Summer 2014: Travel & Observations

In May-June of 2014 the Studio R faculty group posted observations, reflections, and photographs about the group’s travels in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The highlights of our trip are outlined below.

May 19: Departure (Charlotte-Munich-Moscow)

May 20: Arrived late afternoon at Moscow Domodedovo and settled into our apartments near Smolenskaia Square.

May 21: Visited Red Square, including Lenin’s Mausoleum. Toured the Kremlin grounds and museums.

May 22: Lunch and conversation with faculty colleagues at our host institute, the prestigious Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO); Evening theater outing to Zhenovach Studio to see Nikolai Gogol’s “The Gamblers.”

May 23: Visited the Tretyakov gallery, Russia’s premier museum of Russian art. Some participants attended “Papa leaves, Mama lies, Grandma dies” at the Meyerhold Center.

May 24: Toured Moscow’s Museum of Contemporary Russia; later visited the Center of Russian Orthodoxy today, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, followed by a visit to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow’s central museum for European art; Dinner with Davidson alumni based in Moscow and Stazi O. (’15), who was studying abroad in Moscow.

May 25: Overview minibus tour of Moscow with our inimitable tour guide, Felix. Evening theater outing to Fomenko Studio to see Mikhail Bulgakov’s “Theatrical Novel (Notes of a Dead Man).”

May 26: Morning visit to Novodevichii cemetery, famous as the final resting place for famous Russian writers, composers, politicians, and others. Afternoon at the New Tretyakov, home to Russian modern art and a sculpture garden of discarded Soviet-era monuments. Met with former Davidson IIE/Fulbright ATs.

May 27: Early morning Sapsan high-speed train to St. Petersburg. Afternoon exploring the city. Evening outing to the acclaimed Mariinskii Theatre to see the Fountain of Bakhchisarai, a ballet based on Pushkin’s poem of the same name.

May 28: Morning overview minibus tour of the city. Late afternoon and evening at the world-renowned Hermitage Museum.

May 29: Free day exploring and/or researching followed by Shaw Smith’s late-afternoon lecture on Romare Bearden at Smolny College/St. Petersburg State University. Dinner with Adam M. (’15), who was studying abroad in St. Petersburg.

May 30: Outing to the Catherine Palace in the town of Pushkin, outside St. Petersburg. A favorite summer palace of the Romanovs, it is perhaps best known for the disappearance (and later recreation) of the Amber Room during the Nazi destruction of the palace in WWII.

May 31: We explored sites and museums related to the city’s tragic Blockade (the Siege of Leningrad).

June 1: Our last day in Russia, we all chose our own paths to explore. Mark Sutch stayed an extra couple of days, allowing him to explore “Peter the Great’s Versailles,” the summer palace of Peterhoff (sometimes called Petrodvorets).

June 2: In the wee hours of the morning we departed from St. Petersburg’s brand-new Pulkovo International air terminal and headed back to Charlotte via Munich.