I had the best experience on a Russian river cruise. Not only did we see amazing places such as Red Square, The Hermitage Museum, Catherine's Palace, the Moscow Metro and the Armory inside the Kremlin, but we were entrenched in the Russian culture. We were treated to very knowledgeable guides, amazing lectures, Russian lessons and let's not forget the Vodka tasting. Our first day we were taken into Moscow where we toured the city, including the metro (which is a work of art in itself). Each metro station is decorated differently and all are fabulous! They are all huge, elegant stations with a variety of art & sculpture. Any one of these metro stations could be a museum on its own. This system carries 9,000,000 people per day.
From the metro we arrived in the Arbat district where famed Russian poet Alexander Pushkin lived when he was first married. The Arbat district is a great artsy area on a pedestrian street and is filled with artists and musicians, a very lively area. Also located there is the Hard Rock café Moscow (where a dear friend of mine, Hal Blaine has his drums on display)!
From the Arbat district we continued to Red Square. I could not believe I was standing where I was! I kept saying OMG look where we are!!!! If you were standing in the middle of the square, you would look at one end to see St Basil’s, with its unbelievable onion domes and colorful painting. You just can't take your eyes off of it. The story of St Basils is that once the architect completed St Basils, Ivan the Terrible had him blinded so he could never make a more beautiful building than this (they didn't call him the Terrible for nothing). To one side is Lenin's tomb, and just behind are the Kremlin walls. Across the street is Gum Dept. store and KGB headquarters.
We returned to the ship for an early dinner and went back out for an evening concert at the Tretyakov Gallery. We saw a very talented group of musicians perform traditional Russian folk music. We enjoyed it thoroughly, the conductor even invited some of our shipmates to join in and perform with the band. The next day we went to the Pushkin museum to view Impressionistic art. We met a friend for lunch and cocktails before exploring the metro on our own. We went about 2 hours out of the city and visited a Czarina’s Palace that was gorgeous!