I have spent the week exploring Moscow and everyday I’ve fallen a little more in love with this city. When I arrived I felt overwhelmed by the size of everything and the lack of English speaking people/signs. Of course when I am with Matt, who can communicate, things are different but he’s been at work all week and I’ve been an independent woman (a pretty successful one I might add).
Here’s what I can say about Moscow:
• It’s beautiful. The architecture is diverse and the churches are ornate wonders.
• There’s very few tourists. I’ve not heard any other languages spoken other than Russian in my ear shot.
• It’s huge. The roads are sometimes 10 lanes wide. It took me about ten minutes to work out how to cross a road on Monday.
• It’s full of history- and we all know I’m a history nerd.
I’ve been to lots of places this week but the places that have stuck out for me are these…Firstly just the metro in general. It’s all in Russian. It’s always busy. Every station is unique and you could spend a day just hanging out on the metro and looking at the stations. It’s also very cheap as there’s no zoning and regardless of how far you go it costs you the same amount.
GUM department store which turns out to be mega famous but I hadn’t a clue and stumbled upon it thinking I’d entered a fairytale. People seem to go here to pose with blossom, drink insanely sugary drinks and eat pastel coloured ice cream. It’s heavenly.
The Red Square at night. Go in the day but go back at night because it’s better and it all lights up. It’s beautiful and you feel like you’re in a dream.
Russia loves space and so do I. This monument is very tall and very striking. I didn’t go to the museum as it was in Russian and they charge you to take photos (no thx)
There’s lots of art galleries and museums and they’re all great but generally in Russian so you can only get soooo much from them. My favourite was Garage located in Gorky Park cos it’s quirky and I got to observe to cool cats of Moscow hanging out and taking arty photos of art.
Cons to Moscow…
It’s pretty cold even in “Spring” so you need to be ready for that. However it will then randomly become sunny and ridiculously hot and you’ll have way too many layers on. Then it’ll hail dramatically for 20 minutes and the wind will blow the hail into your eyes. So come prepared for all weather.
The food. Now I love food and it is my main motivation in life. There is a very poor selection of food in supermarkets and it is expensive to buy most things. I wanted to make pasta. I wanted a courgette…no can do. I wanted a lemon…no can do. The onion I did get was weird. I feel underwhelmed every time I go to the supermarket BUT I’ve found a strangely addictive cheap kind of cornflakes and I’ll miss them when I’m gone.
I’ll leave you with a tale from yesterday evening. I met Matt at the Ritz hotel after work because he wanted to show me the rooftop where we could take photos of the Red Square. His instructions were, pretend to be Spanish and don’t look weird. We entered and went through some formal looking function (Matt rambling Spanish at me whilst I nodded and looked casual) to the lift. All good so far. “We want floor 11” he said. Then we got off at floor 5 for no reason and this is where it became interesting. We headed up the fire escape, as ya do, got to floor 11 and realised it was a kitchen. Floor 10 was locked. I felt hot and bothered and kind of like we were committing a huge crime. Then we entered on to floor 9 corridor. There were surnames on all the doors. An American security guard appeared out of nowhere. “You can’t be here.” I was confused as to whether we were being English or Spanish at this point so just kinda hid behind Matt wishing I wasn’t wearing 4 layers. Matt muttered “We got lost” and the scary American man told us to come with him. I was quite anxious and overheated because this man was intense and who was staying on this corridor?! We were escorted out past many other security guards and computer monitors with CCTV of the corridor to the lifts. Celebrities? An American security team in Moscow? We pondered. Then we realised that very important people from the USA were visiting Moscow to discuss foreign policy in Syria. Rex Tillerson and Putin had met that morning. Soooo we may have/probably did break in to the US Secretary of State’s corridor. Oops. Luckily there’s a happy ending to this story because we just went up to the sky bar asked if we could “sight see” and took all the photos we wanted without having to buy anything. So it was all unnecessary breaking and entering but hey ho. Oh and then we went for a burger.
I love Moscow. I’ll be back in a week. Next stop, Penang!