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Kremlin Experience

We had a busy day ahead of us. We were going to visit the Red Square once again and explore Kremlin.

As we stepped outside into the snow, we found ourselves in a mini blizzard, (at least in my eyes; keep in mind that even though I'm a Ruskie by birth, I'm a California girl at heart).

moscow

moscow

As we approached a long line to buy tickets I wasn't sure how I was going to survive the cold.  I looked around and it didn't appear that everyone was as cold as I was. Of course not, Russians are used to everything.

There were crowds of people coming out of Kremlin, and I immediately noticed that there were many kids. Accompanying adults were holding their hands as they were proudly carrying red metal suitcases and had big plastered smiles across their little precious faces. As I looked from one child to the next, I got teary eyed-I too remember being this happy camper holding a present in my hand, anticipating what was inside.  

It's a tradition that goes back almost a century. After the revolution, religion became almost non-existent. Santa Clause became "Uncle Cold", and kids celebrated him every year by attending "Yolka", a Christmas tree. This very festive occasion was full of games, a happy Santa Clause, his Snow-White helper, and if your parents were lucky enough to get a ticket to a "good Yolka", you walked away with a present. Yolka at Kremlin, was in a league of it's own. My parents didn't have enough money nor the right connection to bribe anyone to get me there, but I remember attending other Yolka's that were just as festive.

My husband was walking towards me with tickets to enter Kremlin, and with tears streaming down my cheeks I had some explaining to do.

As we entered the grounds all of us could not believe the size of Kremlin, the massive compound that resembled a city within a city.  

We visited The Armoury Chamber, and were impressed by the presented ancient Russian regalia, Tsar's dress, gold and silverware by Russian, European, & Eastern European masters, royal carriages, and horse ceremonial harness. I couldn't believe all the precious stones that adorned icons, silverware, and day-to-day utensils that were used at that time period.

I was especially happy to explore The Buccellati jewels that were exhibited at the time.
I was disappointed that we couldn't really walk inside of Kremlin to see the actual palace. My son automatically compared it to the White House, reminding us that you could take a tour. Almost simultaneously, my husband and I uttered that this was Russia, and most things were still off limits. We did however explore other cathedrals and churches on the property of Kremlin. Lenin's Mausoleum was closed and we couldn't see the main Moscow attraction which for many, many decades...preserved Lenin, or what was left of him- but this was a disappointment I could live with.

We enjoyed watching people skate at the Kremlin's Ice Skating Ring, positioned right in the middle of the Red Square. A huge Christmas tree adorned the ring, while Russian music blasted and brought smiles to all of our faces.

It was cold, I couldn't feel my hands or feet, and it was time to stop for a snack. We visited a Russian food chain called "Chocolate's Creations". After having a cup of hot chocolate with chocolate crepes, I was good to go for another few hours.

Stay tuned for tomorrow, my hubby has a surprised planed for me.

All the best,



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