You make your way through the grand park entrance gate and can see the park sweeping down and up to the distance. Walk down to the lake area and walk up to the palace. Today was sunny and the sky was blue, the park was busy due to that fact that today is Easter and religious Russians make tall cakes covered in white icing and take their cakes with red wine to the church to be blessed by the priests to celebrate Christs rise to heaven. The cake could be Christs body and the wine his blood?
Outside the palace, there is a church and there were tables all laid out and people had gathered and had put their cakes and red wine on the tables to be blessed. Two or three priests, dressed in long black gowns, with curly beards and very greasy hair walked by the tables splashing people with holy water. Pity I had a shower this morning. Underneath the blue spring sky, the atmosphere was happy and peaceful. For the first time since arriving in Moscow, I felt peaceful and happy to be in this stinky traffic city of millions. I am not religious but I like religion, it brings people together and gives purpose and hope. I think that if a peaceful non fanatical religion were to be followed more by people across the world, this world would be a more harmonious and better place for us all. People no longer have faith or hope and just live for themselves and for today, which is very sad. We are shaped by consumerism and by greed rather than by good and kindness.
We made our way up from the church to Tsaritsyno palace and despite the religious event in the park we walked past many pretty girls who were wearing shorts and tights posing for the camera for their Face Book pages. Face Book or its Russian equivalent, is their religion, their electronic pathway to gossip, love, lust and friendship, probably in that order.
The palace looks as if it has been restored to very high standard and is truly beautiful and is red brick Gothic in style. The palace was built for Catherine the great. There is a museum at the back of the place and to get to it you take lift down under ground. I was very impressed at how clean and modern it all was, as usually when you visit any tourist places in Russia, they are almost pre revolution in modernity and in function, scruffy and badly run. The museum at Tsaritsyno park is not like this at all and is excellent. We arrived at about three in the afternoon so had no time to look at the museum. If you go, spend the day there and get there early mid morning. I expect it gets very busy in the summer and very hot. The best time to go would be at the end of the summer or at the start of the new year. Catherine the great is an interesting story and worth reading about if only to find out about her death. Rumor has it that she either died while having sex with a horse or died while sitting on the toilet. The truth is that she probably died of a stroke but I prefer the other stories as they are far more interesting.
I will defiantly go back and spend the day there, eat lunch on the grass, look at the pretty girls and see the palace and museum.
Traditions: last night at midnight, we looked down from our flat window and could see people walking around the local church all holding red candles, apparently they pass three times around the church. The bells then rang out it was so nice to see and experience. See Russian Easter traditions.
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