The Day my Leather Jacket Broke and General Tips on Surviving the Russian Winter

This is another post of my Life in Russia, and I will talk a bit more about living abroad and dealing with the winter and the snow around this part of the Soviet Union  Russian Federation.

It’s winter again in Saint Petersburg, and that means that no one will see the sun until May. Only a few weeks ago, right before the actual start of winter in Russia, we got a temperature of -25 °C (-13° F) with heavy snowfall. 

By the way, a bit of Trivia: whereas in other parts of the world the seasons officially start on the 22nd day of a certain month, in Russia, they officially start at the 1st day of the month. For example, whereas winter starts December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, in Russia, the first day of winter is actually the 1st of December.

Winter in Russia: Expectation

Back to the main topic, though. Most foreigners who leave their home country are not prepared to deal with this kind of cold, and you will have to if you want to survive the winter in Russia. If you come from a warm country, you might marvel at the snow for the first two weeks, but thereafter, the cold somewhat loses its magic. That’s why I decided to share a few tips with you on coping with, and surviving, the Russian winter. I might also have one or two funny stories, though. 

How to Break a Leather Jacket

This happened when I was still living in Belgorod, a small town near the Ukrainian border, during my first winter in Russia. One beautiful wintry morning, when the temperature was around -32 °C (-25.6° F), I decided it was a great idea to walk to the university wearing a leather jacket. Of course, I wasn’t wearing only a leather jacket. I am not that crazy to venture outside with a leather jacket and nothing else. I am just a bit mentally challenged, which is why I was wearing a sweater under it too. And my jeans, of course.

It was only a 5 mins walk, anyway. What is the worst that could happen?

Well, it turns out that at a temperature of -30 °C, leather can actually freeze. Would you have imagined that? I certainly wouldn’t. I am, after all, only a Brazilian which had never seen snow before moving overseas that same year. Maybe if I had paid more attention to my history classes on the Napoleonic wars, I would have known that leather is not the best choice for the Russian winter.

Reality

So, I walked up to the door and took my university pass out of my pocket, only to feel the leather jacket breaking down around my arm. I looked at it in disbelief, not understanding what was going on with my clothes. I quickly realized the obvious: the jacket was ruined, and I had to wait inside the building to show my pass to avoid breaking any other parts. 

Yes, I am dumb. Thanks for noticing. At the same time, if you were considering doing the same thing, take my story as a cautionary tale. Even though a 5-minute walk finished out as a simple awkward experience, it is definitely a dreadful reminder of how quick cold temperatures can kill someone without proper clothing on the streets. And it happens more often than you think.

Dressing for winter

If you can’t count on jackets for the winter, what should you wear, then?

Thermal wear. They sell it in every SportsMaster (A sportswear store chain) around Russia, and you should totally get at least one set of thermal pants if you intend to walk around in negative temperatures. 

Me, enjoying the winter

Of course, there’s no need to mention that you also should have a proper winter coat and a few thick sweaters. The more layers, the better. Have a look around clothing stores and get the biggest scarf you can find as well. Keeping your neck region properly insulated is critical. This way, your body heat stays inside your clothes.

You also won’t regret having shoes lined with fur. If any vegans are reading this, synthetic fur is a good option, and it’s normally cheaper than real fur. An extra measure of caution is to get tall boots. You might be stepping into 20 or 40 cm of snow on the first few days or weeks of winter, and you really don’t want that snow to get inside your shoes. Really.

Overall, even if you are well-dressed for a severe and cold winter, you might want to stay inside more often. And don’t use a leather jacket.

That’s it for today, I guess. If you want me to write about anything in particular in Russia, let me know!

Moscow X Saint Petersburg. Fight!

    Hello, dear readers! 

    I hope you are doing great out there, and I really, really hope you are not reading this because your city is in lockdown again, and you are bored to death but can’t leave your home now, so you decided to read whatever shitty blog you could find on the internet and ended up in this page. I feel so sorry if accurately described your situation right now. 

    Anyway, I feel inspired these last few days, so I have been writing a lot. Hopefully you won’t get ODd with bad jokes. 

