On Thursday morning, I made the trip out to Парк Победы (Park Pobedi)--Moscow's Victory Park. It is massive. I didn't realize how big it was going to be. I should have. I mean, WWII is a really big deal in Moscow. And it's built near the place where Napoleon watched Moscow burn in 1812 . . . and then decided that if the people weren't fangirling over him like he thought they should, and since it was freezing cold, maybe Moscow wasn't worth it to him. He's not the first and hasn't been the last person to realize that you should not fight a land war in Asia. And that Moscow is harder to take than you'd think.
When I walked out of the Metro station, it started snowing. I thought it was very fitting.
[On my way to the monument. It was a good seven-minute walk to get to the monument. And this was at a brisk pace.]
[I am including this selfie mostly because I think it is funny. It's one of those accidental selfies. I didn't smile in time. But that's okay because I think it 1) captures the feeling of me being cold, and 2) probably captures the feeling of what the French felt when they made it to Moscow. "Enhhhh. This is not what we signed up for."]
[That's more like it. Cold but happy to be at Парк Победы.]
[And with the monument behind me. Again, I apologize for the amount of selfies. I was the only one at the Park that early in the morning.]
[Russia crushing the forces of fascism. With a dusting of snow.]
[Views of Moscow.]
[A monument to those who fought on the Ukrainian front. There were four Ukrainian fronts memorialized.]
After Park Pobedi, I met up with Derek again and we took a small hike through a Moscow forest to see a beautiful view of Moscow:
[Apparently this is part of a map which lights up at night. The thick white band is the Moskva River. The Red Star is, you've guessed it. Red Square.]
We were right across the street from Moscow State University (MGU), so we stopped by. It is a very impressive building. And I have a feeling that in my other life (the one where I grow up in Russia, Ukraine, or Belarus), I would have aspired to attend university there and try my luck in Moscow.
[Our friend Lomonsov. The founder of the Russian university.]
[The doors were really cool.]
[Me with the "Geography" panel. The didn't have any history or literature panels . . . MGU specializes in science and math. But I do love my geography.]
Derek set me loose again and I followed my heart and went to the Tretyakov Gallery. I will do an entire blog post about that art museum because I took so many pictures and I absolutely fell in love with that place. So it deserves an entire post where you can admire the pretty pictures and I can talk about them to my heart's content. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures from the inside:
I then went to Kitai-Gorod, which translates into "China City," but it's not a China Town at all . . . it's just a really old part of the city. And there are a lot of old cathedrals scattered along a path which leads from the Old Square to the New Square.
[Really, the bright colors--the greens, reds, blues, and golds--are so striking, especially on grey days. You can tell that this city was made for winter. And made for looking great in winter.]
[Inside a cafe in a monastery.]
I then went to the State Historical Museum and got to see a lot of beautiful, old things. Because that's what you do in museums.
[Just look at that ceiling.]
[A really old throne that you can tell was frequently used.]
And, of course, since Red Square has a magnetic draw, a few of us went there after Institute to enjoy the lights, crowds, and blini. And take glam shots by the yolichka (Christmas tree), obviously. Because what else do you do on Red Square? Especially when there are yolickhi and reindeer involved?
[There is also a picture with me, Derek, and Maxim, but I don't have it on my phone. But Maxim was there, too, and as we all know, trios have more fun. Also. The most important part of this fotka? THE SUPER KONTIKI I AM HOLDING IN MY HAND.]