Sunday, November 6, 2011

Visiting the Motherland - Anders from Bethel

Man, Russia!  You could say that I've been excited about this trip for a LONG time, and I was not let down one bit.  All of us study abroad students left a little over a week ago to begin our adventure into Russia.  The idea of taking an overnight train to get there was at first an exciting idea, and while we did have a lot of fun, it was very tiring for us.  And as if that wasn't enough, we hit the ground running to see the sights.

I think I will forever remember the moment when we visited The Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow.  As we walked in front of the wall, it towered over us in all of its red glory.  Rounding the corner to the break in the wall, I could just barely see the top of the famous icon of Saint Basil's Cathedral.  It took my breath away.  As we walked further and further up the sloped entrance to the square, Saint Basil's appeared in all of its multi-colored splendor.  It was at this moment that it really hit me.  Man, I'm in Russia!

After that moment in the Red Square, there were many other great times that we had as we explored Moscow and Saint Petersburg.  The train ride up to Saint Petersburg was great and soon we were walking around the city.  It was very striking how different Saint Petersburg was from Moscow.  Though, Moscow is older by far, Saint Petersburg had a more historical feel to it.  And while everything in Moscow is centered on The Kremlin, Saint Petersburg had the feel of a very old western European city.  The streets are more straight and the beauty of the old architecture is magnified by the river that runs throughout the city.

All in all, it was awesome to visit both of these very historical cities.  While both offered their own uniqueness, everything felt decidedly Russian.  Beautiful cathedrals abounded in both cities, and there is nothing like hearing the beautiful voices of a choir filling up the immense space for a traditional orthodox church service.

I hope I can go back.  Soon.

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