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Sunday, July 3, 2011


Walked in Napoleon's Footsteps

I have been so exhausted the last few days, I could not muster enough strength to write a blog! Yesterday was quite an experience at Borodino, the site of the main battle between the French and Russian forces during the War of 1812, when Napoleon invaded Russia. I woke up at 5:30 AM in order to meet friends at the train station at 7:30, and my host mom out of pure hospitality woke up and made me a huge breakfast (An omalette infused with pasta, toast with eggplant, tomato and cheese, and coffee). As we were buying tickets at the train station near school, a pair of elderly women in front of us were taking a while to receive their tickets. This prompted everyone behind us to start barking at them to hurry up, and I could not contain my laughter because that would never happen in America. People in line would just roll their eyes, look at their watch, and keep their angry thoughts to themselves. It was an hour and a half train ride west of Moscow to a town called Mojaisk, where we planned to take a shuttle to Borodino. To our dismay, the next bus was scheduled to leave at 12:30 and it was only 10:00 when we arrived. We killed time by wandering around the market there, filled with clothes venders, vegetable growers, and caged chickens and ducks waiting to be sold. After the long delay, we boarded the bus to Borodino with mostly elderly folk and Russian folk music playing. This made me feel like discovered a more authentic Russia, outside of Moscow. For some reason, there was a traffic jam in this tiny town, and I melted away in the bus, as the sun burned through the window onto my sweaty body. After an hour or so on the bus, we arrived at the museum in Borodino and I was impressed by the sheer natural beauty of my surroundings. The Russian country side is amazing, and it was great to escape the city. Ultimately we walked 6 or 7 miles (estimation) around the area of Borodino, (fields, meadows, forests, trails, the works) and arrived at the Borodino train station to catch a train back to Moscow. After discovering that the ticket office was closed on Saturdays, we became distraught and were planning to hop on a freight train back to Moscow :P. We eventually got on the 7 o'clock train to Moscow, but first we bought a brick of cheese, some very crispy bread, and beer for dinner at a store where all the refrigerators were turned off (except the one with cheese, thankfully). The ticket guy on the train ripped us off, but we only figured this out once back in Moscow. A group of drunk Russian guys sat in our train car, and threw empty beer bottles out of the windows once the train reached a stop. I def tried to keep my distance from that crowd. All in all, it was a great but tiring day, except for when we could not manage to exit the Belorusskaya train station in Moscow because the machine wouldn't read our tickets. That made me feel like a moron :P. Today, I ate lunch at the McDonald's by my apartment, and I was impressed. Their menu is specialized, and you can get items not available in America. I'm not sure what was on my burger, but it was delicious. It was called in Russian, Биф а ля Рус с беконом. (Класно), or basically glorifying old Russia haha. Pics to come in a separate post.