    Today I am going to write about a topic which is not polemic at all! We are simply going to decide which Russian city is better: Saint Petersburg or Moscow. If you have ever spoken to someone from either cities, you would know how serious this discussion can get. There are jokes and stereotypes from both sides. At one point I heard this great outrageous quote, “When someone decides to move from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, the average IQ increases in both cities.”

    Obviously, this is someone from Saint Petersburg. I will keep their identity anonymous, so no Muscovite will beat them up. 

How should we compare?

    Well, if you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably know I have no respect towards fancy things such as statistics, facts and objectivity. You can get these things in fancy places like Teleport.org or Expatistan. Fine, I will add a bit of facts in my text, but not too much. I don’t want people to get used to it.

This article is all about my subjective experiences from both cities, plus common opinions both Muscovites and Petersburgians have for both places. Believe it or not, I googled the word Petersburgian and found at least one online dictionary that mentions it. I have been living in Saint Petersburg for almost 2 years now, and I spent 4 years in Moscow, so I can say proudly that I know my shit what I am talking about. Mostly.

Saint Petersburg

Hero-city Leningrad. The Venice of the North. The Cultural Capital. Russia’s Window to the West. The Imperial capital of Russia. This city goes by many names, and I have heard all of them in less than 2 years spent in the city. They all remind us of the importance of Saint Petersburg in Russian history, and this city certainly delivers as the main stage of the country’s history and culture in the 18th-20th centuries. 

Saint Petersburg is home to all things baroque and imperial

Home to Hermitage and the Russian Museum, it has an immense number of activities for nerds culture lovers. The architecture of the imperial capital is a treasure in itself, as you would immediately find out after a quick walk in the city center. If you are a fan of Russian history and culture, you will love being here. Even in a quick trip you can enjoy the museums and city walks, but by living here and getting to know such cultured people, you will feel the full immersive experience of the cultural capital. 

By the way, the bar streets in Saint Petersburg caught my interest, this “bar street” culture is not very widespread in Moscow, but it thrives here. You will find many very comfortable places in Nekrasova and Rubinstein streets, which are ideal for a pub crawl and talks with artists, musicians, and pretty much anyone related to humanities. They all know that Saint Petersburg is their place. If you are into something more intense, you can also walk around Dumskaya street and find… Unique… Establishments. Don’t mind the occasional drunk fight.  

And let us not forget the white nights, these are certainly a natural beauty that Moscow cannot boast. Coming here by the end of June or beginning of July will ensure that you have 24 hours of natural light divided by only a small sunset or sunrise, depending on how you look at it. You can walk around the city, go to a bar, have a shavuha shaurma for breakfast after partying all night long, and then walk more. 

Moscow

Because who cares about the alphabetical order anyway?

Moscow requires no introduction. Anyone with a minimum knowledge of geography and history knows that Moscow is where all Russian roads lead. Not only it is the political center of the country, but it is also its financial and economic center, home to headquarters of all biggest Russian and international companies. 

By the way, I have also written a small and unusual tour guide earlier in my blog. Have a look if you are going there soon!

Let’s not be unfair, Moscow is undeniably the economic power in Russia and likely in all of Eastern Europe, but it is no less of a cultural giant. You also have lots of museums and art galleries around here, and of course, the worldwide famous Bolshoy Theater. The best universities, such as my alma mater Higher School of Economics, also have their main campuses in Moscow. 

Did you say “Financial Center?” 

If you are into charming small streets with bars and cafés, though, you will likely be disappointed. Except, perhaps, for Old Arbat and the Lyubyanka subway area, you won’t find lots of these small bars in Moscow, or at least not as many of them as you would find in Saint Petersburg. Some might even say that Moscow is overwhelming with its large concrete squares, wide concrete highways and massive concrete buildings. It was designed to show the greatness of the Soviet government, after all. 

Conclusion? 

Despite my friends’ best efforts to put me in a delicate position by asking which city is better, I always give a safe answer: it depends. Moscow offers the best when it comes to career opportunities, although Saint Petersburg does not fall behind when it comes to IT companies. If you like a quick-paced big city life, certainly choose Moscow. If you prefer a calmer life with cultural talks in small bars, Saint Petersburg is the place for you.  

