A soggy day in Moscow. Very different to the lovely day we experienced yesterday. Setting off from our hotel, it was just starting to rain, a bit. We were heading for the nearest metro station to have a look at some of the metro network.
Very different to the London Underground. No advertising. Steep escalators as the system is deep underground. Attractive lighting, tiling, decorative ceilings and cornices and various carvings and statues.
Our first stop was a visit to GUM the famous department store. It is vast and takes up almost the whole of one side of Red Square. A very different store to the one Dennis first visited in 1970, when there was very little in the way of goods on sale. Now is is a series of designer label concessions. A shopping mall, in fact. Each has its own security man by the door.
After GUM we planned to visit the Lenin Mausoleum. By this time it has started to rain heavily. We couldn’t see the entrance to the Mausoleum so Dennis climbed over a chain which was running along side the Mausoleum. I was about to follow. Big mistake. A guard was instantly on the scene pointing us to the far end of Red Square. This was where you had to start queuing, before going through security and being scanned. So, we duly walked to the end of the square, by which time it was pouring. We sheltered in a doorway for 5 minutes, while we debated whether or not to wait in the queue in the rain. We had macs but no umbrella and as we were already wet, we decided we would queue. One hour later we filed in silence past the “pickled” Lenin, under the stern eye of the guards who made sure you kept moving. I have to say Lenin looks remarkable considering he has been there since 1924. He died of a massive stroke at the age of only 53. His embalming is apparently a secret process. I have to say it is very well done, as he looks very life like.
Beside the Kremlin walls alongside the Mausoleum, are a number of graves of various other important Russians, including Josef Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev. We had a quick look and decided as we were drenched we would hot foot it back to our hotel. Back on the metro to the closest station to our hotel. It was 1.30 so we thought we better get some lunch. The only place we could see was a Burger King. Not somewhere we would normally frequent, but beggars could not be choosers!
The weather has not improved. Disappointing as we had hoped to go out again. We are confined to our hotel room and have ordered a takeaway pizza for dinner. Pity we cannot see more. Tomorrow morning at 7.30 we will be off to the airport and back to Blighty.