Circle the Arctic 2015

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Spitsburgen Cruise  |  Iceland  |  Greenland  |  Boston  |  Reprise of Northern Summer Trip  |  On Second Thought


Moscow became a somewhat unbelievable stop transportation-wise. On the first day, the bus broke down on the way to the hotel. The second day (in the middle of a really torrential downpour) the driver took a short-cut from the ballet which turned a ten-minute drive into a half hour. Today the driver going to the Village of Peredelkino got hopelessly lost and, using an IPad and GPS, remained lost as he drove us around for an hour looking for our destination. Planning must have gotten such a bad reputation during the Soviet era that it is avoided these days.

Today we stopped first for another picture of the Kremlin (left) and then for one of the State University (right). This photo of the University sort of proves the point that university professors have their heads in the clouds (the top of the central tower is obscured in mist).

Boris Pasternak's dacha was really just another old house in the country made famous by his living there. The visit to the graveyard he was buried in was just that, a visit to a graveyard.

On the other hand, the cathedral that was situated right across from the cemetery was something special. A classic Russian-style church, although practically brand new, with various bright Mexican-colored onion domes.

Lunch at The Pushkin Restaurant was next (god forbid we should not eat four hours after we last ate). It was in a refurbished mansion with pretty good food. I walked back to the hotel and Carol went on to the Tolstoy House Museum and Our Savior Cathedral. I had seen a number of the sights on the tour when I was with Carol on a Mars Conference. The Cathedral is a large structure, replacing the one Stalin blew up, and built recently with contributions of the citizens. It tried to replicate the destroyed one as closely as possible.

Tonight we have to get our large suitcases out our door by 10 p.m. so they can be processed by Russian Customs and put on the plane. We have an early departure tomorrow. This evening, the night before that early departure, instead of eating at the hotel we joined friends for a Russian dinner at place our tour company suggested. We were bussed there. There were some 15 of us in the restaurant. We waited 15 minutes to place a wine order. A little later we placed our dinner order. We didn't see the waiter for an hour and of course the dinner was nowhere in sight. The local guide hired by our tour company who was supposed to be helping us with everything at this restaurant instead went to another room and was focused on her own meal. We finally left without eating and went back to the hotel and decided to have a nightcap with our friend on the roof of the hotel. Going up to the roof the elevator stalled on the 7th floor. Will our Russian transportation problems never stop?!

We leave Moscow in the morning — I hope.

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