20 Oct 2009


After about 36 hours on the train from Aktöbe, we arrived in Moscow on a Wednesday morning. During the last few hours I looked out the window and admired the bright colors on the trees, especially the maples. I was arriving in autumn. It was raining too. First lightly, then it got harder and harder. Just as we got off the train it started hailing. What a warm welcome :)
Andrea, a volunteer ESL teacher there in Moscow, met me there and took me back to her place. Svetlana's boyfriend also met her at the train and he so kindly insisted on carrying my big bag all the way down to the metro. It was a big help!

After a nice shower and a warm turkish sugar drink Andrea took me around and showed me the sights.

I can now say I've been to red square. It is big. It's just like a big sloping field of gray cobblestone with a few much photographed buildings along the sides. Maybe I expected to be more awed by the place, I don't know.
We didn't go in any of the buildings except for ГУМ, the prestigious shopping center that takes up pretty much the whole long side of the square opposite the Kreml. That might have been my first culture shock. Comparing Baraholka to ГУМ. I miss Baraholka. And Altyn Orda even more.

For lunch we had some yummy stuffed baked potatos. Very good.
We also visited two churches. The white one below was the first one. What a pity they don't allow photography in there, because it was quite the thing to behold. It's got to be the largest Orthodox church I've ever been in. So pretty and calm inside. We stood for a while and watched two ladies polishing/sanding the railing near the altar.

After a little bit of exploring we came across a small red church and went inside. What a difference! It too was Orthodox, but they were like night and day. The red church was built of wood and everything inside was wood as well, and simple. The feeling inside really reminded me of our visit to Valamo a few years ago. It was beautiful.

Before heading back we stopped for a coffee and among other things compared the extent of chivalry in western and these eastern-ish cultures.

Andrea had to teach in the evening, so I went with her to their center and sat in the office for a few hours until she was finished. Our Almaty center isn't the only one that gets cold!
Then in the evening their director, also Yelena, drove me all the way to Leningradski station. Moscow is pretty at night.
It seems like a nice enough city with a good metro system and a lot of other advantages. But it's so big and so impersonal. Almaty was a lot more personal compared to this. Yay for villages :)

Such was my one day of Moscow.

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