Tuesday 23rd February
Once again the roads and pavements were being cleared of snow when we awoke. It is a National holiday today and there was fencing around Red Square and the Kremlin to stop access. TV crews arrived and there was strict security with police on every street corner and along the road in front of the Kremlin. The cars outside the hotel which were thick with snow last night are now clear. We found the army of snowploughs waiting for the next snowfall. Yesterday’s snow was collected by this army of trucks and taken to a Moscow water treatment works to be cleaned and put into the Moscow River.
The roads were quiet when we began our exploration of the Tverskaya which was the historic street used by royal processions travelling from the Kremlin to the city of Tver. This is a commercial, residential and theatre district. The Bolshoi Theatre has been restored to its original state.
We then rode on the sightseeing bus again and witnessed a helicopter flying into the Kremlin grounds. Little else moved near this area until it took off. Later we also official black cars being escorted at high speed down the diplomatic lane in the middle of the road whilst everything else stood still.
The clearer weather gave us chance to see some of the sights that were difficult to appreciate in yesterday’s gloom. The posters at every bus stop and on street corners are interesting and mostly in Russian. Here is one example.
Our train to Beijing departs at 23:45 p.m. so for the next few days it may be difficult to update the blog. We will be making our notes ready to publish as soon as we can. We will see you on the Pacific Rim of Asia.
The Moscow meteorological bureau has reported that last night’s snowfall (Day 5) dropped more than 30% of the average monthly snowfall in just a few hours. Some areas of the city received more than 50%. About 30 cms of snow fell in Moscow and a total of 7,500 snow removal vehicles cleared the streets. It also reported that the capital has experienced 58 cms since the beginning of February which is 160% more than the average.