Belgorod will always be the best anyway. Don’t even try to convince me otherwise. 

4 Places Where You Can Go in St. Petersburg’s Countryside

If you have been to Saint Petersburg, you likely already know which are the most obvious places and activities, and you may want to look outwards, instead. Or visit Moscow. The near region of St. Petersburg, or Leningradskaya Oblast (Lenoblast, for intimate friends), is quite full of surprises as well. We will cover a few of the places. 

1. Vyborg

Vyborg is a small medieval town, about 1h away from Saint Petersburg, and right next to the Finnish border. The city even belonged to Finland at a few times in history. You can easily book a train from the Finlyandskiy Railway Station and spend the day walking around the cute little medieval streets in the historic center. 

A personal tradition of mine is having lunch or dinner at a great medieval-style restaurant called Taverna. If you are randomly walking around the city, you will certainly notice this place because of its unending lines of eager guests. Yes, the food is worth the waiting. Nowadays, you can book tables there, so if you plan beforehand, you will be able to enjoy the great Russian medieval food without having to wait in the cold for over one hour. Having a menu in English might be not possible, though.

Other than the great food at Taverna, though, there are a few different places to visit in Vyborg, such as the Vyborg Castle. The fortress is located right in the center of the Vyborg Bay and is likely the first medieval building you will see while walking along the banks from the Railway Station. It was built in the 13th century by the Swedes, or so says Wikipedia.

The design looks great. The realization and logistics, not so much.

There is also the Monrepo Park, with great views of the Vyborg Bay and Ludwigsburg. Ludwigsburg, in this case, is not a city in Germany, but a small castle nested over a rocky cliff at Vyborg Bay, barely seen between the trees.

You can also walk by the historic city center and visit the Hermitage Museum in Vyborg. A personal advice, though, is that if you have been to the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, you might not be impressed with the size of this one. 

2. Tsarskoe Selo, Pushkin or Catherine’s Palace and Park

If you ever heard of Catherine the Great,  you probably associate her with all the grandest buildings in St. Petersburg. You don’t? Oh, well, maybe you should read more about Russian history then, no? 

Tsarskoe Selo is just a train ride away from St. Petersburg. You can go there from the Baltiskiy Railway Station and pay less than 100 rubles for the ticket. These are prices from 2021, just in case.

The park near Catherine’s Palace. The entrance fee is really worth it.

Be prepared to spend the whole day walking around the palace grounds and admiring this beautiful park. Entrance is paid, and beware of the huge lines! Those are for entering the palace itself, not the park. 

If you are not into paying for visiting parks, not far from the palace there is a totally free of charge park with a few historical buildings that you can look. The park with paid entrance is totally worth it, though, especially during the summer and autumn. 

3. Peterhof

One of the greatest landmarks of Saint Petersburg, together with the winter palace. If you have ever looked at some tour guides for St. Petersburg, you have seen photos of its beautiful golden fountains. By the way, they were quite an engineering marvel at the time they were built.

Doing it tsar style

You can go the cheap way by bus or train and then walk around the city, which is quite beautiful and comes with lots of parks. Or you can go the expensive way via one of the Meteora boats and get there quite quickly. You’d also enjoy a great view of Saint Petersburg from the Neva River and the Gulf of Finland. 

Either way, if you want to see fountains working, make sure you go to Peterhof by late spring or no later than the first weeks of autumn. The fountains really add to the imperial atmosphere of the palace gardens, and it would be a shame to go there only to not see them working. Also, it gets very cold, windy and wet in the Gulf, so choose a warm day to go there. If you are not local, keep in mind that warm days are a rare sight in Saint Petersburg.

4. Repino and Komarovo

This one is for art lovers and beach lovers. Repino and Komarovo are two districts not far from each other, in the northwestern outskirts of Saint Petersburg.

