To say that this blog post is belated would be an understatement. Travel blogger fail. It’s been a whirlwind returning to the UK but that’s something I’ll write about another day (hopefully within the next 6 months). For now I’m going to focus on my final stop in Russia…. Moscow.
Moscow is a sensational city. It’s busy and beautiful and cultured and captivating. The second I stepped onto the Metro off my short train from Nizhny, I was in total awe. After visiting fairly small, quiet towns, it was a burst of familiarity of something closer to home – of which home, I’m not quite sure. I had already shed a tear of relief as I waited for my train in Nizhny after hearing my first announcement in English but being ushered into my lush hotel room in the city centre brought my past three weeks of emotions to light. It. Felt. Good.
My first afternoon in Moscow was spent rinsing the hotel for every bit of its sauna, room service, mini bar, WiFi and English TV stations. It was a challenge to leave my room for the evening’s entertainment but oh, was it worth it. A few months previous I had booked myself in to see Onegin Ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre. I’ve watched a fair few ballets in my time (my sister is a beautiful ballerina) but I never really called myself a fan. This night, however, I think will be one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The theatre itself is stunning, I felt as though I’d walked straight into an extravagant, royal occasion in my H&M hoodie and Doc Martens. The ballet itself was captivating and beautiful. I can’t imagine I will have many opportunities to say I watched a Russian ballet performed in the Bolshoi theatre. A must-do for anyone planning to visit – I booked a few months in advance and found it was much cheaper going on the Friday (about £70).
It’s been a good two months since I was in Moscow now so my memory isn’t perfect. So rather than fill post after post with everything I did in my four days I’m going to list my favourite few.
I’m hardly making travel blogger history by saying you should visit the Red Square, it’d be quite a feat to go to Moscow and not go there. I visited in the day and at night but the latter was the most interesting. St Basil’s Cathedral looks amazing lit up in the dark and the whole area has an almost Christmassy feel to it, even in May. The square was preparing for a festival when I was there so (of course) most of it was covered in scaffolding but it was interesting to stand and watch the world go by nonetheless.
As you know, I’m a big nerd for museums. So Pushkin Museum was top of my list for sight-seeing. It didn’t disappoint. It’s full of replicas of all of my Greek and Roman favourites from the British Museum and has a really interesting mix of art, history and modern, changing exhibitions. There’s enough signs to get by in English but I’d recommend getting the audio tour if you want to spend some decent time there.
Museum of Cosmonauts
I’ve been a little obsessed followed the journey of Tim Peake over the past 6 months and it has inspired me to learn a little more about that big never ending thing above us. Therefore I was intrigued by the Museum of Cosmonauts. It’s a small museum but is full of interesting stuff that you probably won’t have seen before. I found it fascinating seeing all the photos of astronauts playing guitar and juggling fruit in space, learning about the way everything was packaged and cared for and experimented with. Massive bonus: they have the real dogs that were sent into space (looking particularly perky in their stuffed form) and a cafe where you can sample ‘astronaut food’.
The Kremlin, of course! Now, I’m going to make a big statement here and say that I didn’t actually like it as much as the one in Nizhny Novgorod, but it’s a must-see all the same. Because of the public holiday it was extremely busy so unfortunately I was unable to get tickets to the Armoury. However, I could still walk around the grounds and explore the main structure. It was a beautifully sunny day and I was very happy with my camera taking it all in. The gardens are really worth spending some time in, very peaceful and have lovely views over the river.
One thing I wish I had a bit more time for was exploring the Metro. Every station was different and a work of art in itself. There are recommended art tours you can do of the different stations and I think that would be a really interesting way to spend an afternoon.
Moscow was the perfect end to the Russia part of my journey. Although the journey was much quieter and a bit more lonely travelling East to West, it was fantastic to finish in such an exciting, busy and familiar-feeling city. I was flagging a little by this point and knowing I was so close to home (having been away for such a long time) maybe held me back more than if I was visiting on a separate occasion but it didn’t taint my stay.
Spasiba Russia! Thanks for all the mash.