Number of Steps: 25180 (7.95 mi)
So yeah… my feet are tired.
Today we had the day off of classes because five of our twelve are in St. Petersburg for the weekend. So those of us who were left behind slept in. Huzzah! Then, a little before 2:00 we ventured out of the dorm toward Alexander Gardens outside the Kremlin. We had designs on going back to Red Square as well, but it was totally blocked off since they’re setting up for the Russia Day festivities on Tuesday, so we stuck to the gardens for a while, wandering through the fountains and seeing the sights (like two dudes charging money to have people take pictures holding giant lizards or snakes, or overly aggressive mascots). From there we wandered into the ГУМ (pronounced “Goom”), which is a giant mall, in search of ice cream. We didn’t find what we were looking for, so we headed over to Охотный Ряд (a large underground mall) where we found some pretty bitchin’, albeit overpriced gelato. After that I led the group over to Стару Арбат (Old Arbat), which is a big long pedestrian street of shops and kitsch and artists and such. This was a place I had been to last year, but I had always taken the metro, so I was very pleased with myself for successfully leading us there by foot. I’m feeling so Muscovite these days. Anyway, we had an afternoon snack at a restaurant that used to be a bus, two of the girls danced with some street performers, our one African-American student was mobbed by two probably drunk Russian men (and yes, the two of these men were effusive enough to be considered a mob) who wanted her to come with them to dance somewhere.
Once we got home I met with JT for a little bit to give him the skinny on the next few days, and then we pretty much settled in for the night (well, I did anyway…but I’m old and walked 8 miles today and I even may have gotten a bit of a sunburn on my shoulders...so settle in I shall!). I skyped with my family for a few minutes, but the connection wasn’t very good, so it mostly consisted of us putting the back of our open hands on our foreheads (our nonsensical signal that we can’t hear the other person) or listening to my niece demand drawings of Mickey Mouse or Tinkerbell. I love skyping with my niece. Tomorrow… I am going to make myself do some actual reading. I have got to get some studying done this month or I am going to be in trouble!