121010 Moscow 10 October Wednesday

Before we depart for the first cruise leg towards St Petersburg, we visit the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics.  The traffic is still, chaotic.  That’s one thing you can be sure about in Moscow.

After another morning coach sleep, I wake up to seeing this enormous and attractive obelisk.  It has to be the best-kept secret of Moscow.  The golden colored mirrored obelisk stands 110 meters tall and is constructed over the underground Museum of Cosmonautics.  We do not have much time to stand in awe as we hurry to the museum, however, the obelisk deserves much recognition as one of the world’s most imposing entry to any museum.

Inside, there are many models, both to scale and to full scale, of the original space probing vehicles.  Stuffed dogs that manned the original missions are on show.  One dog that was to go on her second space journey (male dogs were never used as cosmic destined animals) escaped just as it was to be contained in the space capsule, never to be seen again.  Evidently, it was not in agreement to its destination.

Our guide, who has helped us for the last two days, has immense knowledge on even the space exploration of both the former USSR and the USA.  We are treated to a speech from a cosmonaut who spent 6 months with a fellow cosmonaut in the International Mir Space Station.  He is currently, the deputy director of the museum.  Many questions come from the group through microphones attached to each seat in the theatre.

We arrive back to our ship at 1:45pm, which departs for Uglich just as soon as all are on board.  Lunch is taken – another four-course meal (double dessert, of course).  Then we are requested to take our lifejackets to the lounge to ensure we know how to ‘get into’ them in case there is an emergency.  Our Tour Director, Anna, also gives a preview of tomorrow’s destination.

Between 5pm and 6:15pm, we pass through two locks.  We will go through 16 locks during our cruise to St Petersburg.  The first lock has a drop of 16.25 meters, the second 19.4 meters.  The Ship’s Captain has invited us to a cocktail party and a special treat of having dinner with him, the Hotel Manager and the Tour Director.  There are a few other guests that cant see why they didn’t get the invite; we don’t know why we did either, but we accept the offer ‘graciously’.

Following dinner, the two photographers on board put on a classical concert for us.  One plays a balalaika and the other a full sized button accordion.  Apparently, they are a well-known duet around Russia.

Well, time for bed in our ‘well appointed suite’ with 90 degree sweeping views of the scenery along the way.

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