There isn’t that much to see there, but you can still spend a good day at the beach after seeing Ilya Repin’s Dacha and walking around its grounds. A Dacha is a country house in Russia, but for some reason, Russians don’t translate it to country house, but simply say dacha, and so should you.

Komarovo and its many forest walkways

There are a lot of trees at Repin’s Dacha grounds, and they make for beautiful autumn images. I have even published a few shots from there in my Instagram. By simply crossing the street and walking a bit through the woods, you can go to the beach. If you are there during the summer, the water should be warm enough. Don’t bother to swim during the autumn, though.

Komarovo is quite analogous, as in you can look at rich people’s dachas, dream about being a millionaire, and go to the beach. Unless you are a millionaire reading my blog right now. In that case, please send me some money. And then go to the beach.

Thanks for reading! I hope you liked my suggestions for destinations in St. Petersburg. If you think I haven’t covered something, write in the comments, so I know what to talk about next!

The Old and New Christmas, New Year pines, and Other Weird Stuff about Russian Holidays

    Hey there, folks! It has been a while, right? Have you missed me? I’m pretty sure you didn’t, and yet again I’m writing another article full of bad jokes only for you! You should admire my tenacity.

    We have just been through the New Year holidays in Russia. God, am I glad we have over 7 official holidays! There are a few traditions in the end-of-the-year celebrations in Russia that differ from any other part of the world, in the sense that they are sooo weird. For example, they have two dates for Christmas and New Year, and there’s no gift-giving on both Christmases. Russians, amirite?

So I decided to dedicate some time to write about them. After all, I got a lot of free time this week!

The only right way to celebrate New Year in Russia
(photo: eadaily.com)

The Old and New Christmas 

    It all changed when the fire nation attacked with the Romans, or to be more specific, with the Gregorian calendar. The western world switched calendars, one thing led to another, and a few thousand years worth of history books later, we got the western Christmas on the 25th of December. The Orthodox Church, however, still uses the Julian calendar in order to celebrate all of its significant events. Only God knows why. Did you see what I did there?

    So the Russians still celebrate Orthodox Christmas, which happens to be on the 7th of January, according to the dates set by the Orthodox Church. If you think the weirdness stops here, you are quite wrong. Despite the fact that the official New Year’s Eve is on December 31st, Russians also celebrate an “Old” New Year on the 13th of January. Are you mind-blown? I was mind-blown when I found out.

    Now, I know what you are thinking. How can you celebrate Christmas after the New Year? That is simply not how things are done. You are totally correct to think that. I don’t understand it either, but different from our Western traditions, the Orthodox Christmas is more of a religious event, and not really the Christmas party westerners are used to have. No Christmas dinner or gift-giving, only praying the whole day and night. Boring as hell, I know. Did you see what I did there again? Boring as hell. Christmas.

    I should note that celebrating Christmas on the 25th is getting more popular in Russia, specially between those who don’t follow the Russian Orthodox Church. 

Speaking about gift-giving

    Well, if Russians don’t exchange gifts on Christmas, when they get to do it? Never, because gift-giving is only for capitalist pigs such as you and me. Oink-oink. I’m kidding, they give gifts on the New Year’s Eve. Which is also weird, but I guess it’s better than never giving any gifts to each other. 

     Just like in the western countries, Russians put their gifts under their Christmas Tree. Except it is not called a Christmas tree, but a New Year tree. Yes, you read that right. In Russia, you have only New Year Trees, or “New Year pine” to be more accurate.

You might be asking yourself how come they call it a Christmas Tree a New Year Pine and why exchange gifts during the New Year’s Eve. This is because of the religious repression Russians suffered during the Soviet Union. Because of all that atheist religious-is-the-opium-of-the-people stuff, lots of traditions with religious origins had to be changed or adapted as to not offend the state. Christmas was no exception, so for a long time Russians simply transformed it in a New Year event, and I suppose now it’s just useless to go back to how things were.

What about the 7 Official holidays? 

    That’s one of the best things about New Year in Russia! At least, when you are not in a desperate need of government services, because you are out of luck if you need documents done in the first half of January. All the days between the 1st and 7th of January are official holidays and therefore if you are a regular employee, you don’t have to work. If you do have to work, assuming you are not a poor freelancer, you get double-pay for working these days, according to Russian labor laws.

