Today I visited the Monument to the Conquerors of Space – great name, great looking monument – and the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics below it. My space adventure rounded out a full two days of Russian power plays. I went to the Kremlin and saw treasures including the Trans-Siberian Fabergé egg. After writing about the metro in the last post, I toured around some of the coolest metro stations. The two men skydiving below are part of a wonderful series of recessed mosaics in a metro station ceiling. Both the Kremlin and the metro offered well-planned and supremely executed state propaganda.
This morning I visited the Tretyakov Gallery featuring only Russian painters. Luckily I kept bumping into a Spanish tour group so I could pick up details on the Russian masters. And then the space museum continued the all-Russia-all-the-time theme. It was refreshing to look at goofy moon suits after a state art museum, but the message was definitely not diluted. Russia won the space race guys! Did you know?
In all seriousness, I visited great places over the past few days. I feel like I’ve only begun to understand the dramatic changes that have taken place in Moscow over the past few decades. Or, perhaps more importantly, what has stayed the same.
Unfortunately, I’ve just about finished my time here. Tomorrow afternoon I’m getting on a train to Irkutsk. I’m looking forward to three days of socializing and scenery in a very small space.
See you in a few time zones!
I made it to Moscow! Picture me standing on a packed metro train with my huge backpack, counting stops so I know when to get off. And then the train arrives at Pushkinskaya and a wave of stone-faced Russians pushes me out into the corridor and up the escalator. This is the closest I’ve come to understanding what a population of 11 million plus looks like. As my Croatian hostelmate might add, that’s almost three Croatias (pop. 4 million).
I asked the woman at the front desk of Chocolate Hostel how she would describe Moscow in one word (thanks Google translate!). Her response: “Tired. I don’t know, I’m tired of it. There are so many people!” The past two days have certainly been exhausting, but I’m happy to say I’m still in a state of Moscow exhileration. Yesterday I walked down Tverskaya Street to Red Square. It’s a straight shot past McDonald’s and sidewalks cluttered with cars to the massive tourist center of the city. I can now verify that the domes of St. Basil’s Catherdral do look delicious enough to eat.
Today I took in more of Moscow’s outdoor spaces. I highly recommend the Novodevichy Convent for its beautiful, peaceful grounds and gilt interiors (see the gold wall in the collage below). Art Muzeon Sculpture Park, near Gorky Park, also makes the top of my list – I’d say it’s more communist playground than artsy garden. You can frolick around a noseless Stalin and many strange political works taken from all over the city.
Please let me know if there’s anything you would like to hear more about! I’ll be in Moscow for at least two more days.
Welcome to my blog!
On Tuesday, August 23rd I’m starting a great adventure. I’ll be traveling through Russia and Mongolia on the Trans-Siberian Railway, trekking in Nepal, and exploring Thailand, New Zealand and Australia – all before the end of the year! In the spring, I hope to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain and wander through Italy and Greece, among other destinations.
My goal is to spend as much time as possible on foot, trains and bikes. And through all of this, I’d like to use this blog to share my journey with you. Enter your email on the right sidebar if you’d like to be notified of new posts, or stop by the homepage to check for updates. You can also reach me on twitter and email.
Check out the slideshow below featuring my dad and two very different-sized Annas. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to indulge my (genetic) travel bug. See you in Moscow!