2012 Moscow

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The Kremlin is hidden behind its high wall with several towers.  (photo from web)

We took an overnight train to Moscow from St Petersburg, partly because our visas did not permit staying in a hotel without permission, so an overnight in Moscow would have necessitated further paperwork.  Buying the tickets was somewhat of an adventure, but we managed, with the help of some friendly Russians who were also in line.

Taking the train also let us see some of the countryside.  There is nothing spectacular to see.  It was obviously much less prosperous than central St Petersburg.  The train was comfortable, with reasonable food and bar service. 
The English language menu was interesting, including such options as Caesar Salad and Caesar salad with a hen.  However, at least they had a bilingual menu.  Their English was certainly better than our Russian.
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The Kremlin is of course the main attraction in Moscow.  Although it is widely seen as the seat of government, it is really a collecting of churches, monuments and relatively modest royal palaces, including the residence of the President of the Russian Federation.

There are three cathedrals set around Cathedral Square inside the wall.  This shot shows the bell tower, which had multiple bells, although the largest made for it never made it up the tower.
It is so heavy that the Russian engineers brought the bell-foundry to the Kremlin, to avoid having to transport the bell.  After it was made, an accident led to the large piece shown breaking off.  The broke bell lay in place for about 100 years, because moving it was considered too expensive.
The Tsars liked to show off power, presumably to help keep the peasants under control.
This giant cannon, the largest cannonball firing weapon ever built, never actually fired the cannon balls lying below it (they are too large).
It is about 350 years old.  When I look how thin the walls of it are relative to the bore, I suspect the Russian armourers were concerned that it  would explode if it had been fired.
Of course, it must have looked terrifying to anybody who was already scared of ordinary cannonballs, and could not afford to own any weapon more powerful than a knife or a big stick.
We used to see the annual Soviet parade of military might on TV every year in Red Square.
When we were there, Microsoft and other much less lethal devices seemed to have taken over, while inside the Kremlin, we saw more artists than armour.
There was also a dramatic display of flying motor bikes the day we visited, sponsored by Red Bull instead of the Red Army.

We ended our day in Moscow with a drink on the top of the Ritz Carlton, overlooking Red Square, while kids played in the fountains beside McDonalds, under the Kremlin wall. 

Poor old Mr. Lenin would perhaps have expired earlier if he had foreseen  the Ritz and McDonalds doing business in Red Square, but he would have been pleased at the huge number workers employed by McDonalds (reportedly the largest in the world).

We had dinner in a Russian restaurant, as cut above McDo, but much less expensive than the Ritz
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