When you first think of Russian architecture, images of the great cathedrals that grace the skylines of cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg and their distinctive onion shaped roofs might come to mind. You may also think of the magnificent public halls, museums, schools and government buildings; the Spasskava Tower in the Moscow Kremlin, the Iberian Gate, Red Square, or the GUM department store.
Traveling always gives you an interesting insight into the culture of another country, but an additional benefit of traveling is the ability to reflect back on your own culture and to see it from a different perspective. The observance of holidays, and more specifically the importance placed on some celebrations by the community and society as a whole, is just one of the interesting comparisons you can make after having traveled abroad.
I recently returned from a two week trip to Russia. Compared to the expedition and some other post expedition travels, two weeks really wasn’t very long… at least it didn’t seem very long as it flew by incredibly fast, but then again, the expedition flew by like a blur as well. Needless to say, I packed in as much as I could into those two weeks: from Russian language lessons and Moscow sightseeing, to countryside barbeques and a gigantic celebration of Russian war veterans. I also packed in as much as I could into my luggage. In Colorado, May is a tricky month weather wise. It can be snowing one day and sunny and hot the next. Case in point, the Saturday before I left for Russia, the mercury hit over 80 degrees and a few days later, Denver received 10 inches of snow. This left me scratching my head as to how to pack. My friend Elena said spring in Russia can be equally unpredictable, and considering how far north I was going to be, I decided I had better be prepared for it all.