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tdurante42489


18 Blog Entries
1 Trip
6 Photos

Trips:

Moscow 2011

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http://www.blogabond.com/tdurante42489




Photos!

Moscow, Russia


Part 1-
https://picasaweb.google.com/116688804931583127655/Moscow2011?authkey=Gv1sRgCPKO27iPi5n6dg

Victory Day-
https://picasaweb.google.com/116688804931583127655/VictoryDay

Part 2-
https://picasaweb.google.com/116688804931583127655/2

Vladimir and Suzdal'-
https://picasaweb.google.com/116688804931583127655/3VladimirAndSuzdal

If those don't turn into links, just copy starting at https and paste in your address bar.

permalink written by  tdurante42489 on September 12, 2011 from Moscow, Russia
from the travel blog: Moscow 2011
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Last day!

Moscow, Russia


Well, this is it. It's finally here and I can't really believe it. I definitely feel like I've assimilated with Moscow. It's been an amazing almost two months. I've learned so much, and met so many wonderful people here. I will miss you Moscow! But I will certainly be back!

permalink written by  tdurante42489 on June 15, 2011 from Moscow, Russia
from the travel blog: Moscow 2011
tagged LastDay

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So sorry for getting behind

Moscow, Russia


Hello All,
I'm terribly sorry that I haven't had a chance to update my blog since my trip to St. Petersburg. I've been busy with classes and excursions etc. With only a week and a half left I'll try my best to get it up to date, if not then I will have plenty of time upon my return. Also I have decided that my pictures will be my gift to all of you upon my return. The internet is very unreliable and it took me 15 minutes to upload 5 pictures. So I'll wait till I'm back in the good 'ole USA with reliable internet. Talk to you all soon!!


permalink written by  tdurante42489 on June 7, 2011 from Moscow, Russia
from the travel blog: Moscow 2011
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Kremlin

Moscow, Russia


Today we went to the Kremlin to see the Russian collection of historical treasures. It was very interesting. We saw the collection of royal garments worn by many of the Russian Tzars and Tzaritsas, their thrones and crowns. Their beautiful carriages (many of which were gifts from other nations). Their armor and weapons collection, and their extensive collection of gold plates and other beautiful treasures. The security was extremely tight in the Kremlin, which is to be expected. No pictures were allowed inside the museum. After the collection we walked around inside the Kremlin and saw many of the Cathedrals within its walls. I didn't have my camera charger at this point so I don't have any pictures from this day. =[ But it was very beautiful! They also had a huuuuuge canon that was never fired, but when invading mongols came to the city and saw it they retreated. Also there was a collection of almost 1000 cannons that were abandoned by Napoleons army. After this tour Andrew and Victor went with me to try and find the store that has my camera charger. We navigated our way through the Moscow metro system like pro's and when we got off we walked around a bit and then went into this mall and I asked the girl at the information desk if she knew where the store was, she didn't but she pointed us in the right direction. I found the store and after a few minutes of waiting around for them to find it, I finally got my camera charger!!! Ура!!! (Hooray!) On our way back we stopped and looked at a small kitten who was roaming the streets. It didn't really trust us so it ran away.


permalink written by  tdurante42489 on May 19, 2011 from Moscow, Russia
from the travel blog: Moscow 2011
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Vladimir and Suzdal

Suzdal', Russia


Today we woke up and left for Суздаль (Suzdal) and Владимир (Vladimir) two medieval Russian towns. The bus ride there was long and most everyone slept on the way there. I was awake for part of it and I saw some of the beautiful rural scenery that Russia has to offer. Although the scenery was beautiful some of the houses on the way were quite the contrary. The more of Russia I see the more that I am certain of the two words that i feel best describe it, "Beautiful" and "Bizarre". In front of some of these dilapidated houses were beautiful BMW's and other nice cars. I see where their priorities are. Lol. We stopped for a break at a rest stop. It was also an interesting place, there was a small wooden house for children to play and take pictures in (and of course I had to get a picture inside of it). After our break we hit the road again and when we reached Vladimir we stopped at a restaurant for a nice three course lunch. The first course was a type of egg salad thing with chicken and peas and mayonnaise (Russian food has a lot of mayonnaise sometimes). After lunch we continued on to the middle of Vladimir and that began our church/cathedral tour of medieval Rus. The town of Vladimir has been around since the 12th century and there were many cathedrals that have survived either wholly or partially. But most of them were partially restored. While we were there some of us had to use the bathroom. We happened to be at a convent dedicated to the Mother Mary, and they didn't exactly have the most up to date facilities. But I figured I'd get the full experience so I walked down the path to the wooden outhouses. The smell was already upon me. While I was draining the lizard I heard a dog start to bark and I wanted to make sure he was not right outside so I yelled through the door, "That Dog better be on the other side of the fence otherwise I'm not coming out of here!" He was on the other side, and I probably wouldn't have stayed in there even if he was, the smell was horrible.

