Must Go To Moscow
Moscow Travel Blog› entry 37 of 94 › view all entries
Here I am in Moscow; in the land of the Tsars, communism, famous personalities like Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and some very friendly people. Okay, I exaggerate a little – Russia is not known for it’s friendliness and I have found this aspect of Russia culture fascinating.
In order to get to the Moscow, I had to catch the 23.51 train departure on Friday night from Deurne and this meant that I got into Schiphol at 2.56 Saturday morning. This was very early especially as my flight to Moscow (via Vienna) didn’t depart until 10.30. So what does one do when you have hours to kill at an airport …. two words – airport lounge. The joy of just sitting and relaxing in an area where you could leave your bags while you went to get free and endless food and drinks made the early morning arrival acceptable (I wouldn’t want to say it was worthwhile as sleeping in a bed is more preferable to a chair, no matter how leathery and recliney it is).
My Austrian Airlines flight to Vienna was delayed and as we arrived late, there was a call to “all those passengers traveling onto Moscow please contact the Ground Staff”. Since this affected me, I made my way to the Ground Staff and was whisked away in an awaiting minivan to the Vienna passport control and security and found out that I was the only one connecting through to Moscow so it was my own private transfer and behind the scenes tour of the airport.
The whole security and passport control took a total of seven minutes, where I was driven to the waiting plane and proceeded to board as they were waiting for me. All throughout this process I was being assured that my bags would make the connection and would be waiting for me in Moscow (you can see where I’m going with this can’t you?)
Upon arrival in Moscow, I went through customs without any problems, and I even found the conveyor belt that my flight was using for baggage.
In situations you always go and find help, and this situation was no different, except the process of how to do this was different – after all I was in Mother Russia.
The ‘Information’ counter was right next to the ‘Lost Luggage’ room (yes room – clearly this was a common occurrence).
After being served at ‘Information’, I was directed to the ‘Lost Luggage’ room, where once again they couldn’t find my file, so I was redirected to ‘Information’. This game of Saskia Tennis went on for two hours where eventually realising that I was not leaving, an older woman helped me with the paperwork and set up a file for me.
I traveled on the Airport Train to the Metro (300 rubles or €7.90) and then managed my way on the Metro to my hotel, which was quite impressive feat really as everything was written in Cyrillic.
The evening was spent washing my well-worn and only set of clothes before collapsing under the sheets ready for a new day; a new day, which would mean that my bag would arrive from Vienna and be transferred to the hotel at no charge provided the luggage gods were now appeased with my penance of four hours of fun filled forms at the airport.
Days prior to my arrival there had been reports of the smoke covering the city and I was prepared with all precautions, including facemasks given to me my by mama as she had read they had completely sold out in Moscow. Armed with asthma inhaler and facemask, I was off on my next adventure. Turns out the smoke had evaporated and the view of St Basils, the Kremlin and Red Square were clear and it has stayed this way for my entire visit.
I have done a lot since arriving here on Saturday;
- St Basil’s (impressive inside and well worth the entrance fee but make sure you take your student id and you can get in for 50 rubles (€1.30) compared with the full price of 200 rubles (€5.25))
- The Kremlin with all it’s beautiful treasures and churches that include the tombs of Tsars gone by and even Ivan the Terrible.
- Lenin’s Tomb (free except you need to pay for bag storage as there is no cameras or phones allowed)
- Stalin’s Tomb (on the way to see Lenin)
- Yelstin grave (hmmmm, I’m starting to see a pattern developing here….)
- My own tour of the Metro Stations which I made up using information from the web (Mukseet this is the only time I will accept Wikipedia)
- Gorky Park
- Park Pobedy (the Metro station which has the longest escalator in Europe – 126 metres long and takes three minutes to get to the surface)
- Great Patriotic War Museum (100 rubles (€2.60) for adult or 70 rubles (€1.80) for us students.
The Great Patriotic War Museum was interesting, but after 2.5 hours of walking around, I was shattered.
So this evening I head out of the capital of Moscow, for the former capital of St Petersburg (or Petrograd as it had been known as well) using the Metro and then the train. Hopefully the people on the Metro will be accommodating to me with my backpack. I have been trying to capture smiles of people on the street, and after being here for four days; I can still count them on one hand. But, I know I can break them. Eventually people will need to realise that if someone smiles at you, you can smile back without anything bad happening.
Russia has gone through numerous reforms over the years, from absolute monarchy, to communism to this form of democracy and I see myself as a pioneer of a new reform – the education of the smile reform.
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