Amidst a confusion of colors and shapes, there are retro cafes and miles of soft Christmas lights hung around the corners of department stores, golden domes that glitter under the 4pm rain, cathedrals that stand like mountains, and quiet canals with arching red bridges and our foggy reflections staring right back.
Indian novelist, Anita Desai writes that wherever we go becomes a part of us and I’ve come to think more and more about her words these last few days after returning from Russia.
During our Fall Break, our study abroad group traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg for a nine day journey. This included scavenging through the metro stations, munching on delicious sweet and savory blini (Russian pancakes), dressing up for fancy ballets, getting lost in gargantuan museums, and admiring centuries-old architecture with our large doe eyes.
Our first stop was Moscow after a 17 hour train ride and we headed first to the Red Square. Somewhere squished in the midst of a sea of people, I remembering, looking up and seeing the blurred shape of Saint Basil’s Cathedral coming into focus – the symmetrical domes and bright colors emerging from the late October mist.
From Moscow, it was a four hour bullet train ride to St. Petersburg. After three days of rain, it was refreshing to arrive to sunlight and St. Petersburg’s golden skies that made the cold that much more bearable.
In St. Petersburg, the winter weather couldn’t keep our good moods away. 👌
From Russian fast food to vegetarian cafes and neon-lit diners serving enormous milkshakes stacked high with hamburgers, slices of cake, and donuts, there were many, many delicious meals consumed. Unfortunately, I think I know where all my souvenir money went now ….. 😂
*reminisces about all the food*
Exploring the Hermitage was an adventure on its own. We got lost in the many hallways and went in a couple of circles before finally finding our way out the door.
Some of us got a little distracted in the Yusupov Palace with all the mirrors and potential selfie opportunities. ❤
From bus to train to walking on feet, we had left from Lithuania with heavy backpacks and bulky winter wear. And while our feet may still be sore from the long walking tours, our hearts are full. Five years from now, the details may no longer be clear – the colors, the people, the places may all mesh together into just a single memory but I hope these journals, photographs and continued conversations can remind us of the vibrancy that we found in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Thank you Russia for being our home for these 9 days!