Friday, July 25, 2008
The feeling was bittersweet when we left the city to board our ship in the canal. Most of us had not visited Moscow before, but we all felt the city was beautiful, full of museums and monuments, statues of political figures and great writers, and we wondered if we'd ever make it back to this amazing city. In the morning we visited a museum of 18th & 19th c. art and toured the city by bus followed by a fabulous lunch at the Pushkin restaurant. The restaurant seemed very old to us, but is actually only ten years old and has been artificially aged to seem like a relic. The city is teeming with restoration specialists. We then visited a convent where Russian royal daughters spent their lives since no suitable husbands could have been found for them and a cemetery where famous Russians are buried. Then we shopped a bit for amber and fabric before boarding our ship. Once on board, there was an orientation, reception, and gala dinner on the sundeck. This morning we'll hear a lecture about U.S.-Russian relations and later this afternoon,we'll tour the churches of the city, Uglich. I don't understand a word of Russian, or I should say, I only understand one word: nyet. The alphabet is so foreign as to block understanding and create lingusitic isolation. Fortunately, most people speak at least some English. I understand German, too, and our fellow travelers on the ship are a group from Switzerland.