"If at first you don't succeed."
When I walked in the crowd was much larger than the previous days. This was due to the addition of a team of hockey players from Slovakia that were in town to play the Russians. It wasn’t the game that we were going to see on the following night, but it was cool to see them and talk to them.
At 10:30, our intrepid Vlade picked us up outside the hotel and we retraced our route from the day before to see the Novodevichy Convent. This time we were not turned away and were able to go inside the cloistered walls. It was beautiful and peaceful inside, the grounds covered in a blanket of snow. Still, I could not help but think about all of the women who were essentially imprisoned here against their wills, and I wondered if the walls could talk, how many cries of anguish would I hear.
At the cemetery we saw very many interesting grave-markers. One highlight was the marker of Anton Chekov, one of Russia’s - and the world’s - most famous short story writers.
After passing through security, we entered the inside of the museum, which led you through the various battles, artfully recreated through incredible dioramas. These three dimensional depictions could never of course do justice to what it was really like to endure these horrors of human conflict, but after seeing them - and after learning how much the Russians had personally suffered in the war - it became painfully clear why the Russians have a paranoia about being invaded.
I picked up a couple of souvenirs here and then we decided we had packed in enough for today and that it was time to return to the hotel. We had our busiest and longest day yet coming up tomorrow and we wanted to try to recharge – as much as possible – our batteries.
Before long we were enjoying wonderful Georgian cheeses and some delicious Georgian red wine. We also shared in an appetizer whose name escapes me, but as far as I was concerned, it was a cheese pizza.
The main course was delicious roasted vegetables and Beef Khinkali, small sacks made out of dough that contained beef or pork. Before allowing us to sample them though, we were outfitted with bibs to catch any internal juices and were instructed in the proper technique: Grab the Khinkali by the top, raise it above your mouth and bite into it. They were delicious!
We followed this with desert and coffee: Tiramisu for me, and Honey Cake for Dave. Tim held off.