    And it gets better! In Russia there is also a law that transfers holidays that fall on weekends or in the middle of the week. What does this mean? It means that, for example, in this year, 2021, all 7 official holidays plus weekends makes for 31st of December through 11th of January as non-working days, which is totally amazing. I love Russian laws. Never criticized them. Please keep adding holidays.

    Well, for today, that’s it. I don’t like to think too much. I have a terrible hangover, and it hurts to think. 

    Have I missed something about holidays? Should I rant about the Russian Salad? Or list all the reasons why there’s no need for a presidential address on the New Year’s Eve? Give me some feedback in the comments! Maybe next week I’ll share some crazy stories of my New Year celebrations in Moscow as a student. Those were pretty fun times.

The Very Obvious Places You Should Check Out in Saint Petersburg

 Yo, my people! What’s crackin’? 

Just as I finished writing this article, I’d like to announce that this old bastard here has already been living over one year in Saint Petersburg. And wrote less than 10 posts for the blog this whole time. * C o m m i t m e n t *

Since I am almost a local now, and I have taken upon myself the task of visiting all the famous, and not so famous bars in Saint Petersburg. Now I can share a few pieces of advice about what you can do while visiting the cultural capital of Russia. 

When I wrote an article about what you can do in Moscow, I avoided talking too much about the main attractions. I will take a bit of a different approach this time. Here I’ll dedicate the whole post to St. Petersburg main sightseeing points and how to enjoy them, which will be specially useful if you are short on time. No need to thank me for it, I know I’m awesome. 

Maybe next time I’ll write about my favorite bars. There are many of them.

Hermitage and Russian Museums

If you are into art, culture, you should totally visit Hermitage and Russian museum. If you are not into art and culture, you shouldn’t really have chosen Saint Petersburg to begin with. Seriously, why else would you come here? 

Hermitage is incomparable if you are looking forward to experiencing all the gold and opulence you will never have in your life as a filthy peasant, so I do recommend going there. Make sure you look at all the detailed artwork and try not to cry at the white marble stairs when you realize how you suck at painting. That did not happen to me, I swear. 

I can assure you that Hermitage is definitely worth going at least once in your life before you die and let’s face it, 2020 is really trying to get you killed. However, if you are not looking forward to standing hours in lines, then Russian Museum is a great choice, often with smaller lines and I assure you: you will not regret exploring their exhibitions, although you might have an existential crisis there as well if you pay too much attention to the details in the paintings. 

Wow. Much gold. Very marble. Many Corinthian.

Both museums are in the city center and not far away from each other, so you can always go around between walks along the main streets.

Peterhof

If you want to get impressed with some outright decadently opulent architecture, a beautiful garden and a f*ckload of statues, you should totally visit Peterhof. It might sound like I am exaggerating, but man, Peter the Great went to town on that project. I wonder why would anyone even decide to build such a frigging huge palace. I guess he was trying to overcompensate something.

“Please kill me. End my suffering.” 

It is possible to get there by boat if you are a rich bitch and enjoy the view of the Gulf of Finland. I’d say that taking a cab for a family of 4, or just going by train if you are alone, are smarter choices. Make sure to enjoy the walk from the train station to the palace itself as well. It’s a very nice neighborhood.

Peterhof is a large territory, so you can be sure that you’ll spend the whole day looking at all the places there. Don’t forget to wear some very comfortable shoes and maybe pray your feet don’t hurt by the end of the day. Or use band-aids if that’s your thing. 

Also make sure to post a selfie with the weird lion statues. 

Canals & Bridges

Getting an excursion around the city canals is a lovely activity. If you want to freeze to death on those boats because damn that wind is cold enjoy a lovely view of Saint Petersburg’s main touristic attractions without having to walk, this is the perfect choice. An excursion through the canals of the city will certainly leave you wishing you had brought a warmer coat completely amazed at all the exquisite architecture of the city.

