly felt sick anymore at all, I had money in my wallet, and I was on my way!

I looked carefully at the maps and saw that if I got off the subway at the “Biblioteka” stop, I could then walk through the Kremlin and Red Square at my leisure, and continue on eastward toward the offices of The Jewish Agency, where I was expected at noon.
Those of you who have been to the Kremlin already know that this is impossible: the Kremlin is a complex of buildings surrounded by a wall, and there is only one way to get in or out, through the gates on the Western side. But I didn’t know that.

I got out of the subway and noted that this stop had a few cute little shops in it, including a gift store with some nice matrushka dolls in the window. Since it’s so cold outside in the winter, Russians do a lot of their shopping underground. I wondered what the dolls would look like at the Matrushka Doll Museum tomorrow!

I walked toward the Kremlin and was stopped by a guard, who said I needed a ticket. Oh, duh! That makes sense! At last, a bit of capitalism around here!
He pointed me around the corner and down a hill, quite a walk considering how much my feet hurt me. Before joining the ticket line, I went to see what’s in the gift shop: A lot of books in Russian, and almost nothing of interest to an English-speaking tourist. Once again, capitalism *fail.*

Anyway, I got to the ticket counter and bought the cheapest ticket available, with no tour guides attached to it, just the right to walk around by myself. I also discovered that not a single one of the ticket salespeople at the Kremlin speaks ANY English. Thank goodness for the other tourists nearby who DID speak Russian! I really, really don’t expect that “Joe Moscovite” will speak English – I’m not that Western-centric – but at the tickets sales for the Kremlin? Tourism-friendliness *fail.*

I was directed to walk a bit more, lots of painful steps, to check my backpack. At this point, my memories are dim. I remember that I tried to explain in English to the bag check lady that I need my bag, because I’m not coming back out this way, I’m going THROUGH the Kremlin and won’t be returning here to get my bag. She, of course, had no idea what I was talking about, because – as I now know – it’s impossible to go THROUGH the Kremlin.
Thwarted in my attempt to enter – because really, the security guard doesn’t let in anyone with a backpack, which I understand – I now had, once again, failed in my plans AND, to add insult to injury, had to now walk AROUND the Kremlin to get to The Jewish Agency.

There was one consolation, though. On my way, I witnessed part of a little ceremony some kind that involved Russian soldiers marching just like this (actually, in the exact spot where this You Tube video was taken):

That was cool. I mean, seriously, if you are going to fly to Moscow and get sick and not have money and then not be able to get into the Kremlin, at least there are soldiers in those coats, doing that march!

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