Looking back, we usually remember only the most remarkable moments. ESN HSE Moscow does hope that our trips to Kolomna and Sergiyev Posad will be one of those beautiful memories in the minds of our ESNers and international students.
Each adventure started after the phrase:
'The next station is…
The very moment we arrived, everyone – both international and Russian students – got excited, and there was a reason for that! It was the first time ever ESN HSE Moscow had organized a trip to this town.
A nice walk through residential blocks of flats, stunning ancient churches, and historic places uncovered Russian culture a little bit – where else could such different buildings be situated nearby?
The first stop was a pastila shop. Pastila is a 'light, airy puff with a delicate apple flavour', so every sweet tooth got a chance to purchase this unusual candy Kolomna is famous for. After ten minutes, we were already in a handmade soap store. Those places helped us get warm as the temperature outside was far below zero.
Finally, after shopping, we reached a viewpoint, where we observed the beauty of the Moskva river, its shore, and Kolomna itself.
While waiting for the Kolomna Kremlin tour , we played some funny Russian team-building games and got to know each other really well. During the tour, despite being freezed again, we greatly enjoyed hearing mysterious stories about Kolomna's history, including the one about the Polish noble woman Marina Mniszech becoming a crow.
Learning so many unusual and sometimes surprising facts about Kolomna was followed by getting warm, trying traditional Russian food, and enjoying ourselves in a cozy restaurant.
The last and probably the most remarkable part of the whole trip was tasting of ancient Russian drinks: medovukha (a Slavic honey-based alcoholic beverage) with different flavours and sbiten’ (Slavic herbal tea). That definitely made us all forget about any inconveniences we faced, and we left Kolomna with the warmest feeling in our hearts.
… Sergiyev Posad'
Arriving in the city, we were extremely lucky with the weather – sunny, cloudless, and slightly freezing. After fifteen-minute walk, we got overwhelmed by the holiness and the breathtaking beauty of the place – the sapphire blue and golden cupolas of The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius appeared on the horizon. Nobody could resist taking at least several pictures.
Learning a lot about Russian history through ages, watching real people coming to the Lavra for help, and witnessing the magnificence of the churches from the inside made us – students from different parts of the world – realise that we were in Russia’s main spiritual centre, in the very heart of Russian Orthodoxy.
The tour was followed by delicious lunch with a wide range of national dishes, and we could finally have a talk about Russian culture. Afterwards we reached the best viewpoint to observe The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius and got a chance to take some pictures from the distance.
The way back to Moscow after any ESN HSE Moscow trip is another great part of the journey. You get to know lots of amazing people from all over the world, learn about their lives and cultures, exchange little tips and tricks about surviving in Russia, and simply have a good time together.
This is our, ESNers’ point of view, so we have decided to ask several international adventure-lovers to share their feelings about both Kolomna and Sergiyev Posad trips with us and got their frank responses.
Samuel Dab, Belgium, Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 exchange student
“I enjoyed the trips to Kolomna and Sergiyev Posad very much, even though it was quite cold both times. It is always interesting to visit these little cities located around Moscow, it's a good occasion to learn about some history and Russian architecture while enjoying a nice tour around beautiful churches. It is very nice to have ESN organizing these trips for us and it motivates us to get out of Moscow more than I would usually do so I'm grateful for that”
Harshad Pujari, India, Preparatory Year student
“The first ESN event I have taken part in was 'Welcome Pub Crawl' and I had so much fun there that I decided to participate in as many events as possible. When we went to Kolomna, it was special for me as it was the first Russian city I had been to outside of Moscow. My second trip was to Sergiyev Posad and we got to know quite a bit about history of the Russian Orthodox Church. All the events organised by ESN are meticulously planned. They're fun and informative. And you get to know people from all over the world. My next trip with ESN is to Kazan, I'm looking forward to it! I urge all my fellow students to participate in as many ESN events as possible”
Gerardo Alejandro Trevino, Germany, Spring 2017 semester exchange student
“The trips to Kolomna and Sergiyev Posad organized by ESN HSE Moscow were great events, with important highlights of Russian culture and history. The ESN organizing team did their best to provide us with relevant information, not to mention all the communication support, transport, and knowledge of the surroundings; this contributed greatly to my overall satisfaction with both city tours. As a final note, I would like to suggest introducing scheduled breaks (with warm drinks!) after long periods of walking in the cold weather. Apart from that, I would like to sincerely thank ESN for their support’
Visiting new places, meeting new people, and broadening your horizons – aren’t these perfect reasons to join ESN?
Our answer is YES!
Author: Irina Klimova
Editor: Anastasia Sazonova