Sunday, January 11, 2015

Where Tolstoi Lived

We took advantage of a short break in single-digit temperatures to visit the Tolstoi House Museum here in Moscow, not far from home. Tolstoi, whom you likely know from such novels as Anna Karenina and War and Peace, lived here with his family in the late 1800s (1882-1901, according to the sign above) and worshipped at a church just down the road.

The house was well preserved, and the descriptions of each room were surprisingly detailed (in Russian and English). The babushka-docents were also very friendly and quite eager to tell us more about what we were looking at in each room.  All in all, a very cool place to visit if you're in Moscow, especially if you're a fan of the writer - which you really ought to be.

The entrance to the main house.
The kids were semi-interested and relatively well-behaved. A good thing, because our friend B tagged along. He was remarkably patient with our kids, especially Ainsley, who told him every single knock-knock joke she could think of. And trust me when I say she has quite an extensive repertoire of knock-knock jokes. (Example: "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Don't you know my name is Knock knock?"). It probably helps that he has kids of his own, all of whom are past the knock knock phase.
Kyra n me.

Tolstoi apparently called this drawing room "dull." Presumably he was referring to the conversation and not the decor?

The girls, of course, loved it. Just their style.

Ainsley suggested I wear a dress like this to next year's Marine Ball.

Tolstoi's office. He was nearsighted, so he sawed down the legs on his chair, thereby bringing his face closer to his manuscripts. There weren't any ghosts in this room, not exactly, but it was so strange to see the place where he churned out some of his masterpieces. I loved this room.

He learned to ride a bike in his 60s. There's his bicycle.

Apparently he also made shoes as a hobby. See them there under his coats?

And, according to the signage, he lifted weights with these very dumbbells. He may have been a better writer than I, but I'll bet I could have beaten him in a deadlift competition.


...and Ainsley, goofing off.

Ainsley n me. Note the dog house behind us.
After the tour, our friend B offered to take a family photo in front of the house. Ainsley refused to cooperate, but B kept snapping photos while we tried to line up properly. The resulting family photos might be some of our funniest yet. Here's the series:

The end result.
We stopped by Tolstoi's church on the way back home. Called the Church of St. Nicholas of the Weavers, it was built some time in the 17th century and is still in operation today. We stood in line to buy some candles to light in front of the icons inside.

They had a nativity scene set up in the yard in front of the church. Pretty from a distance - but up close you could see that the figures were all Barbie dolls dressed up in nativity-apropriate clothing and given beards. Kind of freaky to see Barbie's eye makeup on a bearded wise man.

And that's it. By now we were frozen solid, so we headed home for cocoa, popcorn and a movie. All in all, a good day.


Hardley Davidson said... [Reply]
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Please. Write your own stuff.