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Last Days In Moscow

These were some of the guys I hung out with during the Cycle Club's Last Stand I mentioned.  Most of the people in this photo were people from the ride, and the rest were guys that just joined us.  There were a couple of hundred cyclists wandering around in the woods for the day.
Cycling in 30 degree weather (0C) isn't ideal, but it's obviously not all that tough since I'm doing it here.  I'll need some better gear before I do much distance at that temperature though.  Here I'm using an Indian Trick that Marcel told me about.  Trying to keep weight down, I carry 2 pairs of socks.  I don't usually wear them, but when it's cold I put one pair on my hands and another on my feet.  I also have some silk gloves that are tiny and extremely light to wear under the socks, or in place of the socks when it isn't too cold. 
Most of the buildings inside the Kremlin look either like this, or they're Orthodox style chapels.
This is the Czar cannon.  It's the biggest brass cannon ever forged.  It's never been fired, and odds are it would do more harm to the guys manning it than to the enemy anyway.
This is the Czar Bell.  It's the biggest bell ever cast.  While casting it they had a fire in the workshop and got water on it trying to put the fire out so the big chunk you see missing broke off before it was even finished.  Nobody quite knew what to do with it, so they kept it sitting around a couple hundred years and made a tourist attraction out of it.
This is from the museum inside the Kremlin.  It's a gown belonging to one of the wives of Peter The Great.  He had several wives.  They didn't have divorce back then, so when the Czar wanted another wife he forced his existing wife to go to a nunnery, then had the marriage annulled and started over.

Note how thin the waist is on this gown.  Thin waists were even more in then than they are now.  It was quite common for noblewomen to have 2-3 ribs removed to allow them to go even tinier.  Talk about barbaric.

This is the famous Bolshoy Theatre.  I went to an opera there.  The opera was in Italian, but they had a convenient display board above the stage to translate it.  Of course, it translated it into Russian which wasn't much help.
On the last night before I left I took some friends to TGI-Fridays (an American food chain).  They all had Fahitas which they had never heard of.  This meal cost about 2 weeks wages for an average Russian, which explains why most never go to places like this.  You can eat in Russian Restaurants for a lot less than this American chain, and in Russian Cafes for even less.  There's more of a distinction between 'Cafe' and 'Restaurant' in Russia than in the U.S.  In the U.S. the two words mean almost the same thing, while in Russia the word 'Restaurant' generally means the same thing as 'Expensive'.

That's the end of my Russia photos.  I quite liked Russia, and would recommend it.

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