My last day in Moscow I went to the Kremlin. I wasn't able to go when I had planned (on Thursday), because apparently it's closed on Thursdays.
[Walking up to the Kremlin gates.]
[Scaffolding and Japanese tourists.]
[Hey look, Mom! I'm in the Kremlin.]
[And now a nice photo for the fridge.]
[This is Uspenski Cobor. It is where the tsars of Russia were coronated.]
[Doors to Uspenski Cobor.]
[A giant bell.]
The Kremlin was really cool. Not only did I get to see an important part of Russian history, but I made a friend there, too. Her name is Irina and she is from Kazan, Russia. I noticed that she had been taking selfies of herself, so I offered to take some pictures for her. Later, we ran into each other outside of Uspenski Cobor and she asked me if I would like to tour the Kremlin together. She was super nice and it was wonderful to make a new friend. I really do love Eastern Europeans, especially Russians and Ukrainians.
After the Kremlin, Irina and I walked down Old Arbat Street. There are more street vendors there in the summer, but there were still a few people there selling their wares.
[I also got to see a Pushkin statue. Pushkin is basically the Russian Shakespeare. So kinda a big deal.]
I really enjoyed my trip to Moscow (if these pictures and what feels like five thousand pictures I posted on Facebook and Instagram are any indication). Of course I thought the touristy things were neat. But what I loved the most was just being there. Seeing the layout of the city, riding the Metro, hearing Russian on the streets and up and down the escalators, the smells, the atmosphere of the city. It is a vibrant place to visit.
I think just another reason Russia appeals to me is how old it is and how foreign it is. I know that there are old things in England, too. And I've seen weapons, pottery, and gold used by the Anglo-Saxons. But there is a kind of richness to Russia and to Eastern Europe that I just don't feel in England. Perhaps it is all in my head. But I think there is an "otherness" to Russia and to Eastern Europe--perhaps it's the fact that they use a completely different alphabet. Perhaps it's because I could feel the music in cathedrals reverberate in my bones and sense the legacy of blood, power, reform, and struggle in the walls and the paths around me. But there is something special about this place. Something that you breathe but cannot completely understand. And I want to make it a part of me.
Good-bye for now, Moscow. до встречи! I will see you. Hopefully sooner rather than later.