Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stalin's Bunker

This tour started with a mass metro trip as 20 of us made or way to the east side of Moscow. We walked about 20 min through an area near the bunker. We were told that much of the earth mounds that covered the area had been removed for construction of area hotels. The bunker was built pretty much for one man, Stalin himself. It was built in the late 30s when war with Germany was a given. It was built on the east side of the city since the Germans would be advancing from the west. The construction would be covered by construction of the Moscow Metro and a huge sports complex with a stadium planned to hold 200,000 spectators. When the war started the bunker was finished but the stadium was not.

The bunker is connected to the Kremlin by a 17km under ground road that still exists today. It was so well designed that the Germans never knew of its location. The photos take us through the conference room (with acoustics so good you can hear a whisper) to Stalin's study and canteen and out into the stadium. We took time after the tour to revisit the Ismaliva flea market and have shaslink for lunch.

We finished the day with dinner with John and Jodi at a Georgian restaurant.

Don't forget to go to the picture site!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Beer tour and the flea market

On MLK day a group of 12 or 13 of us headed out to a local brewery to take a tour. I think it is pronounced 'O chok oba'. It was a very good tour with a factory store stop at the end and some tasting of product. We had a Russian tour guide and an interpreter from the embassy. The factory was originally built in the late 70's for the 1980 Olympics to bottle Coke and other soft drinks. The day was cold so we didn't spend much time out side looking at the displays but I did get some pictures. We donned boot covers and white smocks and took about a 45 min tour. We finished where we started and did some sample tastings including "live" beer which is basically unfiltered an unpasteurized. Then we went to the company store for a chance to purchase any of their products. I bought a few interesting beers as well as some Kvas (a very low alcohol, fizzy fruity drink) and some canned sparkling wines.

Saturday Jodi, John , Nae and myself went to two different flea markets. It was snowing pretty hard but that stops nothing here. We wandered the rows of fur hats and trinkets and then ate kabobs in the cold. I am sure we will return to this place.

More photos on the link to the right ( Craig and Renee" photos)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Things of Ice Sculpture and Broom Ball

During the last days of our holiday break we took a bit of a stroll down by the White House looking for a fabric store we had heard about so Renee could check it out. We found it without too much trouble after seeing some families sliding down an iced sidewalk in the park. They sure were having fun. We found a discount store that we wandered through and then headed for the Moscow River. It was just a short walk but it was on the other side of a major road so better photos will have to wait. We did spot what we thought to be a Mexican restaurant and will most likely be returning to check it out.
That evening we boarded the Metro with friends and headed to "Propaganda Park"(not the real name but I cannot pronounce or spell the real one), where a Ice Sculpture display was. There were many well done items including a space shuttle complete with slide. The Space Obelisk marking Yuriy Gagarin's first space flight is close by.

I also just attended my first Broom Ball game. John and I traveled to the German Embassy where they flood the tennis courts and make the rink. It is much like hockey with no skates. They use a rubber ball and small hook like sticks. Our friend Jodi was playing in her first game and she did well.... to stay on her feet!. The video clip describes it better then I can.

Don't forget to see more pictures by clicking the"Craig and Renee's photos" link on the right

Friday, January 7, 2011

A walk in the Sun and Red Square at night

The Sun has been making an appearance over the last few days and we have proof! Nae and I took a morning walk for some Sun and to stop by Moscow Harley Davidson. It's not a big store but there were maybe a dozen bikes there some new and some used. One of the Orange County Choppers theme bikes was there, the Spider bike from an early show. I bought the most expensive T shirt I will ever buy and finished our walk. One fun fact: The folks there spoke a little English but knew exactly what a Shovelhead was!

We got an invitation from new friends Mike and Sara to go to Red Square at night with them. This time we took the Metro. We all had been craving a good burger and Mike had a place for us to try called Burgermeisters. Great burger but very pricey. Red Square is very festive right now and a good time was had by all.

More photos at:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Walk to Red Square 1-2-11

Renee and I decided to take the hike to Red Square. It was twice as far as we have walked so far and walking in the slush makes it seem a bit further. We cut through a lot of side streets and saw numerous other embassies. We arrived at Red Square (which is much like the National mall in DC but no pond) and wandered the North area. We visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watched the changing of the guards. We checked out the food court to find the bathrooms which seem to be few and far between. Cost 20 rubbles (66 cents) but well worth it. We wandered a bit then ended up in Red Square proper where the big Christmas tree and skating rink are. We wandered and took pictures and then cut through the famous GUM department store. Huge to say the least and very fancy. Then we started home by just guessing direction. We passed the Bolshoy and wandered home spotting the Greek Consulate on the way back and took a photo for Larry. Another great day of exploring!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Day 2011

Renee an I headed out a little before lunch on New Years day. Not sure how far we walked but we were gone several hours. We were up a bit late hanging out in Uncle Sam's Bar on the Embassy grounds. A group of about 15 of us brought in the New Year. As we left there were hundreds of fireworks going off and Dice was a basket case. Our first New Year in Russia was uneventful. We were told Red Square is like Time Square on steroids and to stay away from there for now.

Now to the walk. As we left the South entrance the Sun was actually poking through and the wind was calm. We could see a lot of buildings that are normally shrouded by snow and clouds. We walked East by the Old Embassy then South to the next major intersection taking in thesites. As we walked along the Novyy Arbat we saw the big Lotta Hotel, passed a Dunkin Donouts shop and a Chilies that will opening soon. There was an IMAX theater and a TGY Fridays. We found a grocery store where we picked up some milk and honey (that sounded strange) and then headed back.
Check out the photos of the walks.