This week we went to Alexander Nevskii Lavra (which is the highest form of monastry in the Russian Orthodox Church). Considering how important the monastry is it isn’t that impessive, the best bit was the “monks bread” which the monks bake and sell. The queue was huge, I think the old babs think it has healing powers.
There are a lot of famous people buried in the walls of the monastry. We saw the graves of Dostoevsy, Chaikovsky and Tolstoy.
After the Lavra we had a slightly less cultural experience. We went in search of a park to sit in to enjoy the sun (yep…still 27 degrees here!). We found one on the map but when we got there it was less of a park and more barren wasteland with some swings. benches and pigeons, complete with old man in pants rubbing sunflower oil into himself. Things seem to work on the principle “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, meaning whats the point making anything pretty when there are no tourists to see it. The further away from the very centre you get the less effort seems to be put into making anything aesthetically pleasing- everything is for function. I think this is a general principle here. Russians homes are not decorated nicely, nothing matches and there are no ornaments or anything purely to make the place attrative or fashionable. If you are having guests you don’t tidy your house to appear house-proud, you make them an amazing meal and be a good hostess so they are impressed with you rather than your home. Makes sense.
We got a bit lost and found this very “Russian” church though: