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Spotted in Moscow

20 July 2014

Last week’s number 1 absurdity, presented without further comment.

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Sundays in the Park

20 July 2014

With so much in the news, sometimes it’s nice just to get away from it all. Last week’s choice: Tsaritsyno.

2014-07-13 moscow 009Sundays are nice, quiet days here in Moscow. It’s the only day a week that the metro cars aren’t crowded to the point of insanity, and for the day, the pace of life slows down dramatically. Last week, we trekked out to Tsaritsyno, a park that I last visited in 2007. Particularly adding to the wonderfulness has been that our weekend weather has been basically perfect all summer.

Panorama picture from my iPod.

Panorama picture from my iPod.

The arched entry into the central courtyard:

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The park itself is pretty fabulous. Like most parks in the city, it was once a separate little residence located outside the city limits. In this case, it was built as a place for the grandchildren of Catherine the Great to hang out.

In front of a bridge at Tsaritsyno.

In front of a bridge at Tsaritsyno. Because I don’t appear nearly enough here on this blog.

This time, our fascinating discovery was that this park became open to the public not long after Catherine the Great’s death — with a decade (she died in 1796), the park was already public. Kind of amazing.

Requisite sunglasses picture. The building is really amazing!

Requisite sunglasses picture. The building is really amazing!

We whiled away our afternoon watching people playing with their children in the park. Evidently, Sundays are days Russian men take their fatherly duties seriously. Or at least, the more hipster ones who were out and about, playing with the little ones while their wives chatted with each other. It was kind of wonderful, really. Read more…

Always with Us

11 July 2014

Red Square impersonators on July 4.

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You know, in case you want a picture.

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Lazing on a Summer Afternoon

11 July 2014

A walk in Kolomenskoe, a huge park within the Moscow city limits.

Panoramic view over the Moskva. Beautiful.

Panoramic view over the Moskva. Beautiful.

Kolomenskoe, once a village located outside Moscow on the road to Kolomna, was incorporated into the Moscow city limits in the Soviet era. Though within the city limits and decidedly with a view of the endless, sprawling apartment complexes of the city, the park makes Moscow feel far away and remote. You can seemingly walk endlessly along its many trails and take in its many historic sites. The park was originally the site of a 16th century church, which remains a centerpiece of the glorious grounds.

The Ascension church is to the left.

The Ascension church is to the left.

During the Soviet period, there was some effort, however, to move a bunch of historic monuments, foremost churches, to its grounds, so that it could serve as a rather random collection of buildings that gave a view into the history of the country. The church of St. John the Baptist (or more accurately, of his beheading), mentioned in the last post, is just one of these churches. Mostly, however, the point is to walk along its many trails and paths.

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Forced, by necessity, to take a day off from the archives — basically all institutions here are closed on Sunday (WHICH I THINK IS GOOD!) — my friend and fellow historian, Betty, and I decided to laze away a recent Sunday afternoon, now almost two weeks ago, exploring the park, located only a short walk away from her apartment.

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We eventually found ourselves down by the Moscow river, where we stopped and sat in the grass, watching the people go by.


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Along the Moscow River.

One of the highlights of the day — at least, before we stopped for ice cream and beer (obviously the two most important food groups, especially in the summer) — was a stop by the pond, where two old men were playing with their model boats. Read more…

Exactly as Described

30 June 2014

In Kolomenskoe Park.

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At first, I was amused by the name of this church. Although an accurate translation, the name seemed strange for a church. But as we arrived at the church, it turns out, it was exactly as described:

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Yep, complete on the silver platter.

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Welcome to Moscow!

21 June 2014

Evidence of changing times?

"For Rus'!" A rallying cry of Great Russian Chauvinism. Er, nationalism. Er, patriotism.

“For Rus’!” A rallying cry of Great Russian nationalism/patriotism.

I found this graffiti on the walk from the metro to my old apartment, a reminder of how things are changing in Russia.

"Great Rus'"

“Great Rus’”

Graffiti aside, things feel more or less the same around here in Moscow. I guess when your days revolve around reading archival documents, there’s really not much to be said. On the bright side, this has been about the easiest jetlag experience that I’ve ever had. Welcome to Moscow!

Stateside Hellos and Goodbyes

21 June 2014

Final farewells in DC and New York City. Also, baby Julian!

A toast from Maki's father.

A toast from Maki’s father.

Since we decided to get married in Detroit, one solution for dealing with the sheer number of people we wanted to include in our festivities but who simply weren’t going to make it out to Detroit was a small going away party and DC reception that Maki’s parents hosted for us. In particular, the afternoon gave Maki’s parents a nice opportunity to invite all their friends. Maki also got to invite some of his friends who similarly couldn’t make it. Also, many thanks to Maki’s Uncle Steve, who took and shared these pictures.

Two of Maki's former roommates, who also went to high school with him. Also, his cousin, Paul, who also couldn't make it.

Two of Maki’s former roommates, Dylan (in black) and Evan (in plaid), who also went to high school with him. Also, his cousin, Paul (in blue), who also couldn’t make it, Maki’s brother (in the black/white), and Dylan’s fiancé, Lauren. Sadly, we won’t be able to make Dylan and Lauren’s wedding in July.

My parents also drove in from Ohio to hang out with my in-laws.

In-law bonding.

In-law bonding.

Another thing, too, that was sadly excised from the wedding once we moved it to Detroit, was the chance for Maki’s parents choir to perform at the wedding. So also included in our little DC reception/going away party was performances by Maki’s parents’ choir. Read more…


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