Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Moscow, Moscow

In November my travels took me for the first time to Moscow, the splendid capital of Russian Federation. I was very excited to go since I had a lot of previous experience from visiting and living in St. Petersburg.

St. Basil's Cathedral at night
I was visiting Moscow on a business trip and was staying at one of the best hotels in the city, at least location wise. The hotel I stayed in was the lavish ”Hotel National” on the edge of Kreml and Red Square. The room that was booked for me was the basic room of the hotel but stil it was one the nicest hotels I had ever stayed in. The bed was huge and there was hot tub in the bathroom. Very nice!

The days I had to spend at the exhibition dedicated to higher education. The event itself was pretty pointless but it gave me the opportunity to observe the behaviour of young Muscovites. Somehow I was not able to see anything especially Russian in the young people they seemed like young people in any other European city I have visited.

My free time in Moscow was rather limited. During the day I popped for lunch to ГУМ and then headed back to the exhibition booth. During the evenings I went and tried to explore the area around Kreml. I did not visit any special places I was just very happy to spend the evening walking around in the fresh air after having spent the day in doors. Yes, fresh air. At least I felt that the air in the center of Moscow is much fresher than in St. Petersburg.

Out of the few places I visited I should mention the small church on the edge of Red Square and the shopping center Okhotny Ryad. I light a couple of candles for the memory dead grand parents and observed the evening service for couple of minutes. It was really nice to see something different than the usual turisty stuff. The shopping Okhotny Ryad is massive under ground complex and I almost got lost in it. I had some nice fried chicken at food court down stairs. Fried chicken seems to be one the favorite fast foods all over Russia. Other than food I did buy anything from the shopping center, but if you are in of anything you can get it in Okhotny Ryad. The prices at the New Yorker store did not seem that expensive taking in to account the prices in Germany and the fact that it is the center of Moscow.

What did I eat in Moscow? I must admit that quite a few times visited some fast food place, but I did visit the traditional soviet style restaurant in ГУМ a couple of times. You can get a proper meal there for few hundred roubles but I usually filled my tray with everything. I once tried the boiled cows tongue. All I need to say is that I do not have to try it again. Maybe prepared in different way than just boiled would make tongue a more appticing choice. The last night me and my colloegues visited ёлки-палки another restaurant serving traditional Russian cuisine. It is actually a chain of restaurants but the price quality ratio is very good and at least during the evening you get a discount for choosing the buffet table and beers are not that expensive either.

Corona at Stary Telegraph
I only visited two bars during my stay, I tried to stay a way from the hotel bar since it looked very expensive and a place that might eat your soul after it takes your money. I went to the restaurant on the second floor of Stary Telegraph twice and on the last night I found a nice Irish Pub on a side street near my hotel. It was full of lively conversation and all the people seemed to be on a good mood. After a few beers in the pub I headed to to Stary Telegraph for the second time where I was kindly invited to table of a group people celebrating birthday of Natalia. I had very nice evening with them. For breakfast the next day I had only two glasses of water. =)

My only criticism goes for the Шереметьево airport. It was quite difficult to decide which check in desk to choose since there were no signs to guide which check in desk leads to the gate your flight is leaving from. Yes, in Шереметьево you must choose your desk according to the gate. Ofcourse there were quite good signs in the main lobby but we never went there. So more signs please.

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