We have yet another change of plans, which is not surprising considering we’re going the “backpacker way,” with a very loose itinerary. As it turns out, there are no trains from Moscow to Irkutsk for another few days, meaning we wouldn’t be in Irkutsk for another 5 to 6 days. Knowing that time is ticking away, we booked a flight this morning, which ended up costing less than the train ticket!
After this crazed morning of trying to get to the S7 gate at the local Domodovo airport, which was an hour out of town. We had a lunch at this cute little restaurant where I had a delicious cold fruit soup made of mangoes, strawberries and a scoop of ice cream. Sharon and I walked around a great big disappointing park and then separated ways for the rest of the day. First I saw this enormous Peter the Great Monument. I’m usually not awed by monuments. In many ways, I can’t really understand them and with most, it seems the history tends to fade away. However, this was one Russian monument that made me gasp. The work that must have gone into this and then the amount of work to place it must have been tremendous. I then made my way to the chocolate factory. Of course, it seemed as if every road was closed to it and I needed some way of getting through these closed roads.
Again, I am so grateful for my Polish language skills, they came in handy when I was getting directions. However, in the end, it didn’t matter because the streets running to the Red October Chocolate Factory were completely blocked off. I then thought to myself, wait a second, I’m in Russia! One doesn’t have to follow laws in Russia and would anyone really say anything to me when people aren’t as litigious as we are in the US? I looked around these two big trucks that had about a foot of space and thought about going through and then thought about backing out. I then turned toward backing out again and saw that a shady looking man started walking very quickly toward me and then I noticed that he had a partial glove on, with some sort of extra something in the knuckles. This made my decision easy and I jumped between the trucks and underneath a pole and walked into a large mass of construction with hundreds of construction men. I turned around to see if the guy had followed me and noticed he said something and then turned around. Now, I’m not absolutely sure he was coming after me, but I went with my gut and I think that’s quite effective.
So, then I walked into the site and found an older builder and asked him where the “fabrika czekolady” is–meaning chocolate factory. He was so wonderful and walked me all the way through the site and to the “magazyn” or store where I was able to purchase delicious chocolates. It was funny walking through there and sort of surreal, because no one cared that this girl in flip flops was walking through piles of dirt, jumping over poured cement and narrowly avoiding stepping on large nails. The best part was when this crane just barely missed my head and the fellow just told me to get low for a minute. I can’t even imagine walking onto a construction site without boots and a hard hat in the US!
I took a picture with the guy and he loved it and kept looking at the photo! I told him I would buy him some chocolates in thanksgiving and he said that he was too big. Then I said, I’ll buy it for your wife and he pointed to his hands and said that he didn’t have one, but he would love a “niemka”(German) for a wife. That’s the second time today, I was thought of as German. I then showed him my ring and said my appreciation and went into the shop.
Afterward, I went to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which was absolutely gorgeous! I lit a candle for all sorts of prayer requests. What a beautiful day. I’m off to shower and attempt to zip my bag before I depart for Irkutsk and Lake Baikal (the deepest lake in the world).