Friday, 12 October 2018

MOSCOW | RUSSIA


I arrived to Russia very tired as I had slept in Riga airport the night before. When I first arrived, I got a taxi from the airport to the hotel with a taxi driver who couldn't speak any English, it was awkward to say the least but he taught me hello and thank you in Russian and played lots of good songs I had to Shazam up. The hotel offered me champagne on arrival and was the biggest hotel I have ever been to in my life. It was called hotel Vega, styled on a Las Vegas Casino. It was super opulent and by far the biggest hotel I have ever stayed in, especially in a city! Once I arrived at my hotel, I checked in, showered and bought some fries as they were the only vegan option on the room service menu. After I had spruced up, I went for a stroll around the flee market close to the hotel. Wow, just wow, the architecture in Russia is like nothing I have ever seen before. The colours and mix of designs mesmerised me. I spent hours marvelling at the pretty cartoon-esk buildings all around the city.

The second day in Russia was spent walking around the Kremlin and city centre. Unfortunately, the red square was closed that day, but we did get to go back and see the square at night from behind. There was a firework display for the soldiers celebrating there and it was a truly lovely evening. After exploring the centre, we also took a tour of the circle line to see the stations - and wow - they were all so opulent and breathtaking. My favourite was the famous yellow one and the church-style one (apologies for not knowing their names but if you go on the circle line, you'll know!). I like the sound of the Russian language, I also kind of love that I cannot read anything it says in Russian, it makes me feel like a proper tourist. The language fascinated me, to me it, phonologically and orthographically it is a complete mismatch, but of course I cannot read Russian, so I do not know. As a nation, Russian people appear a little stand offish, but I was assured by a local that it is just their way and in fact they are a very friendly bunch once you get to know them. 

On the third day, I spent my time preparing for the main event - the Trans-Siberian railway. I stocked up on the vegan food I could find (I will write a separate blog post on eating vegan in Russia as I feel it could be helpful). I would recommend learning some Russian for food shopping by the way. Also, for general life. Before I visited Russia, I ignorantly presumed that the people there would have a good level of English, partly because I almost thought it would be like Scandinavia. However, I was wrong, the English levels I encountered from the airport to the hotel to the tourist offices were not of a high standard. It isn't a bad thing, why should they speak English I guess? but I did surprise me somewhat and made me wish I had swotted up a little on some Russian. 

Sorry if this post is a bit flat, I am writing it a month or so later from when I got back from the trip. In all honestly although I wish to highlight the best parts of all the places i have visited, I can't help but to feel flat about the whole experience to be frank. I booked with G adventures, well, I put a deposit down and then they took all my money without asking me from my account. I found out from trading standards that this was in fact wrong, however they were refusing a refund and I had a limited time to sort my visas or I would have lost all my money. It's hard to feel enthusiastic about something you were practically trapped into. Anyway, once I had decided to get into the spirit of things and sort my visas out - G Adventures did not help me one bit with my visas - STA travels do by the way. Then they asked me all about my dietary requirements in order for me to get the most of my two thousand pounds plus, and the guide hadn't heard of veganism before I arrived. 

Anyway, lots of good did come from this trip, and I met some nice people and saw some beautiful things, However, if you're a vegan who doesn't drink alcohol, you may want to do this trip by yourself, with someone close or with a group of like-minded individuals... I'll talk about this more in my next post! Despite the bitter taste of G adventures in my mouth, I did really enjoy Moscow and wish I got to spend more time there. I will definitely go back to explore more of it's beautiful streets and architecture. I would love to do a walking tour and visit more traditional places next time too! 

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1 comment

  1. Great place to visit. So colorful! I wonder if its cheaper to have a trip there compare to US?

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