Fast Moscow

Moscow Travel Blog

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Panorama

Moscow! What wonderful city! What horrible city!

Is the double spirit of Moscow, the one you love. Or you hate!

It was just for case that I went there. My uncle moved to Russia a couple of years before because of his job and he invited me several times. “Devi assolutamente venire”, “You have to come, absolutely”!

Never thought before to visit Moscow, or better, wasn’t in my “gold travels list”.

St. Basil at night
But, one day, I collapsed under uncle’s pressure and I booked first flight I found.

As usual, at list in most occasions, I left with my friend Augusto “Tacho”.

When we landed in Шереметьево (Sheremetyevo) Airport, was a sunny day of May and we found my uncle’s driver waiting for us. Oh yes, because in Moscow you can have your personal driver 24h a day for a very cheap price, around $500 for month that is not so much if you think that in Moscow is almost impossible to drive if you don’t want to become crazy. Furious traffic!!!

From the airport to the center, my uncle was living pretty close to the center, it takes around one hour for 30 Km. The ride is incredible! You pass through countryside, industrial areas (very old and very new factories), suburbs (very old and very new buildings), small roads, huge roads, Sadovoye Kol’tso is a seven lanes road for each direction and always full. Impressive!

And impressive is also when you arrive in the heart of the city! Is not easy to find right words.

Bolshoj Theater
I feel… a sense of respect! Yes, is this, deep sense of respect. Everything seems so…. official, exactly as you expect, but much better. You can smell the past and feel that you’re always observed, maybe it was my prejudice, but that’s what I felt.

We spent the evening and the dinner to my uncle place, trying to plan what was better to visit in just three days!

In the night, when became dark (in spring become dark very late, around midnight) uncle drove us around the city showing the main tourist places, just like appetizer. It was a fast sightseeing, but simply wonderful. I understood that I would love that city.

Bolshoj, St. Basil, the Kremlin, the Church of Cornelius the saviour, Lubjanka and the avenues lit by thousands of colors.

All this dressed with the usual contradiction. Old and new!

Before living we decided to stay in Hotel instead of my uncle home, just to feel a little more free.

Izmailovsky market
We booked at Novotel Moscow Centre (see the review).

In the first full day we were early in the Izmailovsky market. An incredible place full of wooden stands selling millions of different stuff. Souvenirs, carpets, icons, amber, jewelry, clothes, objects and uniforms of the old Red Army, everything you could think about Russia. All around a strong, but delightful, smell of food and spices.

An enjoyable place where, if you’re smart, you can have a bargain shopping. And I did! I bought, among other stuff, an old orthodox icon for $40 instead of $140 (a good price anyway) and you know why? The seller was totally drunk (10 in the morning) and he didn’t read the correct price. I realized only to the hotel when I saw the price tagged behind. Otherwise…….

When I came back in Italy I asked to Russian Institute in Rome to verify if the icon was original! Good business, absolutely original!

The Market took almost all the day, so we decided to come back to the hotel just to take a shower because for that night my uncle, as surprise, booked for us a table to Pushkin Restaurant, one of the best in Moscow, a wonderful old place (late 1900).

We were a little worried because we knew it was very expensive, but it was nice because we tried the delicious Russian cuisine and drink for “only” $100 for person. Great place!

After dinner we had a tour on the hills around Moskow and we enjoyed a spectacular view of the city from above.

The night ended drinking vodka at the Royal Viking Bar, a floating bar, reconstruction of an old viking ship, on the Moskowa River.

Third day was dedicated to classical tour.

Just outside the hotel it was enough to raise the hand and…. et voilà,

somebody stops to drive us where we like. Yes, because in Moskow works like that.

Krasnaja ploščad' Red Square
If you want you can avoid to buy a car. If you need to go somewhere just raise your hand and if you find somebody driving in the same direction with few money you can jump up and go. Is common. Who don’t have the car arrives anyway, who has earns a little extra money.  Ingenious! “Red Square please!”, five dollars!

When you think about Red Square (Krasnaja ploščad' , that in origin meant “beautiful square”) sure you think is big. Ok, is bigger!!!! Just when you pass the entrance gate you feel like a valley is opening at your eyes. Huge and wonderful! In the same place you can find many of the most important monuments of the city.

St. Basil Cathedral , one of the most beautiful monuments I ever seen in my life, inside and outside. A salad of colors that makes you happy just reminding.

On the right side of the square you find Lenin Mausoleum (Mavzolej Lenina) where you can see the embalmed body of Lenin.

St. Basil
Great architectural work!

On the left side there are the old state warehouse GUM, once a store for people became a luxury shopping center in 1990 after the collapse of the Soviet.

