Volkonsky Keyser, MoMA, & Gulag Weekend of Oct. 17

Volkonsky Keyser, MoMA, & Gulag Weekend of Oct. 17

The math is becoming more involved and I am required to spend more and more time with it. Perhaps if I had spent more time in the beginning, I wouldn’t have to now. Nah, that never works. Anyway, Dan shows how our exhaustion is setting in.

Dan works hard. And then he drops.

Dan works hard. And then he drops.

On Saturday after my morning run we took off to the center of Moscow to begin our walking tour. We were going to get a snack at Volkonsky Keyser first, then head to the Museum of Modern Art, and finish with the Gulag (and eat a pastry afterward to cheer us up). Into the metro!

The metro station we stopped at to surface and begin our walking tour with Volkonsky Keyser bakery.

The metro station we stopped at to surface and begin our walking tour with Volkonsky Keyser bakery.

Another shot of the station.

Another shot of the station.

We surfaced to the presence of this grand building, some nice soviet architecture.

We surfaced to the presence of this grand building, some nice soviet architecture.

All deliciousness in one building. There were too many choices so we ended up each getting a few items and splitting them. All the pastries were scrumptious! And the olive bread was great. We saved some of that for after the Gulag.

All deliciousness within arm’s reach almost—except, none of us spoke good Russian to order; luckily, the understood pointing. There were too many choices so we ended up each getting a few items and splitting them. All the pastries were scrumptious! And the olive bread was great. We saved some of that for after the Gulag.

John, Mark, and Lenny all ready for sweets.

John, Mark, and Lenny all ready for sweets.

There were a bunch of statues out front of the MoMA, and unfortunately they were probably the best part.

There were a bunch of statues out front of the MoMA, and unfortunately they were probably the best part.

I even got to ride on a ram!

I even got to ride on a ram!

This was the best exhibit. "Say I love You" by Andrey Bartenev. Those little things are speakers along curved metal poles. Ambient music would play and the sound would travel up and down the metal poles. There was a microphone and a computer handling everything. We were supposed to say "I love you" into the microphone. When we said it the computer inputted the quote into the mix and would repeat it every now and then. It was a lot of fun saying random things into the microphone and listening to how they would return, sometimes in different sequences than how they were inputted.

This was the best exhibit. “Say I love You” by Andrey Bartenev. Those little things are speakers along curved metal poles. Ambient music would play and the sound would travel up and down the metal poles. There was a microphone and a computer handling everything. We were supposed to say “I love you” into the microphone. When we said it the computer inputted the quote into the mix and would repeat it every now and then. It was a lot of fun saying random things into the microphone and listening to how they would return, sometimes in different sequences than how they were inputted.

Monkey Bars! Lenny and I got to climb on them. There was a repeating song that quickly became annoying coming through speakers. A video of dudes climbing on the bars accompanied the speakers. So we figured it was alright if we climbed on them as well.

Monkey Bars! Lenny and I got to climb on them. There was a repeating song that quickly became annoying coming through speakers. A video of dudes climbing on the bars accompanied the speakers. So we figured it was alright if we climbed on them as well.

Then we headed down the street to find the Gulag, a museum memorializing those sent to Siberia among other places during Stalin’s reign.

The entrance to the Gulag. We were kinda skeptical of its legitimacy at this point. But we went ahead and entered.

The entrance to the Gulag. We were kinda skeptical of its legitimacy at this point. But we went ahead and entered.

Up the stair case we saw this artwork. Pretty grim.

Up the stair case we saw this artwork. Pretty grim.

Another piece of artwork, illustrating the trains used to transport people away from Moscow.

Another piece of artwork, illustrating the trains used to transport people away from Moscow.

At the camps, punishment was rather gruesome. There were millions of mosquitoes. One of the punishments was to strip a man, lash him to a tree and let the mosquitoes have their way. Soon his body would be completely black. In the morning, if the man lived (unusual), he would be unconscious and taken to his bed to recover.

At the camps, punishment was rather gruesome. There were millions of mosquitoes. One of the punishments was to strip a man, lash him to a tree and let the mosquitoes have their way. Soon his body would be completely black. In the morning, if the man lived (unusual), he would be unconscious and taken to his bed to recover.

Another piece of artwork depicting the horrors of the Gulag camps.

Another piece of artwork depicting the horrors of the Gulag camps.

A map of all the Gulag camps in CCCR (USSR).

A map of all the Gulag camps in CCCR (USSR).

There was an hour long film about the Gulag. So of course we watched it. The documentary featured interviews of survivors and was pretty depressing itself. But sometime during it the narrator mentioned that Stalin’s motivation for building a railway across the northern border of Russia, ie across Siberia, was to defend the northern border. Immediately Lenny busts up laughing and says, “What?! to protect against who…the polar bears?” We basically couldn’t take the rest of the documentary seriously.

Once we finished with the Gulag we headed back to the metro to go home. Along the way we saw a few interesting things.

A Federal building of somesort in between the Gulag and our metro station.

A Federal building of somesort in between the Gulag and our metro station.

A didgeridoo! in the middle of Moscow! I want one of these, and to learn how to play it.

A didgeridoo! in the middle of Moscow! I want one of these, and to learn how to play it.

Once home, we had a mouthwatering poppyseed bun, one of my favorite things about Russia.

2 Responsesto “Volkonsky Keyser, MoMA, & Gulag Weekend of Oct. 17”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Hey, Caleb!
    Jennifer, trying to comment again…we’ll see how this works. Dude! A didgeridoo! As it happens, Wendy is, in fact, heading off to Down Under, as you know. Now,not to blackmail you or anything, but Wendy wanted a Russki deck of cards and I wanted a postcard (as you might recall, I forced some address labels on you). If you ever want to see that didgeridoo alive, you better get off your rat bastard ass and ante up! As always, Love, Jennifer

  2. LebCa says:

    Already ahead of you. I wrote the postcard on Monday, and Friday is the day I visit the post office because my girl works the counter that day (Just a really nice girl who likes the challenge of communicating with someone who doesn’t share a common language). As for the deck of cards: I picked up a set way back in September when we visited St. Petersburg specifically for Wendy. So I definitely was off my rat bastard ass, but right now I’m sitting on it. I’m gonna open the deck to make sure it has Cyrillic on it. Did you want me to send those home? Or bring them when I return? And a didgeridoo from Australia would be badass. I think I need to not only ante up but maybe raise what I’ve got from Russia to arrange for a didgeridoo.

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