The first sight of Moscow wasn’t spectacular. It wasn’t terrible either. After days and days of birch forests, abandoned factories, farms and small industrial cities, it was refreshing to see something different. There was more people, more Communist imagery and more housing blocks. Yaroslavsky station was a concrete heap but the metro station below was glorious.
In Moscow I visited the Kremlin, Red Square, the Cosmonauts Memorial, Arbat St., and Pushkin’s home. I met lots of cool people and went partying with some friends I had met on the ferry from Korea and some Russians that they had met along the way. I was intimidated by the idea of going to a Moscow nightclub but ended up having a great time and not spending an obscene amount of money – 1000 rubles (about $40) made a great night out.
The Russians in Moscow often speak English very well and are very friendly. Lots of people were very eager to help out if I looked lost and were excited to talk to foreigners. This was quite different from my experiences in Siberia, where one had to try a lot harder to talk to people.
It was nice being in a real Western city for the first time since I left New York last year. Moscow lived up to or exceeded all of my expectations for it yet it still failed to really dazzle me the way some other great cities have. Maybe a part of it is timing – I was there during a holiday and many people were out-of-town – and maybe it was partly a result of the over-militarization you see in Russian with the Militsia glaring at me.
I was happy to be getting on the train again and head to Kiev and finally a new country after two weeks of travelling. Keep on keeping on.