Ramblers Walking Holidays

Magnificent Moscow - Sheila Walker

Blog post   •   Oct 26, 2010 16:46 BST

Moscow and St Petersburg – September 12th -22nd (This tour is no longer available)

It was our last evening before leaving Moscow and heading for St.Petersburg.

We had already seen that Moscow was – somewhat surprisingly for me – a very attractive city. We had been delighted with the city – it was impressive in its buildings, lovely in its waterways and parks, amazing in its metro (as a Londoner I was consumed by envy at the notion of a 90 second regular service quite apart from the chandeliers) and plainly very prosperous. The great landmarks were impressive, but the open spaces were lovely, particularly as the leaves on the many trees were beginning to turn to gold. We had seen the obvious major sites, we had been delighted and moved by unaccompanied voices rendering thrilling music, and we had toured the metro and photographed its sumptuous decor.

But our Moscow by Night tour was the glorious finale of this part of our trip. Fortified by a small vodka at the start of our evening, we headed off for a super trip. The fountains gleamed, the beautiful Novodevichy Conven,t like a fairy palace, was floodlit and perfectly reflected in the lake before it (photographers were more enthusiastic than ever) . We were awestruck by the fantastic Nike Victory memorial – a monument to the dead of past wars, rising to an impressive 142 metres high, with a parade of scarlet fountains leading to it to signify the blood that had been spilt for Russia.

We were thrilled with it all. Then the highlight – a visit to Red Square, with the multicoloured and extraordinary architecture of St.Basil’s Cathedral, startling against the night sky. Free of traffic, there were small numbers of tourists enjoying the image of the fantastic cathedral glowing with gold, as well as fanciful domes, the Kremlin and Lenin’s Mausoleum facing the famous Gum store, looking like an enormous chateau outlined in white lights. We had thought that this view of the Kremlin, topped by a ruby star, would be out of bounds, but the guards were quite undisturbed by the relatively few tourists . We were delighted – it was fairyland in a spot known to us from newscasts as the location for military parades and grim-faced officials.

What a memory! We ‘ooh-ed’ and ‘ah-ed’ when we arrived, we sighed at the loveliness of it when we left. It was a magical last evening of this part of our holiday, certainly a memory to be cherished.