Moscow marked the end of the Trans-Siberian Railway and fare welling my VodkaTrain tour group. After spending three weeks with such great people, it was sad to say goodbye but also exciting to know that I was back on my own and free to explore the Russian capital!
I don’t usually go to a new city or country with too many expectations or notions of what it will be like, but the image of Moscow in my mind was completely different to the one I experienced. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the Bourne movies depicting it to be a city so unlike any other, but Moscow is comparable to any large European cosmopolitan city, bustling with people and boasting some impressive sites.
My week in Moscow was pretty relaxing and I visited the main attractions, including the Kremlin, Red Square, Bolshoi Theatre, St Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin Mausoleum and Ismalovskaya Park. Red Square at night with the Christmas Markets, ice-skating rink and St Basil’s providing a stunning backdrop was a highlight for me along with ice-skating at Gorky Park. Gorky Park is Moscow’s answer to New York’s Central Park and the outdoor ice-skating was unbelievable. It wasn’t a conventional rink, but a track/course with various routes to explore, a little better than Mirrabooka’s Skaters on Ice!
The Five Senses of Moscow
Moscow looks like fur. With snow falling and freezing temperatures, everyone is well and truly rugged up and fur is the best way to stay warm. Jackets and hats are made completely of fur or have a fur trim and the prices vary for the type of animal that was skinned!
Moscow smells like fumes. Moscow doesn’t smell like fumes as a whole, but it was the most distinct smell I experienced during my time here. The old diesel engines used by the trucks pumped out some serious gas.
Moscow feels like Europe. Moscow resembled a European city with its architecture, lack of skyline and metro system.
Moscow tastes like McDonald’s. Moscow is home to the largest and busiest McDonald’s in the world and I ate ‘Maccas’ at least four times during my stay. I’m ashamed of this too, but the food is cheap and hits the spot. Capitalism at its finest!
Moscow sounds like Russian. It sounds obvious, but hardly anyone in Moscow speaks English and despite communicating with sign language that I clearly don’t speak Russian, everyone still continued to speak Russian! Nyet!
Moscow was a great city with a lot of culture and history but the locals weren’t the friendliest people I’ve ever met. This could have just been because of the language barrier or cultural differences, but I would still definitely recommend spending a few days in Moscow.