31 July 2008

Only in Russia

My pilgrimage to Patriarch's Ponds was part of the self-guided "Walking Tour of Literary Moscow" suggested by my travel guide. I decided to do at least the part of the tour that I hadn't already seen on other trips to Moscow, and this is what I encountered:

(Please note the date - Thursday, July 31.)

Gogol Memorial Rooms - closed for repairs
Church Gogol attended - closed for lunch
Lermontov House-Museum - closed for unknown reasons
Church Pushkin got married in - SUCCESS!
Gorky House-Museum - closed on the last Thursday of every month
Aleksei Tolstoy Apartment-Museum - SUCCESS #2! I don't really care about Aleksei Tolstoy (note: not the author of War and Peace - that was Lev Tolstoy), but the museum worker was really nice and took me on a private guided tour.
Chekhov House-Museum (really wanted to see it since I've been living in Chekhovland all year) - closed on the last day of every month
Patriarch's Ponds - SUCCESS #3! Hard to screw up visiting a public park, really.
Bulgakov apartment-museum - SUCCESS #4! Very cool little museum, run privately, with lots of artwork, costume sketches, movie clips, etc. related to Bulgakov's works. And a live black cat. And a mailbox where you can put a letter to the Master. And tons of visitors! Not that surprising, I guess, since "Master and Margarita" is the favorite book of about 80% of young Russians I've talked to.

Then I decided to go to the Sakharov Center, a human rights research center/library/museum named for Andrei Sakharov, the Soviet physicist/human rights activist. Alas, it is closed in July, as the workers are all on vacation.

To review, that's six strikes, but I think it's even more impressive that each one was a strike for a different reason. It was still a nice tour, since many of the buildings were interesting to look at from the outside, and going to all of those museums would have been museum overdose anyway. But I've decided to go back to the Chekhov museum and the Sakharov center tomorrow, since (barring any unpleasant surprises) they should both be open.


Lisa said...

Hope you've had better luck today. I'm so jealous of your travels these days... -L

Mike S said...

Very true about Russian museums, esp as you go outside the really huge few. But on the other hand, it seems like the private tour you got is also sort of typical, which is nice.