With so much in the news, sometimes it’s nice just to get away from it all. Last week’s choice: Tsaritsyno.
Sundays 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.
The arched entry into the central courtyard:
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.
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.
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…
A walk in Kolomenskoe, a huge park within the Moscow city limits.
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.
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.
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.
We eventually found ourselves down by the Moscow river, where we stopped and sat in the grass, watching the people go by.
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…
Evidence of changing times?
I found this graffiti on the walk from the metro to my old apartment, a reminder of how things are changing in Russia.
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!
Final farewells in DC and New York City. Also, baby Julian!
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.
My parents also drove in from Ohio to hang out with my in-laws.
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…