Thursday, October 7, 2010

VIP Escort

No, I was not just at Disney World.  This is Kazan', Russia!  Beautiful right?




The next day, we entered the Kremlin to take pictures and see the famous towers of Kazan'.  My favorite tower is the Suyumbike tower: legend has it that it is named after the Tartar Princess that Ivan the Terrible wanted to marry.  She told him if he could built a tower in her honor in one week, she would marry him.  To her dismay, he was able to build it, and rather than marry him, she ended her life by throwing herself of the top.  History can be so dramatic, right?  Ivan must have been in a hurry because the tower very obviously leans to one side.

It as interesting seeing the different forms of architecture in one place.  Kazan' has so many different historical influences.
For example, this mosque is right next to a church.  They look so strange right next too each other.  
Before touring the rest of the city, we decided it was necessary to visit one of the most important sites, one that we have not seen since Beijing: MacDonalds!  MacDonalds in Russia is a posh restaurant, where all the kids hang out, looking as classy as ever.  They play techno (of course) and have free wifi.  The Big Mac tastes as deliciously artificial as it does anywhere else in the world.

After satisfying our craving for some good ol' American food, it was time to explore.  Gulnaz' friend Ilnur who also showed us around the city in Kazan' asked us if we would like a VIP Escort of Kazan' State University (formerly Lenin State University).  This is the university that Lenin studied at until he was kicked out for having revolutionary ideas.  Ilnur attended the university, so he got us access to all the areas that tourists could not enter.  The university was very large and had different areas and even museums.

Did you know that at one point and time, Lenin actually had hair??  We call him Молодой Ленин or Young Lenin.  I suppose all good things must come to an end through right?  

Some of these shots made me miss the University of California, Berkeley.  I am so proud that my university also has random museums in hallways and an amazing history.  Competing with a city that just celebrated its 1,000th anniversary is hard though.  I don't feel bad that not all our our halls look like the one bellow.

We finished off the day by eating delicious Tartar cuisine.  It was slightly expensive, but what fun would life be if you didn't get to live it. 

We just made it to Moscow!  I am scared, and excited to find out what adventures will be had in this famous city.  

Claudia arrives in just two days!  See you soon, my friend!

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