Travel and Moscow: Day 1 - September 25-28, 2006

We left home on Monday, Sept. 25, driven to Newark Airport by Mark Libby. An uneventful flight to Frankfurt on Lufthansa, arriving about 7 AM, September 26. We checked our big bags, had an expensive continental breakfast and then got a van from our hotel, the Albatros Airport Hotel in Waldorf Cheap but good. (Considerable delay because the hotel had left out a key digit in its phone number.) We were checked in before noon and took a nap for most of the afternoon. Then we went to Frankfurt on the commuter train, using the hotel van to connect with it. Took a walk in Frankfurt and then had dinner there. Back on the train, got a pedestrian to let us use her cell phone to call the hotel for another van ride, and were back in bed early.

We were up early on Sept. 27, took the van to the airport, got our bags and checked in to our flight to Moscow. Another uneventful one. We were in Moscow on time where we were met by our group leader, Violetta Alekseevav. After some delay looking for missing registrants who never came, we were bussed to our hotel where we soon checked in. The Hotel Ukraine is one of Stalin's Seven Sister skyscrapers built in the 1930s. It is in quite good, modern condition and the room was large and comfortable. We had what would turn out to be a late dinner for this Elderhostel at 8 PM and then had a brief orientation meeting. The food is what we have come to call "Elderhostel acceptable."

The next morning we had breakfast in a large breakfast room. It had several long buffets and we had a huge range of food available. Quite good on the whole. Very busy and filled with hotel guests. Many business people. Then we took the our bus to the center of the city for a visit to the CHAT Theater, the Moscow Art Theater Chekov. This is dedicated to the classical Russian theater and especially reveres Stanislavsky and Chekov. We had a lecture by its director about its history and some of his thoughts about the trials of the communist period. It was rather discursive and not well organized. A witty man, and concerned about the deteriorating relations between Russia and Georgia, which he suspected were being exacerbated by the US.

After that we had a free period which we used to begin to explore Red Square, which is close by. We walked up by Marshal Zhukov's statue outside the Square in front of the State Historical Museum and then went inside to begin to see the sites there. Our first encounter with the underground passages used to cross the very wide streets. Not much time and so we went back to the bus and on to the riverside where we boarded the tourist boat Sadko for a two hour cruise with lunch on the Moscow river. After a session of photo taking we went back to the bus. We had a brief stop to view the Convent of the New Maidens. A short photo op. then back to the hotel. Dinner was at 7 and we then turned in for a needed rest. Some of the company, more sturdy, took an optional trip to the ballet at the Bolshoi.

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Go on to Day 2

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