[I'm back in Edinburgh, on more familiar territory; the next stop is the US, so my adventure has come to an end, if not - quite - my summer. It's time to finally finish the blog (now two weeks behind), which will, including this, be five more cities' worth.]
With a few recommendations from a certain reliable Muscovite, I set out walking again. Though it hadn’t been one of his recommendations, I wanted to see the Kremlin [Museums], so I started for that area again – only to find out that Thursdays are their day off.
The next destination was the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. This famous structure was rebuilt from scratch in the 90s, meant to be a replica of the nineteenth-century church on the site, which had been (according to Wikipedia) the largest Orthodox church ever built, and was blown up by the Soviets in the 30s in their anti-religious fervor. For most of the duration of Soviet times, the location was occupied by a swimming pool.
It just wasn’t my day, as I wasn’t allowed to go inside due to wearing shorts. (So I returned later.)
Next I walked across a bridge leading from the cathedral plaza to an island in the middle of the Moscow River, called Bolotny Island. However, I would instead call it Hipster Island, as that’s who inhabits it. Old factories (which apparently used to make chocolate and candy) were quickly sold off and now house coffee shops, vintage (*shudder*) clothing boutiques, and loitering young people that aren’t quite, but are close enough to, the American hipster. (I don’t mean to offend anyone; I just thought this was funny to run across in Moscow.)
Continuing across to the other side of the river (because there’s really not much to see on Hipster Island) I quickly came to a “museum park” full of relocated Soviet statues and monuments. This place didn’t seem to receive much attention, either now or when it was (hastily, by the look of it) created.
To wrap up the day: Gorky Park, another Moscow essential.
On my last day before leaving, I finally made it to the Kremlin.
The Kremlin is a walled area that contains, among other things, a number of old churches (those that survived the Soviets, that is, who destroyed an awful lot), Russian/Soviet government buildings, historic imperial buildings, and masses of tourists following around their various leaders who wear and/or carry silly identifying objects like Soviet flags or huge artificial flowers and talk through megaphones.
Something seemed to be going on the day I was there; over half of the Kremlin was closed off by police, and after I exited, there were signs of increased police presence nearby, blocking (for example) sidewalks and crosswalks that I had used the day before.
No one (and no sign) said anything about backpacks, but after I was inside the gates, I did get kicked out of one exhibit (of old coins that had been found during Soviet-era excavations of the area) for wearing mine. (There was even a guard at the entrance who could have told me that. On the other hand, it did say, on a sign near the floor deep within the exhibit: “DEAR VISITORS! rsuaded the Supreme e bag and the bags do not put. thank you!” As you might have surmised, I took a picture of it.)
Inside the buildings photography wasn’t allowed.
After returning to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, properly attired this time, my final (completely self-assigned) errand in Russia was to find Sophia’s old apartment building. I’m sure you all are very interested, so here’s one picture.
On the way back I tried to visit the Novodevichy monastery and cemetery, but alas, they were closed. Maybe next time.