While we were in Irkutsk I made reservations at Galina's home stay in Moscow. It was listed as the cheapest place in Moscow and we were enjoying our homestays in Russia, so it was perfect. We arrived early and Galina was sitting in her kitchen with a cigarette in hand. This position looked natural for Galina. Her cats climbed on and off the furniture and we found some beds in her spare bedroom.
Galina showed us how the locks worked and her husband Sergey stood by her silently.
We checked into our rooms the same time as Asmara, an independent French traveler. Asmara was studying Polish which is fairly similar to Russian. She loved maps and was well prepared for Moscow. Brad and I were in luck.
I attempted to enjoy the city our first day there. But, my fever pushed me back in bed. Two older British men were sharing our room as well. I disregarded them as I walked back and forth from the bathroom to throw-up in only a t-shirt. That night Brad came back at 6:30 a.m. I was feeling resentful that I had been in bed with fever dreams. The following day Asmara and I left Galina's with maps and guide books and headed towards the State Tretyakov Gallery and then the Novodevicky Convent. We walked through a cemetery to get to the convent and the sun was out. It was a beautiful day.
Asmara and I talked about how we would like to have a picnic in a cemetery. We payed a fee to get into the convent which allowed us to enter the various churches and galleries and sit on a bench, enjoying late afternoon sun. Asmara and I talked about religion. Not believing in things and believing in other things. All the religious icons we saw that day were so spectacular. I was glad not everyone was Quaker because then no one would make beautiful iconography like that. We left to get wine for the evening and Asmara told me she "had a really nice day." At that moment it was one of the most lovely things anyone had ever said to me.