Day 17 – Gorky Park and Opera at the Bolshoi

Moscow, Russia

So my room at the hostel got interesting last night.

First, the man from man from Hong Kong who stayed in my room in Lithuania checked in.  He was the one who was rummaging through a plastic bag at 6 in the morning.  And, if he hadn’t woken everyone up with that, well, he made sure by fiddling with his stupid locker for a good couple of minutes.

Yeah, that guy.

He wasn’t the one that woke me up early this morning though.

Nope, it was a couple who sauntered in around 3:30 in the morning and started making out in the bed across from me.

Now, I can put up with snoring (barely) but I draw the line at people having sex in a dorm room.  There’s a certain etiquette to hostel life and this is a big no-no.

After they woke me up with their whispering I was pissed off.  3:30 in the morning and I’m getting woken up!

I told them they can’t do that in here and they kind of giggled and I turned my head to try to go back to sleep.

After about 5 minutes of more whispering and no one leaving the room I finally, quite loudly, told them what they were doing wasn’t cool and that they seriously needed to get the f*** out.

This worked.

Although, it was a rather awkward conversation at the communal breakfast table a few hours later as I was recounting the tale to a couple of people.

Turns out one of them was the girl.

Um… yeah, well, this is awkward…

Anyway, after that little bit of unpleasantness I just wanted to get the hell out of the hostel.

First things first – food.  I walked down to the red square which is only 15 minutes away and popped in the mall next to it to go to their food court.

Yes, there’s Subway and KFC and Burger King but there’s also a few Russian stores in there too.

I had stopped at one of them a couple of days ago after the walking tour and food was pretty decent (considering it is after all a food court).

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After a sausage and dumplings (what else?) I was ready to explore.

Instead of walking back the way I had come, I decided to hang a right and walk in a completely different area from where I’d been.

I actually stumbled upon the Bolshoi so at least I knew where I was going tonight.

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After the obligatory snapshots of different statues and buildings I decided, what the hell, let’s go to Gorky Park.

Now, my only memory of Gorky Park was something about people getting murdered there in the 80’s.  Honestly, I don’t even know if that’s true or if it was a movie plot (a think there was a movie called Gorky Park).  All that matters is that was the only thing I knew of it.

I had earlier asked the girl in the hostel about the park and she kind of shrugged it off as “it’s just a big park”.

Granted, she’s right – it is just a big park.

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The thing is though, it’s so peaceful and relaxing compared to the craziness of all the traffic and hustle and bustle happening just outside the gates.

I count myself lucky that I was there on a September weekday afternoon as there were only a handful of people in the park at the time.

It was just so serene and just the right thing for today – just relaxing.

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Along with a ton of greenery there are a few different gardens, a couple of ponds (complete with a duck population), a little amusement park for kids and just park benches everywhere.

I walked around the park for a couple of hours before heading back to the hostel.

It was time to get ready for my night out at the Bolshoi!

Now, when I’m travelling my options for “dressy” clothes is very limited.  I mean, I basically just pack tshirts and jeans.

However, before I left, I knew I’d be going out for a couple of nights like this so I made sure I had one good, somewhat dressy, outfit to wear.

So I dressed up and out a went.

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The theatre was only one metro station away and it only took me a mere 15 minutes to get there.

One thing I haven’t mentioned about my time in Moscow is all the security in place.  There are metal detectors in all the metro entrances and even in the malls.

Hell, the mall had security guards standing outside every shop – it’s crazy!

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Anyway, the Bolshoi is no different as I went through a metal detector to get inside.  Once inside I bought my obligatory program guide (250 rubles, $5), checked my coat and took my seat.

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The building itself is from the 1800’s and it’s just majestic.  I sat in my seat (row 12, 6000 rubles, $120) and watched as everyone filed in to the theater.

As I took my own selfie I looked up and noticed everyone else doing the same.

It was actually kind of funny to watch everyone dressed to the nines posing for photos all around me.

Soon after the lights dimmed and all the cameras were put away.

The opera was La Traviata.  The opera itself was entirely in Italian but the theatre had a screen above the stage displaying subtitles.

Of course, those subtitles were in Russian…

So, yeah, I had no idea what was going on but, hey, I took it in stride.

After all, this was my very first opera and I didn’t need to know the plot – I just wanted to sit back and soak in everything from the incredible singing to the amazing set designs.

Hell, they even had a horse and carriage pull up on stage.

Stunning!

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The play itself lasted 2 1/2 hours and by 9:30 we were all exited the theatre into the cold Moscow night.

I had been talking with another girl, Maria, on Tinder the last few days and we had agreed to meet up after the show let out.  Sure enough, not 5 minutes after I exited the theatre, she texted me.

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A few minutes later we found each other and took off into the streets of Moscow.

What a great day!  A peaceful day at Gorky Park, an amazing experience of my first opera at, of all places, the Bolshoi and then hanging out with Maria afterwards.

I’m actually kind of sad to be leaving Moscow tomorrow but the trip must go on and St Petersburg awaits…

USSR Trip 2015, Trip Journal

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