My goodness… how did the end come by so quickly? 😞 my time in Russia has been so much greater than the most optimistic expectation that I had back home. I’ve been here only 2 weeks and visited only 2 cities… that I’d not even close to enough time or enough adventure in this beautiful country!
I first landed in Moscow alone, but only a few hours later my travel buddy arrived from Sydney and we flew to St Petersburg. Initial impressions we’re amusing. Our driver was going full speed while texting on 2 different phones and following GPS on the 3rd… we passed a car with military flags hanging out the window and we just looked at each other like… wtf have we just signed up to?!
We checked into our Airbnb apartment and familiarized ourselves with the neighbourhood. The next few days were non stop tourist adventures starting with a segway tour of the city. My travel buddy is very good at research in advance and I’m very good at spontaneous adventure. Between the 2 of us we ticked off the major tourist attractions plus some incredible dining, clubbing and knowledge based experiences. St Petersburg was absolutely all kinds of incredible and if I had the opportunity to move there, I would do it in a heartbeat.
I told travel buddy that it would be better to take the fast train to Moscow as opposed to flying, on account of.. trains at home are slow and I wanted to experience a fast one Lol. By the time we got round to organising tickets, we were both feeling tired and run-down from the intense days of sightseeing. At first the lack of English and charades seems endearing, but when you’re tired, grumpy and just need to get sh17 done… it’s frustrating! Bless you Google translate x!!! Travel buddy had a frustrating time while I took the metro back ‘home’ to grab my passport… by the time i returned we were no better off. However, we got there in the end and the service lady pointed particular things out that were important… she spoke them in Russian but thankfully it made sense and the next day we boarded the fast train to Moscow and the highest speed during the journey was 230km/h so cool!!
Moscow was a different kettle of fish. You can feel the corporate hum of a metropolitan city. You can sense that the pace is faster and the people a little more closed off. But given that I live in NZ’s capital city and travel buddy lives I Sydney, the experience isn’t so different from daily life at home. Our first night we checked into the Petroff palace… holy cr4p!!! There was a chandelier in our room and there was champagne served with breakfast. Damn!!
The next 3 nights we stayed at the Hilton which is in one of Stalin’s 7 sisters… the building itself is incredible and the service was even more so! We took our time checking out various experiences and appreciated the slower pace as we moved from hard-core tourists to ex-pat status. From there we checked into the Intercontinental… the location was good and from there it was easy to get to the Kremlin, Red Square and the local cooking class I checked out while travel buddy visited the military bunkers.
This whole experience has been intense and all kinds of wonderful. I can’t even try to list everything we did because the list is so extensive and I’m sure to miss something out. I am overwhelmed right now with peace and a broader mind. Russia, you are all kinds of beautiful! Next stop… Oman