Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Travel Log: Day Twelve

Moscow, Russia 5/27/2016
On the Train!

       First day in Moscow!!!
I've been unbelievably excited for this ever since getting to Russia; I absolutely love cities, and Moscow is a huge and exciting one. We arrived in the center after a two-hour train, and the city is just so enormous it's hard to conceptualize. It was at least a twenty-five minute walk to the hostel after lunch near the train station, and we were still close to the middle (it should be mentioned that the hostel was far nicer than I had any right to expect, very clean and with a little kitchen). After dropping off our stuff, we changed for the concert later and were off.
Cathedral of Christ the S

        The first thing we did was take the metro (I'll talk more about the metro in the next entry) to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. It is an enormous church on the edge of the Moscow River that was torn down when the Soviets came to power. Stalin originally planned for it to become something of a palace for the leaders of the USSR (which, in my opinion, somewhat contradicts communist ideals, but hey dictators will be dictators), but construction was halted by the German invasion in 1941, and was never completed. Instead, they built a swimming pool that was closed in 1991, and the church was rebuilt from 1995-2000. It was incredible, absolutely huge; it's interior was colorfully decorated, as is the custom with Orthodox churches, and, as it was constructed recently, everything was vibrant and in perfect condition. We walked from there to the walls of the Kremlin and the famous Red Square, where we saw Moscow's Eternal Flame and we saw the changing of the guard. It was a quick visit, but it was still surreal and incredible; I'd seen all these things in pictures all the time, but to stand in front of Saint Basil's Cathedral in person was a whole different experience.
Good Ol' Tchaikovsky
Moscow Conservatory

Saint Basil's Cathedral at night
   From there we walked to the Moscow Conservatory!!! I've been pumped for this concert since I first found out about it, and I was not disappointed. The Conservatory is magnificent; the little of it we saw was grand and ornate, and the concert hall was magnificent. A statue of Tchaikovsky, who was a professor there, towers over the entrance to the hall, and there were portraits of him and Rimsky-Korsokov everywhere. The school is 150 years old, it is the best music school in the country, and is in the top 20 best music schools in the world, so it is no surprise that the orchestra was incredible. Even better, they played Stravinsky and Shostakovich, both of which were composers I'd hoped beyond hope they'd play. The concert was fabulous, and I am definitely going to look more into the conservatory and ask Dr. Shay about it when I get back to school (I already found an international summer program on their website).

              After that we ate at what was the Moscow equivalent of a hipster restaurant: it was a fancy hole in the wall with live music that was overpriced but also delicious. It was then a long walk home, back through the enormous Red Square. Moscow is a ton of walking. After such a good first day, I'm so excited for the rest of this weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment