Moscow - River Cruise

On my first trip to Moscow, I made a mental note to check out the Moskov River Cruise before the summer ended and the river froze. Well, the summer is almost over and this could be my last chance. It's a bit chilly outside, but despite my exhaustion, I decide to head to the nearest boat ramp and finally, catch the above mentioned boat.

The Moskov River Cruise is on my radar. It's a bus like boat that floats gently down the river, past many important Moscow sites, including the Kremlin. It runs every 20 minutes and only during the summer months.

I've been told it will be approximately, a two hour ride from one end to the other. For this, I mus dish out 400 Rubles in cash (or 12 Dollars) right by the boarding pier. Each ticket should be good "only" for a one leg ride, so don't get off or you will have to repay 400 Rubles to get back on.

My boat ride begins near the hotel, a few blocks away from Old Arbat Street. To get there, I cross Old Arbat to the very end of the pedestrian area, where it dead ends in Smolensky Blvd. There, I cross Smolensky Blvd. ( via the underground tunnels ) and continue straight on Smolenskaya Utilisa towards the river. About two short blocks and I reach the river. I cross the Borodinsky Bridge. Its a great place to linger a bit to take photos while crossing river. Not too far across the river, on the left bank, I see the boat ramp for my boat.

Once there, I purchase my tickets at a the small ticket booth by the ramp. Then, I wait for about 10 minutes until the next boat arrives. It comes from the direction of the Kremlin and quickly, makes a U turn on the river and pulls up to the pier to pick us up. In less then 10 minutes, we're on our way down the river.

The boat is nothing fancy, it has an open deck with blue plastic chairs bolted to the metal floor and an inside cabin with a few tables and a bar (what a surprise). As we leave the pier, I notice on the right bank a huge building surrounded by many colorful flags and waterfalls. It's the Kievskaya Metro Station. I'm told, there is a nice mall inside the building worth visiting. If you go, let me know how it is.

We float away gently down lush green banks along both sides of the river. On the right side, I see Gorky Park lined beautifully with scenic biking paths and stone stairs along the edge of the water. It looks surprisingly similar to the paths along the Potomac river in Washington DC. I wonder what the Russians would think of this if they knew. I notice people biking and walking hand in hand along the water. It looks relaxing from where I sit, in my blue deck chair in the open deck. Further down the river, on the left side, we pass The Central Stadium, a huge sports complex in Moscow. It looks impeccably clean and new.

Six bridges down and many historical Russian buildings later along the banks of the river Moscow, we come upon a monstrous metal statue of a ship with sails. It is a monument dedicated to Peter the Great and an eye sore for many Russians. My city guide in an earlier tour informed us that the statue had initially been made for Spain to celebrate their 100 years of the Discovery of the Americas, but that unfortunately, Spain had refused it. The artist, cleverly, simply changed the head of Christopher Columbus for the head of Peter the Great and sold the statue to Moscow instead (picture enclosed). Oh well.

Behind the monument to Peter the Great, is a red aged factory like building. It's the famous Red October Chocolate Factory. They produce some of the most popular chocolates in Russia.

Further down, on the left bank, we come upon the grand Cathedral of Christ the Savior. A monumental white walled structure, crowned with the ubiquitous gold domes. The Church is a spectacular sight from the river. Its hard to believe that it was once destroyed by Stalin, and completely rebuilt in only a couple of years, recently, to look "exactly" as it did before it was razed. An amazing sight.

Right behind the Cathedral, also on the left bank, one can begin to make out the familiar silhouette of the Kremlin in the distance. The familiar red fortress walls and the cluster of shiny gold domes inside it, all familiar outlines in this grand city. It is a magical view of the old city from the water. I take my shots, take a deep breath and take it all in, then I get off at the next stop before it gets dark.

It's not the end of the boat ride, but I fear, if I continue downriver any longer, I may find myself in unknown neighborhoods when it's dark. Not a good idea. Better leave the second half of my boat ride for another day, when there's more light. I'll just start where I left off this time, at the foot of Bolshoi Kamenny Most Bridge, right across the river form the Kremlin.

I exit the boat and walk a few steps of the ramp towards the bridge. I climb the steps and reach the top of the bridge and discover that the view from here is breathtaking! You can see the river Moscow and the Kremlin from a high vantage point and it's sunset hour. Magical!
There are some tourists taking photos of themselves with the sights behind them. It's definitely, a Kodak moment.

This bridge is the one that runs right into the Kremlin, almost in front of the Alexander Gardens, as you come into the city from the south. From this point, it's an easy walk back to the hotel. A few more photos and a short walk, and I'm back at the hotel in time for dinner.

Enjoy the ride.

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