Well, we are here. Actually, we’ve been in country for four days now. The weather has been … well … Russia in winter. Translation: it is freeeking cold! 😀 The flights over were uneventful and the trans-Atlantic flight in Iberia Airlines was particularly nice.
We spent the first few days of the tour in Sergiev Posad, a small but historically important town about two hours outside of Moscow. We stayed at the Abramcevo Hotel which, despite a slight resemblance to the hotel in “The Shining“, was a very nice place. While in Sergiev Posad, we toured a rustic Russian home, took a traditional sleigh ride and toured the nearby monastery and fortress. All of this touring took place during the two coldest days on record in the town so far … 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily, we were all well prepared for the cold.
Yesterday, we packed up and headed into Moscow. So far, we have toured Red Square, the Kremlin and St. Basil Basilica. I have to say, the tour of Red Square was very surreal. As a high school student before the fall of the Soviet Union, I remember news of long breadlines, people regularly freezing to death in Russian winters, religious oppression and general despair in Moscow. Now, it is clear that capitalism has taken a firm foothold, churches of all sorts are flourishing and prosperity, if not already present, seems right around the corner. How times change! Kelly and I both feel most fortunate to be here.