The biggest country in the world. 11 timezones on 17 Millionen squaremeters. Welcome to Russia! I started my worldtrip in Moscow and stayed in the city for five days. In my opinion, this is a perfect amount of time to explore it. On my last day even the sun came out! Because actually October is not the best time to travel to Russia but on the other side I can see, nice colours of the autumn and I can experience the „real Russia“ with snow, rain and wind 😉
On my first day my friend Daria, which I got to know in Berlin, picked me up from train station where the express train from the airport (Aeroexpress) arrives and helped me to find my hostel. This ist he first challenge in Moscow – to find your hostel! In any reference I read on Booking.com it said „nice hostel but difficult to find“, so it was the same with mine – „Avenue hostel“. At least there was a sign on the door. But in the end the people were really nice and welcoming. I stayed in a 6-bed-female dorm and had Russian girls and women from different cities like Kazan, Nowosibirsk or Tschechenia. Of course there was no other tourist like me except an Korean girl which I didn’t really meet.
After setting up in the hostel Daria and me went to the city center to meet friends of her in a bar – best way to start the first night out in Russia! After a drink we went to the red square, the central point of the city with Basil Cathedral, Kremlin and the museum of history. On the way back we passed the Bolshoi theatre and Daria told me “bolshoi” means big in Russian – so it just means “Big theatre”.
On the next days I explored the city on my own and saw the beautiful sighs of Moscow:
THINGS TO DO IN MOSCOW
- Red square with Basil Cathedral and popular shopping center „GUM“
- Visit the Kremlin (500 Rubel for normal ticket with Cathedrals, 250 R for Tower of Ivan the Great to have a view over the city) and walk around Alexander Garden
- Lenin mausoleum
- Cathedral of Saviour the Christ
- Bolshoi Theater
- Walk along Arbat street
- Moscow Metro (check out a video on Worldtravellerin Facebook page)
- VDNH Leisure Park with beautiful buildings and space museum (15 min by metro to B HX station)
- University of Moscow (20 min by metro)
- New Moscow City with skyscrapers
- Rooftop view at kids shopping center (station: Lubyana)
On Thursday night I met Darias boyfriend and another friend of her, Zoya, who gave me the contact to a boy in Krasnojarsk where I can stay. On Friday I joined the free tour where I finally met other tourists – and of course Germans! They are going by transsib as well, so we will meet again. The tour guide Iryna showed us around the old city of Kitay-gorod (translated it’s „China town“ but has actually nothing to do with China) and showed us the Cathedral street nearby. On Saturday I went to the Lenin mausoleum to see the real dead body of Lenin but he actually looked quite well. I waited longer in the queue than I actually saw him because it just opens every day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Therefor it is for free. After this Daria and me did a boot tour for 3 hours which was really great! The ship was quite luxurious and the view from the water excellent.
Streets, shops and party
In the evening I met with Anastasia from Couchsurfing to walk along Arbat street. There is a restaurant of Spongebob with crab burgers and a café of Alice in wonderland – definitely worth to check out! Afterwards we walked to Kitay-gorod to meet Daria and another friend to go out. It is interesting to see Moscow by day and by night because of all the lights and the beautiful scenery. On Christmas it should be nice as well with christmas markets and ice-skating areas in the parks and on the red square.
Kitay-gorod is known for bars and clubs and its nightlife as well. First we went to Bourbon Bar, then to Darling Bar – great bar with little dancefloor and afterwards to Rock’n’Roll Club which is like a rock club. It was a great night with the girls!
On my last day I met with other couchsurfers and Russians in the city. Vlad was one of the boys and an awesome tour guide. He showed us some hidden places, a very remarkable monument and the nice district in the south of Moscow river. It was a great afternoon because the sun finally came out and we went to a Russian self-service restaurant Грабли („grably“) which was so delicious. We checked out the best rooftop view over Moscow on the top of a kids shopping center as well. In the evening I met another girl from Couchsurfing, Rita. She lived six years in China which was really interesting for me. We went to „Cafe Dido“ next to „Christy Prudy“ – a funny place with colourful play clay (Knete) everywhere.
In the end I totally enjoyed my time in Moscow. It’s the best to meet locals and have a tour around. The city is really big, that’s why I’m already happy to go by the transibirian train to visit smaller cities. But in comparison to St. Petersburg which I visited last year (blog article here), I prefer Moscow a bit more with all the little streets and parks to walk along. Saying goodbye to the guys in the hostel was even sad because they were all so nice to me, interested in my travels although it was a bit difficult to talk because of the language.
How my experience of the Russian transsibirian trains are, you can read in the next articles. So… stay tuned!