Swatch Club Holiday Event Moscow 2017

07 to 10-DEC-2017, Moscow, Russia

The traditional Swatch The Club Holiday (Xmas) Event took place from 07 to 10-DEC-2017 in Moscow, Russia.   More than 130 club members from all around the world (17 countries including Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, USA, Bora Bora(!), ...) participated at the fantastic event with lots of cultural activities and even more special parties. 

We arrived late on Thursday afternoon in Moscow (Domodedovo airport) and the last 3-4 kilometers to the *****-Hotel The Ritz-Carlton in the heart of the city near the Kremlin took us about one hour in the traffic jam.  As we learned later, this was not a "rush hour" problem, the traffic in the city center is really bad all around the clock.  So we had some time to take the first pictures as the car didn't move much :-)

We arrived right in time for the end of the registration to the event and the start of the Welcome Dinner at the Café Russe in the hotel.  Time to sit back, relax, and have a nice drink and some great food.  It was great to see all of us again after all this time.  As space was slightly limited, chairs were swapped all the time so it was nice to share a stories with old and new friends.  A very relaxed and joyful pre-Xmas atmosphere...

The night was short and we had a few (or more) drinks.   The hotel was conveniently located next to the Kremlin and the Red Square so we met for the guided walking tour on Friday morning, shortly after 8am in the nicely decorated lobby of the hotel.

There were several groups:  English, French, Italian, and German.  Our German group was quite large with more than 30 event participants from Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

Getting closer to the Kremlin

The State Duma (????):  The Russian assembly

The security control at the Kremlin entrance was quite strict but fortunately, we were the first Swatch Club Event group to enter.  They even opened the Kremlin Armoury Chamber one hour earlier exclusively for the Swatch group so we had enough time to see the treasures.  It was forbidden to take photos, though.  Also, Friday morning was the only time to get a glimpse of the sun.  It was quite cold, though, around -5 to -10 °C.

Our fantastic tour guide explained the history of the Kremlin and its buildings in great detail, including the different cathedrals around the Cathedral Square.

The Assumption Cathedral

The Ivan the Great Bell-Tower complex

Group picture in front of the Annunciation Cathedral

Inside of the Archangel Cathedral

The Tsar Bell

The world’s biggest cannon:  The Tsar Cannon (caliber of 890 mm).  It has never been shot.

The Kremlin Senate

We made it right in time to see the hourly Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

After we left the Kremlin area, we took a short walk to have lunch at the ***** Hotel Metropol.

Saint Basil's Cathedral

A little more than six months until the start of the soccer world cup in Russia!

Bolshoi Theatre

Karl Marx close to the Kremlin

A nice room in the cellar was reserved for the Swatch Club.  Time to enjoy a few drinks and a nice lunch.

Catch up some sleep....

After a nice lunch, we walked to the Red Square, across a very fashionable small street.

GUM department store is nicely decorated

Red Square

We enjoyed a huge Xmas tree in front of the GUM department store and also saw a nice ice rink. 

Lenin's Mausoleum

One more time:  Saint Basil's Cathedral.  Beautiful!

Even more beautiful!

Click here to read part 2 ("A visit to the GUM department store and a Moskva boat cruise") of my Moscow Holiday Event report.

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