The #SoyuzAdevnture continued in Moscow! I’ve had an absolutely amazing last few days and it only continues to be an incredible trip. I’ve been learning tons of history, seeing lots of beautiful architecture, and enjoying time with Luca’s friends and family. Our latest adventure included a new variety of activities – read on to learn more!
Our day started out with an early trip to the Izmailovsky Market – a large outdoor shopping market that sits next to a newer kremlin (kremlin refers to a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities.) The market was filled with souvenirs such as matryoshka dolls, aprons, crafts and many other interesting things to buy. The market had more than souvenirs – since is was a flea market as well and had many antique type items. The market had few other people shopping, as it was early in the morning on a workday. At first we were some of the only people there, but as we were leaving more and more people started showing up.
After the market, we visited the Kolomenskoye Open-Air Museum and Nature Preserve. We walked around and viewed the reconstructed mansion, as well as a couple of peasant homes. The museum was also home to a beautiful and unusual church. This church lacked the typical golden domes of Russian churches, and instead followed a Gothic style, rising upwards in tiers (our guide described it as a rocket waiting to launch :p). After walking around outside, we went into one of the peasant homes and watched a lively interactive theater presentation about Russian folklore! The actors were three young Russian women. Two were dressed in 18th century dresses and one was dressed as a cat. In a short skit they described Russian traditions and superstitions regarding welcome mats: placing the mat one way would stop evil spirits from entering, and having a clean and lively home would invite good spirits (the cat)! We all stood up and danced, learned how to bow, played a jumping game, and sang some old Russian songs in order to welcome the good spirits into the home. It was a blast! Afterwards we sat down to a small snack of tea and jam pancakes (crepes).
Following the museum, we went to The Old Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard, which is one of the oldest circuses in Russia, established in 1880. According to our tour guide, the circus is an important part of Russian culture and relaxation. Parents generally take their children to the circus two or three times a year! The circus included tumbling and acrobatic acts (no nets were used which was scary to watch), as well as comedy and animal tricks! My favorite part was the elephant show, which was quite extensive. They even had a baby elephant performing. I’m usually not a big fan of animal circuses, but the animals here looked to be well treated and happy. There was an amazing part where acrobats flipped off of poles – they did triple back flips!!! As a gymnast, I understand how difficult it is to do that and really enjoyed watching them. The circus also had a live orchestra!!!
This day was filled will Russian culture and local excitement. I’m so thankful to have a fun and knowledgeable tour guide with us each and every day to share the historical and modern details of these sites. I’m having an absolute blast on the trip so far and I know that I will only continue to learn, grow, and enjoy this experience of a lifetime! Thanks for following along – stay tuned for more details as the #SoyuzAdventure continues!