After that we went to this small little church that was in the middle of a huge meadow. Apparently in the spring when it rains a lot the meadow floods (because it used to be the bottom of a river) and the church is completely surrounded by water, but it never gets high enough to reach the church. After that we went to Suzdal which is an even smaller medieval village in rural Russia. It's a very beautiful place, but it also has its share of ugly houses. The hotel we stayed at was in the middle of a neighborhood and it clearly stood out from it's surroundings. The hotel was very nice, the beds were very comfortable (of course anything is better than the beds we have at MSU), and they had toilet paper in the bathroom (you learn to bring your own wherever you go in Moscow). After we got settled in I went for a walk with Greg, Irina, and Dr. Efimov (the three leaders of our trip) we walked around the small village and saw many beautiful things. They had horses that you could rent, and some horse drawn carriages. There was a white kremlin there as well, and many more churches (3 or 4 if I remember correctly). We stopped before we went across the bridge to the museum of wooden architecture which we would visit the next day. We continued walking until we found the restaurant that the rest of the group was eating at. I stopped and ate there before we all headed back to the hotel for the private party and DJ that Dr. Efimov hired for us back at the hotel. The rest of that night we partied and danced in the hotel. It was nice to bond with the group.

The next morning we went for a tour of Suzdal with our tour guide who was with us around Vladimir. We rode the bus around to a convent (the russians apparently like convents because the orthodox church didn't have divorces, so the only way princes etc. could get married again was if their wife died or went into the church to become a nun, so they needed places to send their wives) which had many beautiful things to see. Most of the churches that we've been into have had beautiful fresco's painted all over the inside walls depicting different scenes from Christianity (the crucifixion, the judgement, etc.) and also iconostasis, the orthodox Christians really like their icons. (Icons are paintings depicting saints, or Jesus). Also the convent had bells, and a guy who was playing the bells. He had strings attached to his legs and his fingers in order to play as many bells as possible. I videoed him, so I'll put it on youtube or something and post a link on here to it. It was very, very cool. After that we went to see the white kremlin (all the medieval Russian towns had a kremlin, it was the center of the city and was used as a defensive post during attacks. 'kremlin' translates as fortress). After that we went to the museum of wooden architecture and saw an old wooden church that was built in the style of the old wooden churches (none of which survived because they had a habit of burning down. Being made of wood and all.) and two peasants houses, one 'well to do' and one not. The well to do peasants had it pretty nice. I learned that if the man of the house didn't like you, or if you came unexpectedly he would put away the salt. So if you like someone, make sure the salt is out for them! After that we got back on the bus and went to the hotel for lunch and then hit the souvenir stands and got on the road. Goodbye Suzdal!

permalink written by  tdurante42489 on May 19, 2011 from Suzdal', Russia
from the travel blog: Moscow 2011
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Ballet etc

Moscow, Russia


Today after classes we all went to see a ballet. It was at Tchaikovsky theater. The name of it was "Игоря Моисеева" "Igorya Moiseeva". It started off as a tango ballet, which was a little weird to be honest. But the second half was a mix of traditional Russian dancing with some contemporary influences. It's kind of hard to get a sense of storyline from ballet, but it was kind of about this guy who gets drunk (waaaaay to drunk) and winds up having a nightmare about goblin type creatures carrying him away and planning to eat his body. They never actually eat him (he wakes up just before they do) but the dancing was phenomenal. The traditional dancing part was really cool, and the goblins were awesome. Everybody in the group really enjoyed it which kind of surprised me because not everyone was that excited to go there. (except for me, the music guy). The rest of this week has really just been classes and relaxing. Today (thursday) I went to a diner by the Ashan called "starlight cafe" it was themed like a classic american diner. It was really good.

permalink written by  tdurante42489 on May 19, 2011 from Moscow, Russia
from the travel blog: Moscow 2011
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Sorry for the delay

Moscow, Russia


Hello all

This weekend was extremely busy and I'm just slowing down from it. I should have some time to catch you all up on the exciting things tomorrow. Talk to you then!!

