It’s finally here, the day that for so long I thought would never come, my last few hours in Moscow. From what I hear from friends in the States, every major news outlet has someone on the ground here. Happily, I have not encountered them. What I have encountered the past three days as I explored, to the best of my ability, is people of great kindness, anxiousness to please, and attempts to help me even with the language barrier. Very few speak English, even in restaurants, but between my phrase books and their willingness to work with me and do their best to accommodate, I have not one single problem.
Friday after arriving at the hotel from the hospital, I rested for an hour or so, then set out to explore the Arbat walking district. Too many tacky souvenir shops, but so many wonderful cafes and restaurants. Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks became my home for rest breaks, and I made good use of their WiFi as well.
Musicians and performers line the street, and an overall atmosphere of fun permeates.
Saturday morning I met Snizhana and she gave me a tour of the city, important memorials and buildings. So much, and so impressive. The Bolshoi was incredible, as were so many of the churches all over the city. In particular the simpler churches set back from the streets which have been there for hundreds of years. To me, much more beautiful than the larger more ornate buildings – just a small, simple beauty still adorned with gold onion toped domes. I ventured back out a few hours later, and threw coins from the bridge. Video so you can make your wishes with me will be posted tomorrow.
My Saturday evening dinner was from Zu restaurant, owned by the brother of my fellow HSCT friend Kristy from Australia. Dinner was beyond fabulous, Asian cuisine at it’s finest, delivered to my room! Thai curry, prawn and noodle soup, and Ying Yang white and dark chocolate mousse. The lost pounds are back! I was so tired and having a difficult time walking, so Jay, Kristy’s brother, graciously offered delivery. I was having some pretty bad knee pain from walking correctly for the first time in over two years. My right knee is used to turning inward, so walking upright and straight has strained it to the point of near immobility – it does not flex without hurting. Thank you Jay for the delivery, standing in line waiting for a table up would have been difficult (Zu is VERY popular), and I am grateful for your kindness.
This morning I slept late! It was wonderful. A terrific breakfast and a trip to GUM, a beautiful mall reminiscent of the Musee D’Orsay with a glass ceiling and fountains. A feast for the eyes. Alas, the knee and leg gave out and a quick trip back to Arbat for a wonderful Italian lunch spent under the awning of an outdoor dining area, watching people pass on the street. A wonderful memory of my last afternoon.
It’s late here, almost midnight. I’ll be up in five hours to be ready for my cab to the airport. It’s a long drive, and I’m ready to head home. I’ll be overnight in Houston, and will post tomorrow a summary of feelings, thoughts and where I go from this point forward. In the meantime, enjoy looking through these photos.