For my final blog post, I had decided to write about my trip to Moscow in March. Let me state that this trip was supposed to be a learning experience, not a vacation and it held true to that statement. I had known absolutely nothing about Russia previously other than what I had learned from my 20th-Century Russia class and that doesn’t necessarily help me for trips to modern day Russia. I knew how to say nothing in Russian which on my part was poor planning. I had only looked at a map of Moscow on the plane before I landed Vnukovo International Airport.
I traveled with a group of six people where ranged in ages. I had been the youngest of the group at 22 and the oldest was in his mid 40s. We had one single translator and one guide to the large city of Moscow. However, our guide was only kind about our ignorance of Russia for the first day. She had given us all sorts of brochures of popular tourist areas, the shows in the Bolshoi Theatre, the museums and the cathedrals. Of course, all in English (thank the Lord). Only a couple of the people that were a part of the group had at least understood some Russian and knew some common phrases, we stuck to those people like glue when we weren’t attached to the hips of the translator and guide.
Day 1: After settling down at the St. Regis Hotel in Moscow, we had to get over our jet lag and get adjusted to the extremely different time zones which mean sleeping for very long hours; this was easy for me because as a college student I had plenty of sleep to catch up on.
Day 2-6: We. Went. Everywhere. Some of us were military and history fans so we went to several different museums; the Kremlin Armoury, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the Museum of Cosmonautics were just some of the few that I found to be the most fascinating. They wouldn’t let me take a picture with Lenin and whenever I tried I got the harshest glares from what I had assumed were the Russians living in the area. We had seen most of the monuments (those at the Fallen Monument Park and Poklonnaya Hill. We had seen a show at the Bolshoi Theatre entitled La Fille Mal Gardee.
Day 7-8: The departure. Oh lord… these days. This was horrible. We had gotten the red eye flight in terms of arriving to the United States. We left Russia ridiculously early in the morning, had gotten held up in a connecting flight to Germany, then again in the United Kingdom, and then flew to the United States arriving at Richmond International Airport where I then took a flight to Roanoke. I had decided to miss as little class as possible which in hindsight was a horrible idea. I arrived back at Blacksburg 30 minutes before my 20th-Century Russia class (irony) where I promptly fell asleep in class at least three times.
Forgetting the arrival and departure days. RUSSIA WAS AMAZING! The people were kind of mean because they knew we were Americans and had no problems showing their distaste for any of the groups fashion sense. I, for one, am not going to walk around in business attire and stilettos all day. No thank you. Paying for toilets and holding on dearly to any purse that I had was an interesting experience to say the least. But I would always go back to Russia but next time, I’m headed for St. Petersburg.