TD

permalink written by  tdurante42489 on May 16, 2011 from Moscow, Russia
from the travel blog: Moscow 2011
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Wed/Thurs

Moscow, Russia


Wednesday

Hello all. I've still been recovering from the weekend. My calves are working overtime. On Wednesday I just went to class in the morning and then went to a stand in the university selling бутерброды (open face Sandwiches) I got a cheese one, and a salami one, put them together and BAM got a regular Sandwich. Good ole' American ingenuity. After that I went back to my room and took a nap and woke up and went to the school cafeteria and got some soup, potatoes and a small meatloaf thing with tomato sauce on it, and a cup of tea. It was good, not bad for 106 rubles. After dinner Brandon and I got together and finished our short homework assignment. Then I just relaxed in my room and popped out for a bit to study with the rest of our group in the lobby of our dorm and then went to bed.

Thursday

Today I went to class and then Brandon and I went to Subway for lunch, and then he accompanied me into the city to attempt to find the charger for my camera battery. No luck. Nothing. I am really upset that I can't find a charger in Moscow! I really can't believe it. We walked in a large Circle around New Arbat, and then down to ЦУМ (Tsum, another big mall like GUM) I thought that Tsum was a technology store, but I was sadly mistaken. After that I was really pissed that I couldn't find the charger so we hopped on the metro and went back to the university and I took a nap and then woke up and ate some of my food that I got from Ashan.

permalink written by  tdurante42489 on May 12, 2011 from Moscow, Russia
from the travel blog: Moscow 2011
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Victory Day

