Dangerously Daydreaming

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence

Red Square on a Grey Day

Red Square is quintessential Russia; embodying such rich culture and history without being a museum display. As I have travel on the brain with my upcoming trip to Israel, I’ve been remembering past adventures.

On a soggy day in June, we emerged from the depths of Kitay-gorod Metro to the patter of drizzling rain and grey skies. Stepping into Red Square for the first time was surreal. I had seen photos of the place, movies shot on this ground, but to be there in that moment, it all became reality. This was the face of Russia that I had grown to know. That facade is only a mask of what Russia truly is to me. Russia is in it’s people, in walking the streets during the day, speaking the language, eating the food, being confused for a local. But this facade, this is what the world knows of Russia: the heart blood of the nation, the center of a powerful city.

Lenin’s Mausoleum stands with it’s block-like construction, right angles and smooth surface. And beyond it, the high walls of the Kremlin, almost as though Lenin’s tomb guard the entrance to the “Seat of Grand Dukes”, “Residence of the Tzars”, and now presidents.

Then there are the onion-shaped domes and spires of St. Basil’s Cathedral. This place had captured my imagination for years. As a child I had imagined it as the castle-home of the Nutcracker Prince – all brilliant colors, beautiful shapes, and stately elegance. Sadly, the cathedral was undergoing its scheduled restoration when I was in Moscow so some of it was under wraps.

And then there was Kitay-gorod itself - the historic merchant quarter of Moscow. We wandered through GUM, one of Russia’s main department stores, and I was awe-struck by the opulent decor. Crown mouldings painted over in gold, wall finishing of marble, a ceiling that reminded me of mosaic glass, while pristine windows displayed the wares of some of the best names in fashion: Dooney and Burke handbags, Prada shoes, Louis Vuitton clutches, perfumes that I couldn’t even afford to sample. It was window-shopping in the extreme.

My favorite by far was St. Basil’s Cathedral. It had stolen my heart long ago as a child, and seeing it in-person was a thrill. I still see Red Square in movies every now and then. It makes me smile to know I’ve had the chance to stand on those ruddy bricks and be impacted by a place of such significance for Russia.

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16 comments on “Red Square on a Grey Day

  1. Ad-libb3d
    October 24, 2012

    I bet you can just FEEL the history, just standing there…

    • Audrey
      October 29, 2012

      You really can, it’s awe-inspiring. And the sheer volume of collections in a PLACE with such history on top of it all – it’s saturating!

  2. Danny Breslin
    October 25, 2012

    Never been to Russia, always wanted to go there. Great photos.

    • Audrey
      October 29, 2012

      It’s well-worth seeing. I’d love to make a return trip, there’s only so much you can fit into 9 days. I hope you get the chance to visit!

  3. storiesbywilliams
    October 25, 2012

    Waaaaait a minute… did you go there yourself? Or is this a compilation of lovely photos you happened to find while performing a harmless (and non-jealousy inspiring) internet search?

    • Audrey
      October 26, 2012

      WHAT?! Me travel for real? Never! ;)
      I mean… yes, precisely, how ever did you guess that I deviously pirated these photos from Google?
      I would love to go back and visit again, it was a whirlwind trip and I’d love to see more of the country.

      • storiesbywilliams
        October 26, 2012

        Grrrr! Even my wife hasn’t been to Russia yet, and she’s the well-traveled one! You’re toying with my emotions, woman >:(

  4. ethelthedean
    October 26, 2012

    Amazing snaps! Your writing capture the mystery and majesty of Russia so well :) I was only in St. Petersburg during my time in the motherland. A trip to Moscva is definitely in order.
    xx

    • Audrey
      October 29, 2012

      Petersburg is my favorite of the two, hands down, but it was very cool to see some of the historic sites near Moscva. Nothing quite like all those canals though… We seriously need to meet up and talk Russia! And yes, I hope you get the chance to go again. I’m aching for a return trip. :) Hugs!!

  5. DUH'Merica
    November 29, 2012

    Great post, I found you via Susie’s blog. The domes and spires of the cathedral are memorizing to me. They look almost unreal, cartoon-like, yet beautiful.

    • Audrey
      December 3, 2012

      Thank you so much for stopping by! I think you’re spot on, the spires don’t look real, even in person.
      I’ll have to return the favor and stop by.

  6. patriciasands
    November 29, 2012

    Thanks for the tour! Now for some vodka!

    • Audrey
      December 3, 2012

      Oh, but of course! Thank you for stopping by. :)

  7. Angelia Sims
    November 29, 2012

    Wow! These are absolutely beautiful. I love the foggy cold background too. They seem perfect in that setting. Gorgeous photographs! I was told to tell ya that Susie sent me. :-)

  8. Kitt Crescendo
    February 5, 2013

    The pictures are beautiful! The buildings have some amazing detail work. I’ve heard that Russia is a beautiful area to visit. Thanks for sharing it on my blog! I’m so glad I had the opportunity to discover it through your eyes. Want to hear an odd observation? In the photo with lots of people walking around…maybe it was just me, but it seemed there were a lot of heads looking down. I’m not used to that. (Big on straight ahead and eye contact)

    • Audrey
      February 6, 2013

      Thank you! I’d love to go back to Russia. It was such a whirlwind trip that I feel like I missed a lot. St. Petersburg still is my favorite, very European and feels like a sister-city to Venice…

      Hmmmm… you know, I noticed that too and I see it a lot when I’m in bigger European cities. I hear that New York City is like that too. It could be a “cold culture” thing. But I’m with you, I’d rather have eye contact with people. :)

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