Be sure to take some photos of the Saint Isaacs Cathedral, the Peter and Paul Fortress, and Trinity Cathedral. Please don’t drop your phone on the water.  

An even better opportunity to die a chilly death enjoy the Petersburg atmosphere is to watch the drawbridges opening, specially during the white nights. That happens not earlier than1am though, so you might want to prepare beforehand to make sure you are completely awake and rested when the excursion starts and bring a bigger coat, for God’s sake.

A beautiful pain in the neck

I have a funny personal story when I was still a tourist in Saint Petersburg. Some friends and I decided to go to one of the many local bars, and then to a club. After a few drinks, we decided we should definitely see the bridges lifting. We thought that, by leaving the club right away, we would get to the river Neva in time to see the last bridge opening up. We got there just in time. It was a good view, but not that impressive, to be honest. We were ready to go home now. Then we realized that all the bridges are open, and we can’t get home because we were staying across the river.

So take care. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the river after 2am, you might have to stay awake until the bridges are down again. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Just walk around and enjoy. Also, bars. 

Saint Petersburg has a city culture that is completely different from Moscow. Here it’s commonplace to simply enjoy a walk around the city center, looking at all the cute finely planned tidy streets. That is very contrasting to Moscow, where the only people walking around calmly are tourists.

Try to get lost in the city a bit but make sure you have Saint Petersburg Google Maps downloaded, you don’t want to actually get lost. You will find many monuments, squares, streets lined imperial era buildings, churches and museums.

The Cultural Capital of Russia boasts many palaces, and hispters, of course

While you are at it, make sure you have a walk along Rubinstein and Nekrasova streets. There you will find many unique places where you can sit and taste all kinds of cuisine and drinks. This bar culture makes Saint Petersburg look much more like Europe than Moscow as well. If you are lucky enough to visit the city on a warm day and that does not mean summer, sit outside and enjoy the view. 

But bring a bigger coat. And an umbrella. And sunglasses. You might use them all during your walk. 

What to see in Moscow when you get tired of walking on the Red Square

Hello! It’s me
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over everything

I am preparing for a small trip to Moscow soon. This is going to be merely the 3rd time I will be in Moscow as a tourist, after living there 4 years. Crazy, huh? For this reason, I decided to share a few insights of what you should totally see in Moscow if you ever want to travel there, apart from the obvious spots. Since I lived there for so long, I know at least 100 interesting places to go instead of visiting the Kremlin. Hell yeah.

But just in case…

Let’s start with the obvious. You saw these places on TV, you know them, you will see them in Moscow whether you want to or not:
Red square. The Kremlin. Saint Basil’s Cathedral. the big white church which name I never learned Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Bolshoi Theater. The Moscow State University. Gorky Park, and the old Arbat st.

I won’t waste my time speaking about these things because they are famous worldwide and if you don’t know some of these places, you savage, you can simply google them.

Moving on to the not so obvious

What you want to see in Moscow really depends on what you are going to do there. That is, besides drinking cheap vodka branded to foreigners as the best in Russia. Let’s divide the list into sightseeing, nightlife, and I’ll come up with another category later for some obscure reason since 2 categories is not enough.

There is a lot of sightseeing to do in Moscow. Despite being the financial center of the country and leaving the title of cultural capital of Russia to Saint Petersburg, Moscow still holds a lot of historical significance. There are many historical sites, besides the Kremlin itself, ranging from medieval history up until the Soviet Union. There’s actually a Stalin’s Bunker that you can visit there.

Not-so obvious sightseeing

The VDNKh entrance, with the main fountain. You can see the tip of the Cosmonautics Museum, on the right, and Hotel Kosmos, on the left, in the distance.


VDNKh, or the “Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy”: despite the soviet talent for making names look as dull as possible, the place is not only beautifully full of soviet propaganda, it’s also beautiful. You can see a rocket in the center of the park, accompanied by a planetarium, and a beautiful fountain to take selfies at. Also in the nearby area you can check the Museum of Cosmonautics, and the Ostankino Tower is not far. By the way, while linking the Wikipedia page for you lazy readers, I found out that the tower is the tallest freestanding structure in Europe. You can walk there or use the monorail, which is worlds of fun for monorail fans.


