Monday, September 18, 2006


The ACTR organized a trip to Moscow. We left on Friday at 0720 by chartered bus. We arrived about four hours later. The only plans for the day were to visit the fanous Tretyakov Gallery. It houses some of the most beautiful paintings in Russia.
That evening I met with my friend, Artem's, father. He picked me up from the student dormitories and took me for an evening drive in Moscow. It was as we were conversing in his car that I saw the Kremlin for the first time. It was magnificently lit up and was dream-like.
On the other side I saw the Bolshoi Theater (under renovation) and St Basil's Cathedral.
The next day the group set off for the Kremlin. We visited Lenin's mausoleum as well as took a guided tour of the major sites around the Kremlin (cathedrals, GUM). The tour, of course, was in Russian.
That evening we went to the Moscow Circus. It was significantly more impressive than I remember the American circus being. And the cost (less than $ 8) was a lot more attractive than the American circus.
Sunday morning we took a trip to the WWII Memorial/Museum. This also encloded a tour conducted in Russian.
Overall, Moscow was an incredible city with many interesting sites. Even the metro stations are beautifully ornate. Though it is a huge, sprawling and fairly dirty city.
When we got back to Vladimir, we passed a nationalistic anti-immigrant rally in the city center. It seemed fairly well attended (30 people). Oddly, several of my fellow students on the bus identified one of the protesters as a guy that they had met in a bar a few days before.
This is an exception to life in Vladimir. It is the first time that I had seen, any political activity. The more time that I spend in Vladimir, the happier I am that I came here. A number of the people in my ACTR group had listed Moscow or St Pete as their first choice, but were instead given Vladimir. I think that nearly all of them have now conceded that Vladimir was probably the better destination.

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