Moscow Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Arrived in Moscow on July 11th to glorious sunshine. Walked through the arrival gate to pandamoniam. Eventually managed to find what appeared to be the taxi rank and got Moscow's answer to Michael Schumacher. The half hour journey in to the city centre consisted of a lot of revving at traffic lights, driving on the wrong side of the road, reversing up one way streets and a bit of tour guide action along the way too. Pretty eventful and not for the faint hearted! Pretty relieved to arrive at the hotel in one piece but at least he didn't rip us off - apparantly quite common practice in Moscow!
The 12th was a late start to the day with lunch at Cafe Puskin - I had the best Beef Stroganoff I've ever tasted so worth a visit if you're ever in the city.
Suitably refreshed, Smurf and I thought a walk around would be good to get our bearings...We strolled down a main boulevard to Gorky House, looping round to the Bolshoi theatre before heading back up a main shopping street to the hotel. The walk took all afternoon so we were in need of a few cocktails before heading out to dinner at Seven Fridays. Pretty cool, fun place but not as described in our guide book. It also seemed a reasonably popular choice with the locals, but clearly locals with money because the bill burnt a bit.
Friday the 13th! Red Square day....We took in the sites of St Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's Mausoleum, the GUM shopping mall, which used to be the city's main ration house, and the walls of the Kremlin.
We had dinner that night at an Armenian restaurant.
We went on a walking tour on Saturday morning which was really interesting. Our guide showed us the less obvious sites, such as the hospital where Anton Chekhov trained....Did you know he was a doctor by profession, not a writer? I certainly didn't. He apparantly was also a pretty decent guy - he ran a free clinic for Moscow's poor and he used his writing to supplement his meagre medical pay.
After getting a explanation of different architecture as we trundled through the back streets, our tour ended at the Moscow Music Conservatory.
The afternoon took us to the Kremlin where we spent a short time at the Cartier diamond exhibition (not particularly Russian I know! followed by a full tour of the Armoury Collection. The audio guide is a definite must, if a little long winded, but certainly helps to explain the various artefacts. The exhibition included some of Catherine the Great's dresses. My, she was a big lady!! Definitely wouldn't have wanted to get on the wrong side of her, that's for sure!
We decided to head to Lenin's Mausoleum on our final day (15th).
We went via a fab wildlife photography exhibition in one of the parks on our walk back to the hotel, and then headed to Cafe Puskin (again). Couldn't resist the Beef Strog again but this time we ate with the accompaniment of a beautiful string quartet. After buying some supplies for the train from one of the most fabulous shops I've seen, we went back to the hotel to get our transfer to the station to head off on the Trans Sib.
Overall, I wasn't bowled over by Moscow, but I'd like to go again but in winter. It would be interesting to see the sites in a climate I associate more with the place. The Russians are not the friendliest race you'll come across but you can get them to smile if you try hard enough. Finally, make sure you have plenty to spend! It's a ridiculously expensive city, particularly right in the centre.