For those of you who haven’t been following our blog from the beginning, you may need to know that my sister Nancy is completing her final year of Bachelor’s by doing an exchange in Moscow. Ever since we officially found out she was admitted, or at least ever since I learned, a trip was instantly put into my imaginary calendar and despite our parents’ strong efforts to convince me it was too expensive, I started doing my research. Turns out that a girl with no less than 7 different cheap flight apps and her only sister abroad can do more than any travel agent.
Fast forward to spring break, when I finally got to visit Nancy, explore Moscow and St. Petersburg, pretend to know Russian and even communicate with local babushkas way more than I had ever imagined…
Russia – the land where people don’t speak English even at the airport
I arrived at Sheremetyevo Airport with The Master and Margarita in my hands, which I was reading during my flight in order to convince myself that a) “oh, I’m so cultured!”, and b) this would somehow prepare me for the Russian vibe, but trust me on this one – nobody and nothing can prepare you for Russian bureaucracy. My first encounter with it was precisely at the international airport, when I still hadn’t even googled how to say “Thanks” (Спасибо), so you could probably imagine the intensity of the situation: a Russian woman trying to mimic the necessary administrative steps for when one has lost a suitcase and a foreigner desperately wishing for an emergency anger management session… Thankfully, my luggage found its way back to me, before I had killed half of the staff.
Play-Doh & Rosé
Right after we got to our hostel, we decided that no time is to be wasted and went out almost immediately to meet with Yani, another Bulgarian expat. We had dinner in, hands down, the most curious and eye-catching restaurant I’ve ever been to.
Didu’s design is something you can’t see everywhere – people sitting in hanging wicker chairs by the windows, every piece of furniture being aesthetically pleasing in some bizarre way and on top of that, you get walls covered with small Plasticine sculptures. How cool is that?! Also, visitors are the ones who leave the Play-Doh models. So, if you’re feeling at least half as childish as I was, you’ll definitely enjoy making them (while drinking fancy af wine, of course).
Being a tourist is low-key the best workout
On the next day we did check “taking basic bitch photos in front of St. Basil’s cathedral” off our list, and we also tried traditional Russian cuisine in a Soviet-themed café – Varenichnaya No.1, all while discussing Russian politics. While we were going from one sight to another, I believe I broke my record for steps per day, as my pedometer was literally going crazy. Well, that’s what you get in a city with bigger population than that of my home country.
The time when I fell in love with a bridge
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly Zaryadye Park, and in particular the new bridge that was build there called “The Floating bridge” (Парящий мост). The project was carried out by American architects and what’s interesting about the bridge is that it doesn’t have a single support. It’s simply astounding. Weird as it may seem to have such a modern building near the historical centre of Moscow, but it somehow fit in its own unique way. What’s more, from its long cantilevered section you could perhaps get the best view of the Kremlin, the Krymsky Bridge and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
I don’t dress for men… I dress for Bolshoi.
Next on our schedule was the “Bolshoi Theatre”. It is still so surreal for me to be able to say that not only did I see Bolshoi, but I actually saw a Russian ballet there! Now, I’m not saying we bought cheap student tickets an hour before the play and we used that time to pick up a new outfit for my sister, but I am. Gotta live the life you strive for, right? Needless to say how breathtaking was the performance and out of all the productions I’ve ever watched, La Sylphidewas undoubtedly the best one.
Comin’ thro’ the rain for oligarchs and sweets.
On the following night Nancy decided to show me Moscow City – a new urban area with skyscrapers, which was located in the middle of nowhere and for some reason the buildings reminded me of the Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated. The weather was cold, windy and it was starting to rain, which was the perfect driving force for me to speed up and summon Turbo Krisi – that’s me on high-speed mode and also my super hero secret identity (shhh…). Another thing that kept me going was that we were heading towards a fancy restaurant on the sixtieth floor of a skyscraper and we needed to get there before dinner time in order for it to be socially acceptable not to order anything but dessert (the only thing we could afford). Did I mention something about living the life you strive for? Yeah, so that was pretty much our motto.
Fortunately, we got to the expensive restaurant Sixty around 5 pm and thus got the perfect lightning for another round of basic bitch photos! Yasss! Even if you think we were sort of lame, oh well, we enjoyed our extravagant desserts and embraced the full Bay Ganyo mentality, because, hey, who knows when we’re coming back again… I’ll just give them a gigantic tip when I’m rich (pinky swear). So, if I had to guess where Russian girls go to hunt their oligarchs, I would have to go with Sixty, and if someone asked me where you could one eat the most extra desserts – my answer would be the same. До свидания, Sixty!
When I come back it will be in my private helicopter.
After all, I fell in love with that city.
Although the life in Moscow must be generally hard and stressful, hardly would anyone argue that its history, culture and charm are absolutely everywhere. There is a feeling of majestic communism, which mingles with the new modern and alternative vibe… and the combination is awe-inspiring.