Friday, June 04, 2004

No Photos Of Lenin's Body

We toured Moscow today and ended up with a splendid day of blue skies and white clouds. But I had really wanted to take a photo of communist leader Lenin's preserved body and didn't get to do so because Red Square is closed.

The city is prepping the square for Russia's Independence Day (from the Soviet Union in 1992) on June 12. Bummer. I did take a couple of photos of the square from the perimeter, but they won't be as good as they could have been had we been able to walk the square.

Jeff also was disappointed because he did not get to see the New Testament manuscripts in the Moscow museum. They have manuscripts from the 9th and 12 centuries, and he had sent an e-mail a month ago asking about making an appointment to review them. He never received a response, though, and try as he might today, he couldn't persuade the administrators to arrange a viewing. It looks like he may be able to request photo facscimiles of the pages he wants by mail once we return to the states.

The highlight of the day was stepping inside the Kremlin. The interior itself wasn't all that great, save the giant "tsar bell" and "tsar cannon." But just the thought of Americans being able to walk inside the Kremlin still amazes me.

As for the sites on the inside, visitors are not allowed to get near the facilities used by President Putin, and once you've seen one Russian Orthodox church -- there are several inside the Kremlin walls -- you've pretty much seen them all. I was actually more impressed with the church we saw in Nizhny Novgorod than the one we entered inside the Kremlin. The one in Nizhny is an active facility, while Masha thinks the ones inside Moscow's Kremlin are just museums.

After we toured the Kremlin, we took a bus tour of Moscow. We made two stops along the way for photos. One of them was outside the Kremlin and across the river, and the view of the walls and the churches from there was much more impressive than from inside. The other stop was at the highest point within Moscow. They had two ski jumps there, just as they had one in downtown Nizhny, with a makeshift beach below the ramp area. Kinda cool to see ski jumps inside the city limits.

The bus tour was about two hours, and all of us were exhausted by then (about 6 p.m.), so we returned to the hotel. We finished dinner at about 8 p.m., and I headed straight to the Internet cafe to update everyone before I head to bed.

I needed this busy day in Moscow. Took my mind off of how much I want to be home. I'm not thrilled about the hours ahead of us on airplanes, but I am very thrilled about the prospect of seeing all of you and telling you more about Russia.

Thanks for reading the past two weeks and for commenting occasionally. Hearing from all of you made the homesickness more tolerable.


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