They say that there are St. Petersburg people, and there are Moscow people. After this weekend’s trip, I think I can say that I’m a Moscow person.
I don’t know what it was about the city that made me fall in love with it. It could have been that, even though there seemed to be more foreigners than in St. Petersburg, it felt like a more Russian city. And I’m not even sure how to describe that feeling. There was just something about walking those streets, and the lack of transliteration on the signs, and the buildings and architecture, that made me feel that this city better represented Russia as a whole. St. Petersburg seems more European. Moscow is definitely more Russian.
We were only in the city for three days, but we all saw a lot. Even though we took an early morning train from St. Petersburg, leaving our dorms at 5:30 am and arriving in Moscow at 10:30 am, we didn’t stop to rest and instead dove right into our tour of the city. The first stop was the Red Square, and as soon as St. Basil’s Cathedral came into view, I knew I was going to fall in love with this city.
The rest of the day was spent seeing other city sites, such as Moscow State University (MGU), before a quick stop at the hotel to freshen up before going to the circus. The performance was amazing, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. As an equestrian, I was partial to the three acts involving horses, but the acrobatics also left me in awe. Every time the performers were pulled up to the ceiling, I held my breath in awe as I watched them flip and twirl and, somehow, not let go.
The next morning we had another early start, seeing Lenin’s mausoleum and the Kremlin. After this, we had free time, so my friend and I decided to go and see Chekhov’s apartment- which we then found out was closed. We made the best of it, though, and found a nice street a few blocks away from the Red Square with a bookstore, numerous cafés, and the Moscow Arts Museum. It was a nice little hideaway in such a large and intense city. For dinner, a group of us went out to have Ukranian food, and I finally had my first order of borsht. I actually thought it was very good! Then again, I did put a lot of sour cream into it.
Monday was try two for Chekhov’s apartment, and it was worth the wait. We were able to see the rooms where Chekhov lived and wrote, as well as some of his earliest letters and manuscripts. After another trip back to the Red Square for some souvenir shopping and wish making in one of their famous sites, it was time to go back to the train station and head to St. Petersburg again. But I’m already trying to figure out when I can get back to Moscow.
Strange as it seems, there’s less than two weeks left in my program! There’s so much I’ve already done, but still so much that I feel I have to do. I’ll let you know more about it in my next post!