June 7:  Moscow

This was a free day till 3pm.  I should have caught up on sleep but I went to bed at 4 and was up at 10:15.  First thing I did was wash some of my clothes by sloshing them around while I showered.  With no access to a washing machine, this was the best alternative.  I took the Metro into town for lunch, Internet and a few extra photos.

Behind the barricades at another entrance to Red Square.

This is the closest I could get.

GUM department store.  Most malls have one main corridor like this, but at GUM this is one of a series of parallel interconnected corridors.  The place is huge.

I waited in line at McDonald's but it was packed with people with multiple orders, so after a while I gave up and just skipped lunch, and waited to meet the group at 3pm to tour the Kremlin.

Hard to see, but there's a sparrow there eating horse shit.

There was a long line at the Kremlin but Galina took us to an apparently unknown back entrance and we went right in.

Assumption Cathedral.  I never knew this--the onion domes are supposed to represent candle flames, according to Galina.

President's residence.

In the Treasury, Galina talked extensively.  And she berated us for sitting down to rest.  But finally it ended and we left for dinner.

Cool Communist mural in the foyer of Ploshchad Revolutsii station.

Dinner was at a restaurant on Arbat Street, which is considered the equivalent of Hyde Park, which I guess means it's ritzy.  The food was OK but the meal was spoiled by an annoying keyboardist and singer who tried to entertain and failed.

Back at the hotel, which by the way is in the Olympic village, K1 and K2 joined the rest of us for drinks for the first time.  You've changed!  I was undefeated in the finger game tonight.  This was the setting for the traditional once-per-tour drunken rendition of "Waltzing Matilda", but in this case it was followed by Bushy, Chris King and John disrobing for the haka, the All Blacks' pregame Maori ritual which I had never experienced before and which filled my heart and bowels with fear.