Friday, February 28, 2014

Russia Day 10: Moscow. Getting my Bearings, Cosmonaut Museum, Red Square

After breakfast, I spent some time sorting things out at the front desk. They acknowledged my reservation and advance payment, and switched me to the proper class of room (smaller, but still a very nice, comfy room). I didn't get any credit for the 2 nights I did not use, but last night's payment is being reversed (later confirmed, though the difference in exchange rates used for the purchase and the refund left me short about $40...). I guess I got a night in the nicer suite as the only perk making up for skipping two nights. Still well worth it to get to see the gold medal game!

I also got some help from the front desk in my efforts to buy a ticket to a KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) game while I'm here. I had tried doing so online with no success before coming here. I had the desk clerk try calling the various arenas hosting games this week  (there are 4 KHL teams playing out of Moscow arenas!), but she had no luck, and found some of the people she spoke to rather rude and uncooperative. I tried again online, with her help translating the KHL web site. It turned out I needed to first create an account, which I had not understood earlier. I was then able to buy a ticket for a game Sunday evening between CSKA Moscow (the former Moscow Red Army team, sitting in the middle of the standings at 30-21) and HC Donbass, sitting a few points ahead of them. So hopefully it will be a good game. The arena is near the other end of the same metro line my hotel is on.

I went out for a walk to get my bearings around the neighbourhood, and then went into a nearby Stolovar (cafeteria) for lunch.

After lunch I headed to the Cosmonaut museum. It was pretty cool, with a lot of mock-ups of  various spacecraft and related equipment, a huge tribute to Yuri Gagarin, and acknowledgement of the contributions to space explorations made by other countries, including the US and Canada.

Monuments outside the Cosmonaut Museum

Model of Sputnik satellite

Photo of Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar, in the exhibit on female cosmonauts and astronauts.

I returned to my hotel for a rest, and then headed out to the Bolshoi Theatre to pick up my ticket for tomorrow night's performance. Theatre Square was beautiful at night.

The Bolshoi Theatre at night

 I got my ticket, then walked to Red Square, also gorgeous when lit up at night, although the skating rink they currently have set up there takes away from the majesty and blocks the view a fair bit.

Approaching Red Square

I had a fancy dinner of Beef Stroganoff at the Bosco Cafe on Red Square, walked around a bit more and then headed back to my hotel to crash, very tired as usual at the end of the day.

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