Three of us (Jose, Patricia and Bob) with our Gracious Hosts, Olga and Vasily.
Katia, Olga and Vasily's daughter, was studying for her exams and was not present for the group picture. Here is the lovely young Katia:
Vasily and Olga's dacha and part of their garden:
Dacha Refrigerator: Which We Raided Regularly
For a fun ride, try Vasily's quads.
A few of the other dachas in Vasily and Olga's neighborhood.
Soon after we arrived in Moscow, our friends took us to see Rostov the Great, an old walled Russian city north of Moscow.
Rostov the Great
Interior view of the city from one of the towers (with traveler in foreground):
On the road we found some wild strawberry vendors. Vasily put his renowned bargaining skills to work in purchasing a batch.
Wild strawberries: smaller than the ones we find in Publix, but so delicious.
Also on along the highway, pelts for sale.
Old Russian Wooden House
World War II, known to the Russians as The Great Patriotic War, saw intense fighting on the outskirts of Moscow. On the road from the airport are markers indicating the farthest extent of Hitler's assault on the city. The enemy got no farther and Moscow was saved.
Victory Park celebrates the victory over the Nazis. At its heart is a museum commemorating the Russian struggle during the war. At the entrance to the museum is a statue of a horseman killing a dragon-like beast.
Outside the museum, artillery.
Inside, a poster celebrating the Russo-Anglo-American alliance.
A diorama illustrating the struggle...
What makes Moscow unlike any other city is the complex at the heart of the city, especially the Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral and Red Square.
The Kremlin: View from Moscow River
The Gang of Four at Red Square
Stalin and Lenin greet a young Comrade at Red Square:
Red Square can have a certain Disneyesque air at times:
Red Square Critters
Just off Red Square stands the famous GUM Department Store - actually more like a mall than a single store.
Further along the Moscow River, a huge statue of Peter the Great astride a ship. He is the Czar who turned Russia into an ocean-going power.
And nearby, the entrance to the famous Gorky Park, known to many Westerners through Martin Cruz Smith's detective novel of that name.
The park is family friendly, with lots of people hanging out on inflated mats.
Li Wei and I went to the Ukraine Hotel for an elegant hamburger lunch, since Vasily told us we could get a spectacular view of Moscow from its top floor restaurant.
Outside was a fleet of Rolls Royces - clues that our burgers would not be cheap.
The Ukraine Lobby
Li Wei in the elevator.
The Dining Room (which we had to photograph surreptitiously, since pictures were not supposed to be allowed)
Burger and Fries a la Ukraine
From the Ukraine: A View of Moscow's White House, where the Russian Parliament meets.
Scenes from the Street: A Musician
The Latest Film - The Heat:
From the Mayakovsky Museum:
The Handsome, Dashing Vladimir Mayakovsky, Soviet Era Poet and Playwright. One of our group had a major crush on him, but to prevent her embarrassment, I will decline to identify her.
Patricia at Moscow University
Brother Li Wei on the Train to the Dacha.
And, Brother Jose
(Coke : Jose :: Spinach : Popeye)
In Downtown Moscow, Receptor, a Cool Hangout
Farewell, Dear Moscow, we will miss you, as we will miss our friends Vasily, Olga and Katia.