We are a married couple who adopted our little Russky, Nikita {aka Nicky, Nicky noodle, little man, Nikoli, the Nickster, crazy dude, goofball, puppy love, etc...you get the picture!} from St Petersburg, Russia four years ago. Join us as we stumble through the joys and perils of parenthood, while our son teaches us a few things along the road...


September 2, 2008 - Touring Moscow with Nicky

We got up bright and early to get ready for the doctor's visit. Good thing - he arrived 15 minutes earlier than we thought. We had just gotten Nicky up and finished feeding him a bit when he knocked on the door. He was there maybe 10 minutes and gave him a clean bill of health from what he could see. And that was all he did - look at Nicky. He said he may have Rickets since he is a bit pigeon-toed and knock-kneed. Nothing to be concerned about thou, since we will definitely be feeding him well & giving him milk at every meal!

We hung out for a while, before our coordinator called for us to meet her at the business center. We all went down and I sat with her to complete the last bit of paperwork, while Kris & Nicky went to play in the fountain in the lobby. I wasn't too happy about being left alone with her...I understand that some people need to be baby-stepped thru the process, but I think I'm quite capable of writing my name and address in boxes that ask for those facts! One form asked for Nicky's official name, then the next box asked for the "name as it appears on the passport (if known)". Well, of course his name is "known" - it's the same on his passport as his "official" name! She instructed me to get his passport out to check it to be sure; I told her I knew for sure what the name was, but she was insistent! Then, of course, she realized I was right & instead of admitting it, just went onto the next form for completion! Did not make me happy whatsoever! When Kris came back with Nicky I couldn't even look at her she had made gotten me so frustrated! Oh well...soon after, she left and we had the rest of the day to ourselves.

We checked with the front desk to see about getting a ride to the Kremlin. It was pretty chilly, and the guide books all said that Red Square, Kremlin, etc were about 3k away (1.5 miles-ish), so driving there, and walking back sounded like a good plan. We figured they would just call us a TAKCI (taxi); instead, we were driven in a pretty, shiny, black Mercedes! No wonder it cost almost $50 one way! He dropped us off in a spot with a great starting point; we could walk directly into Red Square and then around the the entrance of the Kremlin itself. Problem was, Red Square was totally blocked off! We couldn't go in at all! :( So - we ventured around the outside and ended up going into the shopping center GUM (pronounced Goom), which faces Red Square on one side. It's the most beautiful mall I've ever seen; it was built in the 1890's and is both Russian medieval architecture with steel and glass, making it look very Victorian. The roof is all steel and glass and the floors throughout are beautiful marble. We decided to try and get something to eat since we really hadn't eaten breakfast. In typical Russian style, we went to 3 restaurants in the food court and were told "HET" (nyet = no) to everything we asked for! It was about 11am, and we could see the food set up, ready to go, yet we couldn't have any! So, we found a place that had pizza & had that for breakfast! Isn't the first time, I'm sure it won't be the last! We finally wandered around the other side of GUM and found St Basil's cathedral, which sits at the end of Red Square. We were unable to get inside since Red Square was closed, so we were pretty disappointed. We got some good pics of the outside thou, and the brightly painted "onion domes" were pretty impressive, althou, we're partial to the Church on Spilled Blood in Peter! We then found the entrance to the Kremlin grounds and purchased our tickets to go in. We decided it was getting late and we would need to get our little one back to the hotel for a nap at some point, so we had to skip the museums. Not really much to see other than a few pretty churches...that were for the most part under rehab, so we didn't get to see too much anyway!
I had read that Old Arbat street was THE street to stroll down, so that would be our route back to the hotel. Finding Old Arbat from the Kremlin was a whole other story! There is so much traffic in Moscow that in order to cross the streets, you must do it underground...easier said than done! Nothing in Russia is ever easy. We wandered a bit before we found ways to get to where we needed...kinda frustrating! Many of the underground crossings are unmarked, so unless you know where they are, you're unlikely to find them! As we strolled down Old Arbat, we ventured into several souvenir stores for some goodies...we got Nicky a "CCCP" t-shirt! Since it was around 2pm by now, we figured we should feed our kid - thank goodness he snacked on pizza earlier! Lo and behold - we stumbled upon a Starbucks! So we did the good ol' American thing and went in for some sandwiches and coffee! (almost $50 for the 3 of us!) Nicky really liked his frothy warm milk :) So much so, that he really came out of his shell on the remainder of the walk to the hotel! He was all smiles & giggles and was chatting up a storm! He started repeating words we'd say to him & was all about saying "mama", "dada", and even "Nikita"! We finally made it back to the hotel at about 3:30pm and we all laid down for a short nap, before getting up to head to dinner.
Dinner - well, I have to admit - we went to McDonald's! I don't even eat it here in the US, but given the cost of food in the city, it seemed like a good choice. We got Nicky his first happy meal - cheeseburger & fries with milk...I had to get something good into his belly! And - Nicky made a little friend named Svetia while we were there. So cute - they were making eyes at each other - she was sitting at the table next to us with her mom & a few other people. He played shy so she came over to talk to him and he got all squirmy! Just like his daddy...for those of you that don't know our "how we met" story, Kris sent one of his friends over to talk to me for him! Anyway, after dinner we wandered aimlessly around a huge mall by our hotel in search of the grocery store - had to get some provisions for breakfast & lunch for the next 2 days.

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