Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday, May 11

Since May 9 was on a Saturday, today is a holiday. The Spouse had the day off anyhow, although the children had school. Russian children did not, but the French school did.

Like in Paris, many of Moscow's museums are closed on Mondays. So I was having trouble finding something to do.

Here's what we ended up doing.

The Spouse took the children to school and went to his gym. I did the breakfast dishes and went to my gym.

This giant fountain is outside the Kievskaya train station near my gym. I saw a sign there that says it was a gift from the European Union, and since there is the Evropeisky or "European" Mall next to the train station (in fact, you can see it behind the fountain), it all sort of makes sense.

I met up with The Spouse, and we walked through Aleksandrovskiy Sad (Alexander Gardens) towards Red Square.

I had never spent any real time in GUM. There's an elegant grocery store, Gastronom No. 1 . . . what I call a "Museum for Food." We walked around in there for quite some time and had a coffee in its little cafe.

These are some of the things featured in the display windows. I thought the labels on these cans were really lovely.

Government standard stewed pork:

Cuts of pork. But the cans on top have pork tongue.

Rabbit in its own juice.

We walked behind GUM towards the old Rossiya Hotel site. The Rossiya was a behemoth of 1960s Soviet ugliness. Twenty-one storeys, 3,200 rooms, the Rossiya was demolished in 2006. Although it is now surrounded by walls that suggest work is taking place on the new Zaryadye project slated for that site, we could see that not much was happening.

The street there is called Varvarka (Barbara) after St. Barbara, the patron saint of merchants, and is one of the oldest in Moscow. It is lined with very old churches. We went there because I was looking for the Old English Court, and The Spouse thought he'd seen it there. We did see it, but I couldn't get any interesting photos of it. Nor could I figure out how to get close to it. I later realized it is closed on Mondays anyhow, so that was moot.

This is the Cathedral of the Sign built in 1684.

Then we stumbled on this: the Palace of the Romanov Boyars.

Now a museum, this was home to the Romanovs until 1613, when they moved into the Kremlin. It is full of artifacts from the period, depicting what the life of a boyar might be like. I like these green boots.

This is a detail of a kokoshnik or traditional head-dress. This is all I could get in the shot without glare or reflections on the glass. But you can see it well enough to get the idea. (Reminder: my birthday is December 31 . . .)

For some reason, I didn't take any pictures downstairs in the "men's quarters." But they were exquisite. Like a classic men's club: dark and cozy. The wallpaper was leather, and painted in the most beautiful designs. I paid for the right to take photos, but I got it into my head that flash would be a bad idea in this part of the museum. Here's a link to a photo of the dining room.

Upstairs, in contrast, the women's quarters were light and airy. They needed the light to embroider and spin and do the other handicrafts that resulted in clothing for the family.

Here is the tile on their stove.

A decorated box.

Another stove.

The entrance and main courtyard.

Next door is the Church of St. George (the patron saint of Moscow).

The domes are described as "star-spangled."

Then we walked over to Erik Kayser bakery for a little lunch: cream of spinach soup and salads. Mine had shrimp and avocado and tropical fruit. The Spouse had a salad with pork tenderloin, fig chutney, and sun-dried tomatoes on mixed greens. They were both very good . . . this shop is over on Maroseyka ulitsa (Metro: Kitay-Gorod).

Like a tourist, I took pictures of the display cases. I did not eat any of these, but I wanted to.

Picked up the children and walked home through the Sretensky monastery. The exterior walls have these green tiles, all different.

Inside the walls, Dumbledore was gardening.

He had been sitting in the chair watering the plants. I was just a moment too late snapping the picture.

Not what I expected or planned, but a nice day out.


Jenn & Darron said...

Hi! We are American expats who moved from Paris to Moscow about a month ago. I'd not heard of the Alexander Gardends but they are beautiful...where exactly are they? Thanks!

mosaikmum said...

Thanks for sharing your fun day! Love the compiling a list of 'must sees' for our visit to Moscow in July :)
Cheers, Kerrie

Jojo, Julz, Jules said...

I loved staying at the Rossiya. It was perfectly located and we had a perfect St Bail's view. IT looks like they haven't done much since I was there last...Thanks for the update about how you and R know each other!

valentina said...

What a lovely day! Adore those star spangled domes! And the tiles and the head piece and the pastries... So nice that you and Ron got to have a little diversion! xov

Jenn & Darron said...

Thanks for the info! So far I've only been to the Kremlin when we first came for my hubby's interview and that was December! I've got a friend coming in 2 weeks and I know she'd love those gardens...thanks!

kate said...

I wondered what Dumbledore was up to these days. Good to know!

I like those bird tiles. ;>

katbat said...

aak -we did have the same day!!only I had no clue what we were looking at - thanks for filling me in! :-) much more informative than my - "here are some pics of stuff in moscow!"

Tina in CT said...

We were at the Kremlin, Old Arabat, Alexander Gardens (Weren't the tulips gorgeous and the hanging baskets on the black metail gates?) and Gum on Sunday.

Loved your blog on your day. Looks like you had a great time.

Yes, he looks like Dumbledore.

The Flip Side. . .Or Maybe Not said...

Love the different coloured eclairs!

altadenahiker said...

Gosh, and I thought spam was bad.

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