Moscow, Russia


День Победы!
Today is the day! Victory Day! Today is the 66th anniversary of the allied victory of WWII. I didn't wake up in time to see the parade, but if you google "Victory Day Parade" I'm sure that you'll be able to see some amazing videos. Last year was the first year that the Russians invited other allied soldiers to march with them in the parade. I believe the Americans, and the British came, I'm not sure who else was there with them. So today I woke up and met with a small part of our group to go check out what was going on downtown. We hopped on the metro and got off maybe 10 blocks from Red Square. The streets were full of vendors selling Russian and Soviet flags, they also had flags that had "С Днём Победы" (Day of Victory) and "9 мая" (may 9th) written on them, they also had berets adorned with Soviet pins, and the traditional orange and black striped ribbons were everywhere. I hadn't eaten lunch, so a few of us ran into the nearest Макдоналдс (McDonald's) and had myself a Курица бекон Лук (chicken bacon onion) с картофел фри (french fried potatoes). Let me tell you, that was the best McDonalds I ever had. The fast food here is phenomenal! The fries taste like real potatoes, the meat is real meat, the soda uses real sugar, the ketchup uses real tomatoes. It's so good. After lunch we pushed on towards Red Square. Security was tight. There were security checkpoints with metal detectors at every different section. Once inside we were good though. Red Square was closed, apparently you had to have tickets to be there for the parade, and they were probably cleaning up after the parade. Instead we walked around the street that goes around the square. All along the way we passed by Soviet veterans adorned with metals, some more than others. Some I don't know how they were still standing upright they had so many medals. With each one we all kindly said "Спасибо большой" (big thanks/ thank you very much) People were giving them flowers to take pictures with them, so we bought some flowers and took a few pictures with one of them. We continued on past Theater Square and stopped so the birthday girl could get a balloon (the birthday girl was Molly, she turned 20 today [Happy birthday Molly!!]) She got a tiger balloon and named it Мороженое (ice cream) While she stopped and got her balloon we saw some old women yelling at each other, Natalia (the girl with our group from the Ukraine who speaks fluent Russian) told us that one of them who was selling replica newspapers from 1945 was a Stalinist, and the other wasn't.The one who wasn't was yelling at the other saying "The Russian people were never for Stalin! Your name is ____ (I don't remember, it was Stalin's last name also, "Stalin" was his nickname, meaning 'man of steel')." From there we went further and found a small park that we stopped and took a break in. Before we stopped Natalia and I came across a few old veterans to whom we told Спасибо большой and to which they replied Приаздник (holiday) and we shook hands (that was awesome). No matter what your political opinion might be, these men fought and died just as hard as any other soldiers and deserve every ounce of respect as the rest of the veterans of that great war (great as in big). After our break I found a Russian army surplus store (big smile!) while the girls went to the bathroom and got coffee (clearly we had some time to kill) Greg and I were like kids in a candy store (Greg is one of the grad students, he was in the Air Force for 6 years as a pilot, great guy). After that we walked towards St. Basils Cathedral, and saw some girls on the street who were singing, it was really cool. I imagined myself walking down that very street in 1945 after the war, imagining the streets full of people singing and dancing. We stopped in front of St. Basils cathedral for some pictures and then walked along the Moscow river till we got to the Cathedral of Christ the redeemer. Natalia and I were ahead of the group and we jaywalked across the street (something we had become accustomed to in Moscow, laws are kind of loosely enforced here) We were met on the other side by a Russian Полицейски (policeman) who tried to make us each pay a 200 ruble fine. We both said Извините (I'm sorry) and he said, Не извините, 200 рублей (No "I'm sorry", 200 rubles). Natasha said, Sorry, we're not from here (in russian) to which he replied, we all live on this earth we have to follow the rules. We walked away and he followed us for a short while but then discontinued pursuit. Lol. (200 rubles is like 3-5 bucks). After that Natalia and I were on our own because we told the group not to follow our lead. We walked across the bridge and found our way to this little art park across from the statue of Peter (the great?) who was the founder of the Russian Navy. The park had statues of various sorts, and carvings. There were people selling plants and trees. Since it was victory day the park was free, usually it cost 20 rubles (less than a dollar). We then started our long journey to find a metro station, stopping every five minutes or so to look at our metro map and to say "There has to be one around here somewhere! You can't walk that far in Moscow without there being a metro station!!" Well, apparently you can. Because after an hour or so and walking a few miles we found our way back near Red Square and Библиотека им. Ленина (Library (something) Lenin) Phew, as we walked down towards the trains there was one there and we started to walk faster, and Natalia said, "We can make it, go, go!" and so I did, and just as I was about to get on the train, the doors slammed shut right in my face!! We had a good hearty laugh to relieve the stress of walking miles upon end to find the metro, and then we waited for the next metro. We then go on the train and went back to meet the rest of our group at Планета Суши (Planet Sushi) for Molly's Birthday dinner. That was delicious. After dinner we all went over to the overlook that we had visited a few days before on the bus tour to watch the fireworks with about 250,000 other people. I had never been so close to a fireworks display (салют). The first boom sent a shockwave through the crowd and everyone screamed like a bomb had just gone off. It was intense. The firework show only lasted about 12 minutes (nothing like what we're used to) but the emotions in the air were powerful enough to compensate. Fathers held their children on their shoulders, and there were rounds of "Oooh's and Aaah's and Ураааа!! (hooray). My favorite was the drunk guy behind me in a tired but enthusiastic voice "ураааа!" (draining out as he went). After that I went back to my room and fell asleep. Today was indeed a good victory day!


permalink written by  tdurante42489 on May 10, 2011 from Moscow, Russia
from the travel blog: Moscow 2011
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Classes Start

Moscow, Russia


Classes start
Today was the first day of class. I signed up for RUS 2220 (intermediate level Russian language) Russian phonetics, and Modern Russian Life. The language class is from 9:30-12 with two breaks, phonetics is covered in that class, and Modern Russian Life meets only on mondays, so I had an easy day today. After class Brandon, Greg and I went to Субвай (subway) and again I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the food. Я лублю Россиу!! (I love Russia!) After lunch I came back to the dorm for a few hour nap (I needed it to recoup from yesterday). After my nap Brandon and I went to Ашан (Ashan, the big mall with a supermarket, and lots of stores) for dinner at Бургер Кинг (burger king) I got a Грилл Чикен Реп (transliterated; grilled Chicken wrap) and again, as I'll probably say for the rest of the trip. I was impressed by the food. After dinner we went and did some shopping in the grocery store in the mall. Let me just tell you that as soon as I get back I will kiss the first water fountain I see. Having to buy water and not being able to drink the water that comes out of the fountain is HORRIBLE!!!!! I bought a 9 liter jug of water for like 30 rubles (just over a dollar) =] The walk home was hard, but I got some good excersize. And just as I thought my day was over I had to Battle a mosquito who found his way into my second Story window. До завтра! (Until tomorrow!)


permalink written by  tdurante42489 on May 10, 2011 from Moscow, Russia
from the travel blog: Moscow 2011
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