Emily Lisa

Joined May 2018
  • Day17

    FIFA World Cup

    June 15, 2018 in Russia ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    Upon arriving back into Moscow we got brunch while waiting for our hotel room to be ready. Once our hotel room was ready we rested a bit since we were tired from our journey. After resting we spent the rest of the day at FIFA fan fest! The FIFA World Cup is currently happening in Russia so in each city where games will take place there are FIFA fan fest events which are essentially free events in parks where they project the games onto large TVs, have concerts between games, and other various food and activities. Since the US did not qualify for the World Cup I pretty arbitrarily decided to pretend to be a Portugal fan. I was trying to root for an underdog but later found out that Cristiano Ronaldo now plays for Portugal so it looks like I made a decent pick! When we got to the fan fest Coca Cola was doing free face paint so each of us got our face painted with the country we decided to root for. Marc had Russia face paint and Pradhith had Egypt. We then watched the first game which was Egypt vs. Uruguay. Uruguay won at the very end 1-0 which was a little disappointing since there were many Egypt fans at the event. We then decided to walk around for a little bit. We wound up going to a restaurant pop up right outside the fan fest for dinner. The pop up was in an excellent location overlooking the city and the Moscow stadium. The place was pretty hipstery and had various games to play such as foosball which we wound up using while waiting for our food. It was the worst foosball table any of use had used before with a fourth of the table unreachable by the players, and the colors of the players not corresponding to teams. It was still a lot of fun to play, and Pradhith won every game. After dinner we went back into the fan fest to watch the Morocco vs. Iran game. Iran won at the very end of the game 1-0 due to a Moroccan player accidentally hitting the ball into the wrong net with his head. Yikes! We felt really bad for that Moroccan player. We then went to secure good spots for the big match of the night, Spain vs. Portugal. The place was packed for that game. The fan fest got to max capacity which was 25,000. It was really cool seeing people from all over the world at the event sporting their countries colors. We were definitely some of the few Americans there. Even when entering the event the staff was so excited to meet people from the US since there were so few of us. The most hype country at the fan fest was definitely Brazil which was a bit surprising since they didn’t play in any of the games today. They were always jumping around, cheering, and singing. They were a lot of fun, I hope they make it far in the cup (they are definitely predicted to). The game was a lot of fun to watch in such a large crowd. At first we thought that most people in the crowd were fans of Spain since there was tons of yelling for Spanish goals and booing whenever Ronaldo would appear on screen, however whenever Portugal would make a goal it seemed that the same people would also cheer for Portugal. What a fickle bunch! I stayed loyal to Portugal and only cheered for their goals. Whenever the crowd got loud they would show the decibel levels on the screen which was fun and encouraged a lot of cheering. I don’t remember the maximum level we got to but it was definitely loud. The game wound up ending in a 3-3 tie which was a bit disappointing since it’s fun to see a winner. I also like Spain a lot though so I wasn’t too crushed. All in all this was a really fun day and an awesome experience to be in Russia while they were hosting one of the largest sporting event in the world!Read more

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  • Day16

    Day 4 St.Petersburg

    June 14, 2018 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    After checking out of our hotel we took a hydrofoil to Peterhof palace. The outside of the palace was incredible with huge fountains all powered by water. The inside was less impressive than the Hermitage or Catherine’s palace, but was still really nice. After we were done exploring the palace we went to the Vodka museum. Everything in the museum was written in Russian and we decided not to get an audio guide so we weren’t quite sure what everything was but it was still cool to see all the vodka related artifacts. At the museum we did a vodka tasting where we had 3 different vodkas and 3 different traditional Russian snacks. The vodkas were all impressively smooth, way better than Smirnoff! The Russian snacks were a cucumber, pork day with muster on bread, and anchovies in bread. They weren’t my favorite but it was nice to try more traditional Russian snacks. After we were done with the tasting the first World Cup game had begun. The game was Russia vs. Saudi Arabia so everyone in Russia seemed to be very excited about it. We tried to enter the St.Petersburg fan fest to watch the game, but it was full so we went to a nearby bar instead. Russia won 5-0 and everyone went wild! People were chanting Russia in the streets for a long time after the game! After we were done celebrating Russia’s victory we boarded an overnight train back to Moscow. This train was much newer than our last train which was nice.Read more

  • Day15

    Day 3 St.Petersburg

    June 13, 2018 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Today we went to Catherine’s Palace aka the summer palace. Entering the palace felt like walking into Disney world. Everything was exceptionally clean and well groomed, there was live music playing on the streets, and the building itself was a cheery bright blue. The inside of the building was beautiful with the main exhibit being the Amber room. The Amber room is a room in the palace that is completely decorated floor to ceiling in Amber. The original room was looted by the Germans in World War II and it cost $350 million to remake it. The room was cool but personally I think that spending that much money to remake it was not worth it. We also walked around the extensive gardens which were beautiful with many buildings and perfectly trimmed square trees. During our walk we saw a cute family of ducks with many ducklings. We had bread with us from the bakery we ate at in the morning so we fed the baby ducks some bread which was really adorable. In the evening we went to a ballet performance of Romeo and Juliet at the Mariinsky Theater. This was much different than Coppelia which we saw at Moscow. Tragedies seem focus less on beautiful dresses and dance than comedies and more on plot and emotion. The ballet was very moving and well done, however I think I slightly prefer seeing comedies.Read more

