It was only a week we were in Russia but there were quite some thoughts in head about the trip. Those three nights in Murmansk and other three in Moscow didn’t just turned out to be a fantastic getaway but also I got to learn something inside my head.
There wasn’t much time of a proper photo session in Moscow, unfortunately. The only one was in Moscow Metro circle line–Koltsevaya line.
It took about 90 minutes to hop on and off the train on each of the twelve stations. I wish I had more time but had to regroup with others to see a circus. Otherwise, it could have been a real joy to explore details on the unique decors of each station. More than that, juxtapositions of contemporary local commuters and Soviet Union architectures built during the cold war were truly fascinating.
While taking the Metro, I just couldn’t help thinking of London Underground I experienced the year before. Even though the navigation for passengers couldn’t top London, it was still easy to get around and very efficient, especially, for a megacity like this. And to have permanent public arts (even they were propagandas, then and now) in public transports set Moscow Metro apart from any other cities in the world.
Our main plan for first full day in Moscow was the Kremlin Museums. The excursion turned out to be full of walking, walking, and walking in the shivery spring breeze. Apart from that, it was an exploration beyond expectation.
Usually, tourist sites weren’t really my things to explore but that’d be hard to dismay the itinerary when you were travelling in a group of friends. So, I needed to find something else occupy myself along the way.
Then, I started to decipher Cyrillic script from a Metro sign. From that, I got into it, using a Wikipedia page to work on signs throughout day. Photography was dropped from my own agenda on the day.
It was a very chilling and windy day. With that weather and without a clue, we were queuing up a long line to get to Lenin Mausoleum, thinking it was the entrance to a ticket office. That wait took us the whole morning away. After that, we had a lunch break and steered back to the plan to the Museums.
Unfortunately, we realised that signs and directions in the complex weren’t clear. It took us a while until we finally got to the ticket office. There were about five different tickets but we didn’t know what tickets to get. There were English descriptions but they weren’t comprehensive. I’d say communication designs failed.
Eventually, we purchased two tickets each for adults: one for the architecture complex and another on for the Armory Chamber. I got it later that the first one was to get in the complex with entrances to the cathedrals inside plus exhibition. Armory Chamber ticket were sold separately. The cheaper tickets must be to get in the complex but not the cathedrals.
It was about three hours of walking in the complex and the Amory Chamber. That was when I found my enjoyment, working on deciphering Cyrillic script on museum labels. It was so much fun. By the time we were done in the complex, our legs were tiring us.
Anyhow, the weather got better a bit when got out. So, we had some more walk around Red Square.
Next mission was dinner. The goal was at White Rabbit restaurant. We had been in one of their branches in Murmansk. And it had been really good. However, after a train ride and a lost on the street, we got to the place to find out that we needed a reservation. We ended up in a pan-Asian restaurant in the same mall called Zodiac.
An Asian restaurant in Moscow? I was skeptical. But it would be interesting to try Thai food there. I had fish with green curry flavor and a lemon tree. That would be the closest to Thai in the menu. The rest got other Asian dish. With a surprise, the dining experience blew us away. The presentation was intricate. Moreover, the flavour was on point. We were really impressed. On top of that, when the chef came to meet us, we would not ever expect a young Russian bloke, showing up. That was even more surprising. Apparently, we got the craft from his Chinese master. Good on him!
After the long cold walk, the self-study on Cyrillic, and the dinner, my mental state was overloaded and I needed some drinks. As the girls went straight back to the hotel, the boys made a stop at an Irish-theme pub. And I finished it off with some Ukrainian craft beer and three shots of vodka to end up the long day.