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Written on: Wednesday March 12th, 2008

A journal entry from: B Poccuu

Hello all! I'm back from Moscow. It was an interesting trip, so this might be a long entry. I put up a lot of photos, too.


On Monday I went with Liza to O'Kei to stock up on snacks for the train, and then we got sushi for lunch. Sushi here is expensive but delicious. Funny side note: the menu listed "steawberries" as an available food selection.


Jessica, Jill and I met at the train station around 730. Our train left at 8:10 (ish). It was a very interesting experience. We were along the aisles, with like 4 beds in a cubby hole ish thing and then 2 on the aisle. All three of us were on the top bunk-the bottoms are used for sitting on till everyone goes to sleep. They give you sheets and a mattress (the sheets are in plastic wrap, and clean--the mattress and pillow are not, but you don't have to touch them). The bathrooms are disgusting, so we all just held it (bad experience). We met a fun Russian (drunk) man, who was in the same area as Jill. He was nice, and just wanted to tell us about "the great Russian nation", etc. He told us that Moscow is in the exact center of the country, too.


Anyways, we pulled into Moscow at 430AM. Awesome. The metro didn't open till 530, so we hung around the train station in a cafe until we could get on the metro. I became the navigator, so I got us to Red Square. We got off at the State Library (it's named after Lenin, and has about 1000 figures of him on it). We wandered around for a bit, because it was still like 6AM and the Kremlin ticket office didn't open till 930. We walked around Red Square, and it was nice because we were the only ones there (even though I felt like solid ice.) We sat in McDonalds for about an hour and a half because it was too cold to be outside, but it was nice to see the sun rise over the Kremlin, even if it proceeded to hide behind the clouds for the rest of the day.


We bought tickets at 930 for the Kremlin, and then watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 10. Newly wed couples go there with flowers as some sort of tradition. We tried to see Lenin, but he was being cleaned so that was a no go. We did have to play translator for this stupid (drunk) American guy who thought it would be a good idea to jump a fence and spring towards the Kremlin wall. Unfortunately, Jessica had to tell him that they were taking him to the police station. Sucks for him.

We didn't go in St. Basils because it's expensive, and honestly, Spasno Krovi (the onion dome church in St. Petersburg) is about 1000 times prettier. We went into the Kremlin aroun 1030 (after being yelled at by the guard--apparently our tickets for the Armoury were for a specific time, whoops). The Armoury was interesting--we saw a bunch of old gold things from imperial times, along with dresses and carriages and such.

After the Armoury we wandered around inside the Kremlin. There are like 6 churches, and we went into 4. (Assumption, Annunciation, Church of the Robe or something like that, Archangel (where all the dead Ivans are buried)). We also saw a weapons exhibit in Ivan the Terrible's massive tower. Then we saw the Tsar Bell (made for one of the Alexanders, largest bell in the world, but never rang because some idiot let water touch it while it was cooling and broke a huge hunk off of it) and the Tsar Cannon (also never shot) before deciding we were frozen and heading for lunch.

We ate at Il Patio, a pizza place owned by the same people as Macaroni Grill. They also teach you Italian in the bathroom, only it's from Italian to Russian.

After lunch we wandered around the rebuilt Church of Christ our Savior. The original was built in the 19th century as a "wooo we beat Napoleon!" type thing, but Stalin decided he didn't like it and raized it. He was going to build the House of Soviets there (a massive building with a 100 meter tall Lenin on top), but never found the money for it. So throughout Soviet times it was a ridiculously large swimming pool. In 1997 Yuri Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow, commissioned the oh-so-ridiculous architect Tseriteli to rebuild it, and he did (outlandishly). It's very pretty inside, though, and there's a church in the basement too. I liked it, though it was odd to have to go through a metal detector to go in (some Muscovites really don't like it).

After the church we went to the Tretyakov gallery, home to many a famous thing. We saw Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan, probably the most haunting painting I've ever seen. It's of Ivan after he killed his son, looking rightly torn up about it. http://www.abcgallery.com/R/repin/repin74.html

My favorite was by an artist I'd never heard of, Zaryanko. It was just of some random girl, but she was so incredibly real that it freaked me out. I stared at it for like 15 minutes. I can't find it online, but it's of a girl in a white dress.

We also saw some uber-famous icons by Rublev. Other than that, it was a nice gallery. We were tired, though, so we kind of sped through the end.

After the gallery we visited Tseriteli's ridiculous Peter the Great statue. On the way there we saw a very random military procession, complete with drums. I put up some pictures, but we didn't want to get to close because Russian military is scary.

The Peter the Great monument is taller than the Statue of Liberty, and he randomly constructed it in Moscow (which Peter hated). He offered a similar one of Christopher Columbus to the US, but we didn't want it (it's in the Caribbean somewhere now).


After the statue, we were exhausted and cold, so we went to Hard Rock to eat and relax. I didn't spend nearly as much money in Moscow as I thought I would, even though Hard Rock was expensive. I also didn't find it that hard to get around. I don't like Moscow as much as St. Petersburg though. It's kind of drab, and unplanned, and grey. And expensive. And there are far too many metro stops.


After Hard Rock we went back to the train station. We sat and waited, and our train came around 30 minutes before it left at 1020. Oh I almost forgot-- I saw one of Stalin's 7 "Wedding Cakes", aka ridiculous Soviet buildings. We were all tired, so we fell asleep as soon as we made our beds on the train. We arrived in St. Petersburg at 645, and I was uber glad to be back. I enjoyed riding on the familiar metro and bus, and then falling into my bed in my apartment until 12PM. Then I came here, to use the internet at Citi Bar. Woo!


This weekend I'm seeing two plays and a ballet, which should be fun. I have to go back to classes tomorrow, and I have a lot of homework, ick. Anyways, bye!


From Sarah on Mar 12th, 2008

That painting was crazy! I think I would have guessed it to be Russian even if I didn't already know...if that makes any sense at all.

From mom on Mar 12th, 2008

Looks cold but sounds like a great day. Painting is very Russian. Like the bed photos, too.