Squeezing the most out of life | An Aussie and a Colombian living life with a wandering spirit. Eight years together & over 60 countries up our sleeves, we're sharing the love |

Lessons from Russia

Moscow-MapKris and I decided to shift towards South East Asia. She was keen on the scenic, full of stops way, I was interested in a way that wouldn’t require dealing with visas and paperwork. So we did the sensible thing and treated ourselves with a break from each others faces. A measure that in the past has proven to reinvigorate our relationship after the weariness of being together every day all day. It is very hard to say that without coming across as someone who is complaining, but I assure that’s not the case.

After some thorough airfare research, we established that the way from Colombia towards SEA demanding the least amount of paperwork happened to be both the cheapest, and unlikeliest. Bogota-Havana-Moscow-Hong Kong-Singapore-Phnom Penh. So here I am, after just finishing a 10 day stint in Russia, a whirlwind inebriated afternoon in Havana, and ready for my two day stop in Hong Kong.

So here it is while it’s still fresh. A list of what to do and what not to do in Moscow – a 864 year old town that boasts being the seventh largest city in the world.

  • Do use the subway. Traffic will make you cringe I don’t care where you come from.
  • Don’t take cabs. Some horror stories claim USD500 fares from the airport to downtown areas. The Aeroexpress train will take you from the airport to the downtown area in 30 minutes for only USD11.
  • Unless you visit during summer time, do prepare for a weather that ranges from constant drizzle to extremely miserable.
  • Unless you are into walking massive distances, don’t bother coming.
  • Do make and effort to learn the alphabet. You’ll be surprised how easy your stay will turn out.
  • Don’t blatantly speak English. You’ll garner no sympathy nor acquaint potential English interlocutors.
  • Do try local, and other far Eastern European cuisines. And stay away from franchise restaurants. Visit Japanese restaurants at your own risk.
  • Don’t forget to carry Alka-Seltzer and don’t worry about how much weight you’ll put on – but that should be a general rule for any leisure trip.
  • Remember to purchase Vodka before __pm.
  • Don’t avoid fish sections at supermarkets. You’ll be either pleasantly surprised, or absolutely disgusted. Both options are musts for true travellers.
  • So you want to check out the touristy things, just remember, no project in Moscow was ever conceived unless the word stupefy was attached to the pitch somewhere.

It is hard to imagine a country that packs in more contrasts than Russia. After all, it is the largest country in the world. Nine time zones – just the implications of that single fact foster amazement.

Like any other place, what creates the collective identity, far more than any man-made icons are the people. The Russian stereotype is hardly portrayed in a positive light.


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