Busy but rewarding six days in Russia

A punishingly early start after the end of a very long, busy term saw 23 6.2 History students gather at Heathrow for the flight to Moscow. This was the beginning of an exceptionally full but rewarding six days in Russia. The programme of the tour was packed as ever with hardly a moment to rest. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the students to soak up every available historical and cultural aspect of the visit. The students learnt a huge amount in connection with their study of a century of Russian history in the Museum of Revolution and Tretyakov Gallery. A particular highlight as ever was the day in the Kremlin where our group has the privileged access to the Grand Palace where we saw the 15th century Terem Palace and the jaw-droppingly lavish Halls of St Andrew and St George. The visit to the circus, a traditionally Russian entertainment, was met in a more mixed manner but the majority of student saw some truly, excuse the cliché, death-defying acts.

An overnight train journey to St Petersburg and we were embarked on another full programme in Russia’s imperial capital. The highlight of the first day was undoubtedly an evening at the ballet to see Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at the new Mariinsky Theatre. It was particularly rewarding to hear the delight of students who have never been to the ballet before be amazed by the beauty of not only the dancing but the music. The Hermitage is one of the world’s great art galleries and just two hours does not begin to do this justice but a highlights tour gave a clue into its treasures and has inspired many of the students to say they will return. The visit to the folklore show of traditional Russian music and dancing saw three of the group, Will, Celeste and Eddy join in and obviously upstage the performers. The final day saw a return to Communist history with visit to the Smolniy Institute where the first Soviet government was established and to the Alliluyeva apartment, home of the family of Stalin’s second wife, which was frozen in time from the 1930s when it became a monument to the life of Stalin.

By Nick Meigh, Teacher of History

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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