  • Day14

    Day 2 St.Petersburg

    June 12, 2018 in Russia ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    Today we went to the second largest art collection in the world, the Hermitage! We got to the building early before it opened so that we could secure spots on the tours. The line was incredibly long even that early in the morning, we had to wait for almost two hours! When we got in we started with a tour of the diamond collection. The diamond collection was a bit disappointing especially after seeing the diamond fund in the Kremlin. There were lots of snuff boxes which got old after a while. After that tour was done Pradhith and I did a general tour which was absolutely amazing. We had an incredible guide named Anastasia who was clearly very passionate about the Hermitage and spoke excellent English. The first hour of the tour covered the main rooms from when the Hermitage was the winter palace. Each of these rooms were insane, covered in expensive materials like gold and velvet. In one of the rooms was a very famous intricate gold peacock clock. The other hour of the tour was dedicated to showing us many of the different art exhibits in the museum. Anastasia had interesting stories for each of the pieces she showed us which made learning about the art exciting! After the tour ended we looked at the famous Madonna and child painting, as well as other weeks by Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Rafael. After we were done visiting the Hermitage we went to the Peter and Paul Fortress. We climbed to the top of the cathedral which had a nice view of the city. While we were in the cathedral there was a guy playing music with the cathedral bells which was cool to see. We then went to the prison in the fortress. Many famous people served time in this prison such as Dostoyevsky, the author of Crime and Punishment. The prison was surprisingly luxurious with large private rooms that were not too grim. Next, we went to St.Issacs cathedral. The inside was covered in intricate paintings. We climbed up to the top of the cathedral which is supposed to be the best view in the city. The trek to the top was tiring but worth it for the amazing view. For dinner we went to a place called zoom cafe. The cafe was adorable! There were stuffed animals that would sit with you at your tables. Each placemat was also a piece of paper and they provided colored pencils for you to color on it. It was very peaceful to color while waiting for my second tasty meal of beef stroganoff.Read more

  • Day13

    Saint Petersburg

    June 11, 2018 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    After dropping off our bags at our hotel we walked to the Fabergé museum. The museum contained many items by the House of Fabergé including 9 Fabergé eggs. It was cool seeing all the eggs not only because they are interesting and intricate gifts but also because there was a Fabergé egg on our man wall this year thanks to Grant wanted a “boujee Humpty Dumpty” on the wall. We then did a self guided walking tour around the city with the highlight definitely being the Church of Spilled Blood. The outsiders the church is really cool looking with colorful domes but the inside is the real treasure. The inside is covered ceiling to floor in colorful mosaics. I found it to be one of the most breathtaking things that I had ever seen. Pictures do not do it justice. For dinner I had the traditional Russian dish of beef stroganoff. I liked it so much and would definitely eat it again! We are visiting St.Petersburg during something called the White Nights which is a time of year where daylight lasts very long hours until around midnight. At midnight we did a night boat tour of St.Petersburg. It was beautiful seeing the lights of the city from the water at night. Each night in St.Petersburg there is a ceremony at 1 am where each of the bridges open up to allow large ships to travel through. Usually it is a huge spectacle with classical music playing as the main bridge raises, however the main bridge malfunctioned during our trip so we missed out on the main parts of the ceremony. However it was still cool seeing the other bridges open up!Read more

  • Day12

    Moscow with Pradhith

    June 10, 2018 in Russia ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

    Today Pradhith joined us in Moscow! We started the day by going to Starbucks for coffee. When I went to pick up my cup I had to ask the person next to me if the cup said Emily because I wasn’t sure since it looked nothing like my name. Russian is quite a tricky language! We then took Pradhith to see St.Basils cathedral and the red square since they are so iconic to Moscow. After that we went to the cathedral of Christ the Savior. Next we did a self guided tour of Moscow’s metros. Many of the metros in Moscow are very ornate since they were made in Soviet times as a way to give the appearance that communism was thriving. My favorite stop was the first stop which had yellow walls and chandeliers. I also liked a stop that had stained glass pictures portraying each of the major career paths in Russia. We posed by the engineering picture. The metro tour was interesting yet tiring after a while so we then went to walk in Gorky Park to wake ourselves up. In the park we went to a modern art museum that was really weird. The exhibits that we saw were all about people visiting the Gorky Park museum. It was all a bit meta. At night we boarded an overnight train to St.Petersburg. Our cabin was very small with 4 beds for us and one rando. The train wound up being surprisingly cosy with the movement of the train lulling me to a peaceful slumber.Read more

  • Day10

    Moscow

    June 8, 2018 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    I got into Moscow tired from not getting the sleep the night before. It was rainy when I arrived, yet I did not want to miss out on seeing the Kremlin before it closed so I powered through. Marc, his mom, and I saw the churches of the Kremlin, St.Basils cathedral, and the red square that night before turning in early to get rest. The next day we finished out the Kremlin exhibits by seeing the diamond fund and armory. Both were incredible exhibits, especially the diamond exhibit which had extremely beautiful jewels. We then walked around the university and saw a nice overlook of the stadium where the Moscow FIFA World Cup games will take place. After that we went to the Pushkin cafe and had a nice dinner. I got to try pelmeni for the first time which are Russian dumplings which were very tasty! We then ended the day by seeing Coppelia at the Bolshoi theater. It was amazingly beautiful. I was unsure that I would like it beforehand since I had never seen a ballet before but the music, costumes, and dancing were incredible and wildly entertaining!Read more

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