Oh the never-ending glitz, glamour and splendour that this city has to offer! Whether you are catching the underground train, shopping or simply looking to enjoy traditional Russian cuisine you are guaranteed to be transported into another world.
I went to Moscow for a family wedding so my introduction to the city was a fantastical wedding venue and every place I went to afterwards maintained the standard. I felt as though I was walking in the footsteps of the great Tsars, and that the entire city was my palace (such was the grandeur of my surroundings).
Any misconceptions you may have about modern Moscow will be quickly dispelled as soon as you exit the airport (have patience and don’t form an opinion of the city until you’ve left immigration). As Russia’s capital, Moscow has a very cosmopolitan feel and is its citizens sure know how to live the good life.
How I spent my days: After the wedding I toured the city with my mom and my niece and we had 7 days to spare so the trip was relaxed. We spent lots of time at Red Square and the Kremlin. A walk around Red square after a lovely dinner with family was our favourite way of soaking up the atmosphere of the city and warding off unwanted holiday weight.
Even though I’m not a history buff , I thoroughly enjoyed the Armoury chamber and don’t regret spending an entire day inside the Kremlin.
We did all the touristy things and though I generally hate unoriginal souvenirs somehow I enjoyed strolling through the shops in Arbat street (it’s amazing how many variations of matryoshka dolls there are out there).
Look what I found: Since we were visiting family we got an insider’s guide to the city. Our favourite perk of this privileged position was dining at an amazing Italian restaurant on Strastney Bulvar called Tpattophr (Russian alphabet). It’s located 2 minutes from Chekovskaya Metro and is easy to miss if you don’t know what you are looking for (it is absolutely worth trying to find though). If you do end up finding it, try the sea bass.
What I would do differently: Russians are very friendly and willing to help but not many speak English so instead of watching a movie on the plane I could have invested 1 hour learning some basic Russian. When my brother and his wife went on honeymoon we were left to our own devices and suddenly I had to say “Spasiba” to the patient waitress myself!
I imagine the country will be particularly lit during summer in 2018 as they will be hosting the 2018 Soccer World Cup (14 June- 15 July 2018), and maybe that would have been a good time to go but I guess there are somethings you can’t control (like your brother’s wedding date).
What I really enjoyed: We abandoned the convenience of Uber for an afternoon and did a Metro tour . There are companies who offer these tours. I’m glad we did this ourselves (it definitely helped that we had 7 days to spare). The signage is in Russian and our metro map was in English so it took some figuring out but it was fun. We got to spend more time at the stations and take in the beauty.
The stations were designed to be “the people’s palace” and they are beautiful: chandeliers and artwork showcasing the country’s rich history. Fortunately we were warned to do this after 11:00am to avoid rush hour so we could look around and take pictures without getting in the way.
The first attempt didn’t go so well though- in two hours, we only managed to see two stations before we realised we needed to come up for sunlight and food. On the second attempt I did some research ahead of time and chose the stations I wanted to see so I could get all my pics because anyone got grumpy.
I really enjoyed my time in Moscow, perhaps because the place feels a lot like Johannesburg.