… hover through the fog and filthy air.
You’d think Shakespeare had been to Moscow in summer!
After leaving the Museum of Cosmonautics – and looking at the custom-made fence around it, another cool detail:
Detail of the fence around the Museum of Cosmonautics. Nice!
That’s of course Sputnik…
We immediately noticed it was hot and smoggy. How hot? Well… you can just make out the temperature reading on the ‘news ticker’ in the middle:
38 degrees at 3PM!
And apart from the heat, we also noticed it was, well, fairly smoggy. How smoggy? Well… this was just a random shot in the distance:
Smog at 2 PM
Don’t worry, it would get a lot worse. We then went on to a Ferris wheel, when my camery battery died at the least opportune moment, i.e. just strapped in to the seat, and with my camera bag safe below in a locker… but on the up side, I would only have taken one or two photos of Moscow and they’d have looked just like the one above. What remains is our memory of Moscow covered in a blanket of smog, a rare sight.
Then we made a walk to the town centre, specifically the main touristic shopping street, Arbat (IIRC), where we bought our first souvenirs and dipped our hot feet into the cool water of the fountain of Princess Tourandot (the heroine from Puccini’s opera Tourandot). By then, she smog was clearly getting worse and the sun turned into an unhealthy colour for 6PM this time of year:
The sun turning orange...
It was around this time that I started to notice that my eyes weren’t entirely happy either, as they were slowly starting to itch. However it was starting to cool down so we just decided to carry on our walk through Moscow, on to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (I just read that it’s the largest Orthodox church in the world. The St Isaac’s in St Petersburg that we visited earlier is no. 2. I guess we’ve been very efficient at visiting the top Orthodox churches :P). Whilst the others enjoyed a toilet break, I went on my usual photo spree :)! It’s a very nice church indeed, and the smog actually helps to bring it out, with all the white…
It didn't look THAT big!
Even so close the effects of the smog are clear
But all good things must end, so when the others were done relaxing I had to let this go and on we went. On a nearby bridge we then truly witnessed the effect of the smog, which was now getting rapidly worse.
That's the Kremlin barely visible
I personally like this next photo, although I can’t really explain why.
The lonely man in the smog (or something)
And so the first lines of this post are explained – although the smog makes for pretty pictures, it’s still smog. It smells of barbecue (and makes your clothes smell of bbq too, after a day outside), it makes your nose fill up with black soot, it makes your eyes itch and I could even imagine (could just as well have been real) a foul taste in my mouth.
High-key was never easier :p
Then up the good side again – it also helps making high-key photos lol :).
And this was the last we saw of the sun before she simply disappeared behind the smoke not to be seen again:
And if I zoom in close on the sun, I can see a sunspot. Daylight astronomy in Moscow, thanks to the smog. That or I need to clean my sensor. I’ll pretend it’s a sunspot, it’s a nicer story.
In the evening we caught the train to Nizhny Novgorod, where more adventures and heat awaited us, and although the smog got worse and worse, even penetrating into the train station and, would you believe it, the metro station! I did not take more photos. Difficult with all your luggage and stuff to do, like finding your platform, and trying to buy vodka (99 rubles – about £2.50 – for a half litre, the juice we mixed it with was almost more expensive).
We did one more posed photo, one normal…
We are enjoying ourselves...
We noticed already in St Petersburg that Russians, and especially the women, pose so funnily unfunny for photos… as if they are Zooper Modelz or something. Totally disinterested expression, shoulders straight, and always the husband or boyfriend telling them to move an inch or a foot to the left, no, to the right… so funny. We naturally started to copy and mock this ridiculous behaviour, and so this is one of a couple of ‘Russian pose’ photos. Enjoy it… because we sure as hell aren’t ;)!
... oh no, actually we are not!
Bye bye Moscow!