Russia: Moscow city tour and Red Square

Day 3 of the trip, but really the first full day in Russia was fairly busy for a slightly jetlagged version of myself and my Mom.

We jumped on the bus with our group (we are the purple group) with our "Program Director" Konstantin and our Moscow tour guide Sophia and headed to Red Square. Immediately I remebered why I am not a fan of "tours". Someone is always talking at you.

The minute the bus started to drive away someone was on the microphone telling us things. Now I don't mind a little instruction, but after ten minutes of straight lecture in a bus, you lose me. Unfortuantly that is what happend on the city tour. We hit a traffic jam and Sophia the tour guide just kept talking. I know it was her job, and I bet there are people who enjoy this kind of lecture, but I am not one of them. I don't talk about my job on this blog but I will say I work in education and have learned alot about how people learn. The straight lecture is no longer considered an effective way to teach someone something. As I mentioned above, I was over it after 10 minutes. Additionally I start to lose interest when things were pointed out to me that I think are not important or things that I don't have enough time to study. For example, a lot of hotels were pointed out to us on our Moscow City Tour as we drove by them. Why is this hotel important? Can I look at it so I remember it? Here is the this, here is the that, here is the Ritz. All of this being pointed out after the traffic jam so the bus was going along at a good clip and we would fly by whatever it was we were supposed to be looking at. Not my kind of thing.

Our first stop was Red Square. We were told that "red" at one time meant beautiful. It was an overcast Saturday and the square was fairly busy. We each had a headset with a receiver so we could listen to our guide Sophia. The Kremlin wall borders Red Square and St. Basil's church (I need to check my spelling on this one) anchors it. This is one of the iconic churches that shows up in typical Russian Postcards. Here is my Mom with the headset in Red Square.

Here is our tour guide Sophia with the purple flag we used to find her.

Mo, my Mom and I waiting for the group to head on to the "Metro Tour".

From Red Square the Purple Group walked over to the Metro for our "Metro Tour". Moscow has a pretty good metro system. The oldest metro stations were beautiful and full of small details. Each station was different and it was only when you started to get out of the city center that the stops started to be plain.

This day was a little hard for me. I was still a little jetlagged and I am sure that contributed. I don't usually take tours because I am on someone else's time schedule. I like to be on my own time schedule. If I see something interesting I want to stop. I like to have long lunches and just watch the country go by. On a tour this is not an option. You are on a strict time schedule and if you are late you inconvience 45 other people.

The Russia trip was very different than the Ireland trip two weeks ago. In Russia we were on a strict time line and the Russians were very punctual. AC, Mo, and I had already decided we were going to fly the coop that night and the events of the day just made me even more excited to be out on our own. My mother and Mo's mom were very conccerned about this and even got the program director involved. Our plan was to take the metro into the city center and watch the soccor game. Russia was playing Greece and Mo had seen a bar on our great day of driving that she wanted to check out.

Riding the Metro in a new city is a little challenging at first, but gets easier the more you ride it. The three of us did fine and managed a few train changes. We got to where we thought we were supposed to be and tried to find the bar. After walking around for a half hour we decided to get back on the metro and head to Red Square at night.

The square was lit up and still a very popular place (even at 12:15 a.m.). There were a lot more Russians out enjoying the evening and we had a great time walking around. At one point a young man asked AC if "she had the time". We thought he was asking what time it was but realized later that he was asking her if she had the time to talk to him, kind of like a pickup line. We were laughing at oursleves later when we realized this. Lost in translation I guess.....

We made our way back to the ship and had a few more adventures on the metro. Even though we never found a bar, we were so happy we had a chance to start exploring Russia at our own speed. We ran into some of the wait staff when we got back after 1am and had a good time talking to them and learning more about how Russia and Moscow worked. Tomorrow.... more tours..... and the Circus!

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