Very close to red Square there is the mythical Kremlin, headquarter of russian government institutions. A city in the city. Just when you enter you can feel to be in a special place. The heart of Russia. The place where historic decisions were taken. Discreet security protect the political buildings.

Beyond the corridors of power there are a number of beautiful churches. In Cathedrals Square you can admire the Cathedral of the Archangel, the Blagoveščenskij  Basilica, Uspenskij Basilica and the Ivan Velikij tower.

Granovitij Palace

All around the Kremlin area, surrounded by high walls, there are beautiful gardens where you can rest a little during the visit, always controlled by somebody, even if you don’t see…..

The day is going over! We’re pretty tired! But we can’t miss to see the Old Arbat, an old long commercial street full of shops and restaurants (avoid to eat there, most are traps for tourists).

During our walking happens what often happens in Moscow; when police understand that you are a tourist, and is easy to understand, they try to provoke you. How? They ask for your documents and, speaking in russian, they let you understand that there is some problem with your entry visa. Of course you can’t understand more than that and so you go in panic. They ask you, in “russianenglish”, to follow them to police station. Double panic!!! Would be a solution, they just want to squeeze some money from you. We call it corruption.

But we had be warned about it, so, right there, we pretend to call our embassy to ask for a translator. You know what happens? They gave us back, very quickly, our passports and made us a sign to go.

Puskin Museum
Italy-Russia 1-0!!!! Yessss!!!

So be careful when you meet police, they always try, in different ways, to extort money.  First of all no panic! If your visa were not regular you were still waiting to the airport. Don’t think?

Not yet satisfied we want to visit also the Puškin Museum, rich of works of Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Chagall, Van Gogh and some interesting russian artist.

Now we are very very tired!!! But….is the last night in Moscow, should we go to rest? NO! Few minutes of relax in hotel, a shower and then out again.

A deserved dinner in a restaurant in a nice commercial street, can’t remember the name, sorry,  lit like a casino and alive late and then we decide to try the experience of a russian disco.

City night
What a nice place we found, don’t ask me the name, impossible to remind just after one minute. Was a very lovable place, good music, nice people, great atmosphere of fun without exaggeration. Funny really funny, we were right to go! But is late, deep late, and is time to go.

Tomorrow the flight is in the morning, so is better to go to pack...and sleep.

 

Moskow! A city of contradictions. A city that wants to leave the past but still keeps it locked in the trunk of his old cars. Few rich people against a lot of poor. Unacceptable, horrible old grey buildings and avenues that seems Las Vegas!

Unforgettable Moskow!

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Panorama
Panorama
St. Basil at night
St. Basil at night
Bolshoj Theater
Bolshoj Theater
Izmailovsky market
Izmailovsky market
Krasnaja ploščad
Red Square
Krasnaja ploščad' Red Square
St. Basil
St. Basil
Granovitij Palace
Granovitij Palace
Puskin Museum
Puskin Museum
City night
City night
Back home
Back home
Red Square
Red Square
Red Square - Detail
Red Square - Detail
Red Square - The gate
Red Square - The gate
Lenin Mausoluem
Lenin Mausoluem
Red Square
Red Square
Kremlin
Kremlin
Novotel - the room
Novotel - the room
Izmailovsky market - Singer babuska
Izmailovsky market - Singer babuska
Izmailovsky market - with babuskas
Izmailovsky market - with babuskas
Hard Rock Cafè Moscow
Hard Rock Cafè Moscow
Old Arbat
Old Arbat
Rusky police
Rusky police
Red Square - The gate
Red Square - The gate
St. Basil
St. Basil
Lenin, Marx, Stalin
Lenin, Marx, Stalin
Red Square - Facade
Red Square - Facade
Marx
Marx
GUM
GUM
St. Basil
St. Basil
St. Basil - inside
St. Basil - inside
St. Basil - inside
St. Basil - inside
Kremlin - the gate
Kremlin - the gate
Kremlin - Security
Kremlin - Security
Russian women in Kremlin
Russian women in Kremlin
The Cathedral of the Annunciation
The Cathedral of the Annunciation
The Cathedral of the Annunciation
The Cathedral of the Annunciation
The Cathedral of the Annunciation
The Cathedral of the Annunciation
The Cathedral of the Annunciation
The Cathedral of the Annunciation
Woman crying on the wall
Woman crying on the wall
Raise your and and go!
Raise your and and go!
Policeman
Policeman
Red Square
Red Square
Ferrari and Lamborghini in Moscow
Ferrari and Lamborghini in Moscow
Aeroflot - Going home
Aeroflot - Going home
Moscow Hotels & Accommodations review
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You already know, when you choose a Novotel, that you can’t expect nothing of special. Is a business chain and, so, if you’re searching for some a… read entire review
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photo by: eefab