If you are going to visit the Moscow State University, maybe consider actually taking the whole day and walk all the way from Muzeon Park, full of soviet propaganda again, Jesus, they are good at propaganda, statues. Also, don’t forget to check the New Tretyakov Gallery if you are feeling specially artistic this day. Maybe you should check the old one too, but not now.

After that, you can move on to Gorky Park and the Café Museum Garage, then on to Neskuchnyi Garden and get a bit lost in the woods. It’s worth it, believe me. You can sometimes even forget that you are in the center of Moscow while walking around those woods. Before you notice, you will get to the RAN, or Russian Academy of Sciences, with their weird orange squares and a nice overlook. From there you will be able to see the Luzhniki Stadium and Moscow City on the horizon.

Do you still have energy to walk? Just go along the riverbanks or through the paths scattered around the Sparrow Hills, then up a bit, and a bit more. Eventually you’ll find yourself looking at the Moscow State University, with another beautiful spot overlooking the very center of Moscow. I used to love taking these walks during the weekends when I had the whole day for myself!

The Izmailovo Kremlin. It looks like a fantasy castle.

A few other parks worth seeing are the Tsaritsyno and Kolomenskoye. Both are huge and normally require a whole day’s walk if you want to see the entirety of them. They are beautiful to walk around, though, and specially charming during the Summer and Autumn. Both parks also have beautiful Russian palaces, but with very different architectural styles. Speaking about palaces, you should totally check the Izmailovo Kremlin and the nearby market Vernissazh. Be ready to fill your bags with all the Russian trinkets you can get for the unfortunate friends and family that didn’t go on this trip with you.

And finally, Moscow City. It might not showcase Russian traditional architecture or reflect the Soviet Union’s past, but it offers a refreshing, modern view of the financial center that Moscow has become. It is just amazing, even if it doesn’t really feel like the authentic Russian experience. You will get the best look at it from across Bagrationov Bridge, or across the river from Kievsky Railway Station. There is a small park there, where I used to love sitting at the bench on the hill across the river and looking at Moscow city during the sunset. You can even make a picnic out of it if you want.

Бухать Nightlife


I am not an expert in this topic, since I don’t drink.

God, who am I trying to fool? If you don’t know it yet, you will very quickly find out that Moscow has a very cosmopolitan nightlife. Throughout the city center, there are clubs with European techno, western pop songs, and even some Latino music. Most of the nice evening bars are at the Maroseyka and Pokrovka streets, and there are some clubs nearby as well. Anywhere near Lubyanka subway station, you’ll find nice places to have a drink or dance. If you walk from Bolshoi theater to Chistye Prudy, you’ll definitely stumble upon something you like!

If you are looking for something as expensive as a kidney in the black market more elegant than just a simple night out, I suggest you book a place at Sixty Bar or “Na Svezhem Vozdukhe”. Sorry for the name. I even looked if there was a palatable version in English, but there isn’t. Anyway, despite the names, both places offer great views over all the city, since they are some of the highest restaurants in Europe. Be sure to ask for a window table when you book 😉

View from the highest restaurant in Europe. “Na Svezhem Vozdukhe”

Unless you are afraid of heights, then don’t.

Shopping

I’m not sure why would you go shopping in Moscow, but since everyone has their own crazy habits, a few nice places where you can do that are the AfiMall at Moscow City, TsUM, GUM. Expect some crazy prices, though. I only went to GUM to have delicious Belgian waffles with strawberry jam and whipped cream at the food court on the last floor. And now you want to eat too, I know!

GUM, right on the Red Square, home to some of the most expensive stores in Russia.

While shopping, you might want to go Detskiy Mir. It’s a huge shopping center for kids, with a playground and an overlook on the roof. I wouldn’t take kids there, though, they will go crazy when they see the toys. You have been warned.

Hey! Glad you got all the way down here and this article didn’t bore you to death. Have I missed something? Would you like me to cover some other touristic attractions? Have you ever been to Moscow? How was the trip? Did you enjoy any place in particular? Just let me know!