Sunday, October 3, 2010

Another Weekend in the City

Weather is holding out before it gets too cold so spent some more time wandering the city this weekend. On Saturday I headed to Ismailova, which is a huge outdoor market. There are rows and rows of shopping boothes and stands. Up front there are souvineir type items and in the back there is artwork/antiques/speciality items/etc. I came away with a great deal on a nice chess set and a few other items. As like most places I have spent time, its also a great place for people watching.

On Sunday I headed down to Arbat street, a large pedistrian street with all kinds of stores and art displays. I've held out and tried to not do anything too American (no McDonalds, etc) but on a cool morning I couldn't resist a Starbucks coffee. I was able to sit outside and watch the crowd amble by and stay warm with a little taste of home.

After warming up I started heading south and came across yet another unexpected pathway. In the middle of the busy streets there was a green pathway you could head down. Its in the middle of the street but as you walk down the tree lined path it all disappears and its like walking through the forrest. Leaves are all changing colors and falling so it was a nice little stroll.

Once I got down to the River I found the Statue for Peter the Great. Its at the end of the island and is an interesting addition to the riverway.
The highlight of the weekend though was the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. It was built in the 1800's signifying the turning away of Napoleon and saving of the city. Once built though it was destroyed by Stalin when he planned to build a monument to socialism on that spot and then ran out of money and it became a swimming pool. It was rebuilt again though in the late 90's and stands there today. Couldn't take pictures inside but it was unbelievable. Extreamly ornate and quite a glorious site. Very interesting to compare it to some of the other cathedrals I have been lucky enough to have been in (St. Peters, Notre Dame, St. Paul's, etc), being so much newer there is a luster about it that the others dont have. Yet again something I was not expecting to experiance while in this city.
This week will be a busy one at work with the Soyuz launch and docking so it was good to get to soak in the city since next weekend will be spent at work. Once the weather turns cold I'll get to some of the Museums but until then just walking around the city is a great way to pass the time.

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