7 nights, 503 photos, 132.403 steps, 102 kilometers on foot and some very sore feet later I can honestly say: “Moscow is not what I expected.”
Moscow is very, very clean. One day we sat in a park and every hour a woman came to empty the bins. Every hour! In Berlin you’re lucky if they’re emptied every few days. You hardly find any grafiti on walls or gum on the floor. It is impressive. The subway stations look like museums and art galeries. Usually I try to avoid taking public transport (or only use busses) if I’m on city trips just so I can see as much as possible along the way. But in Moscow it is a MUST to ride the subway. It is not only architecturally impressive, it is also very easy to use and the most frequent and reliable subway system in the world.
One thing that caught my interest and slightly confused me was the lack of smiling. People, especially the women, walk around with a constant so called resting bitch face. They take pictures – but never of smiling faces. You’re in a restaurant, the staff won’t smile and they look almost confused if you look at them. Because apparently “to smile without reason is a sign of stupidity.” I guess there are a lot of Russians out there now thinking I’m totally retarded…
The redsquare with St Basils Cathedral is even more impressive if you’re actually in front of it. From the inside however it is much smaller than you might expect. The reason are the three meter thick walls. 9€ entry fee is worth it.
And the Kremlin? Ok, no idea what I had expected but it was definitely not churches and small parks. You need to go through a security system probably more thorough than at the airport, metal detectors, bag scanning, armed guards. The whole thing. But once you’re inside the Kremlin you are impressed.
I highly recommend the cosmonaut museum and the VDNK exhibition center. I am in love with that monument. So simple yet so impressive.
Different from the Statue of Peter the Great, which is rated among the ugliest in the world. Originally it was of Christopher Columbus and supposed to be a gift to the Spain, USA and Latin America for the 500th year aniversary of the discovery of America. But nobody wanted it so they changed it into a monument for Peter the Great/ Peter Csar I.
Moscow got me thinking how you have this certain picture of someone or something in your head. But unless you actually go to that place, meet the people who live there and get the real picture, those images are only the opinion and eyes of someone else. So go traveling, guys. I dare you!
Now it is time to pack the bags again and prepare for the next station of our trip: Irkutsk, Siberia. Tomorrow we’ finally go on that Transsiberian Railway! This time it will be 4 days in a row. Lucky for me no border controls and thus hopefully no heart attack. But then again there is always a way. Just like that travel insurance document which was actually among all those print-outs and copies, discovered later AFTER I got a reprinted at our hotel…
Travel is fatal to prejudice, biogotry and narrow-mindness. – Mark Twain