July 25/26, 2008: Destination Moscow

SFO to Philly, Philly to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Moscow. A long haul. Moscow airport was crowded and chaotic. There were a dozen of us with Stanford who all arrived at about the same time, and we were directed by our Russian guides to an awaiting bus. Standing there with our piles of luggage, I got my first lesson in Russian customer service. The bus driver opened the luggage compartment underneath the bus and stared at us. Our guide asked the driver if he would help load the bags. His reply, "Not my job." Eventually he did help (I guarantee you she paid him off!), and we were on our way to our very fancy hotel, the Baltschug Kempinski.

We barely had time to check-in before a welcome reception, and then we jumped on a bus to dinner in Red Square. About 2/3s of the group made it to dinner (a few hadn't yet arrived, a few others were too tired). The restaurant was quite nice, and it was just a 10-minute walk back across Red Square to the hotel. Red Square is all brick and surrounded by impressive buildings including the GUM department store, Lenin's Tomb, and the colorful St. Basil's Cathedral. They light all the buildings at night, and at dusk, it was really something to see.

If you double click on the slideshow below it will take you to a new page with enlarged photos and descriptions:

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