My First Impressions of Moscow
The hotel we stayed in was near the centre, clean and comfortable, newly refurbished, staff were helpful and friendly and the breakfast was the best we had on our trip – although we didn’t know this at the time or we would have taken longer to enjoy it! There is no point asking for a view as most buildings in Moscow have height regulations. So, we had a quiet room at the back, which made for a good night’s sleep. I think there is nothing worse than the excitement of being in a new town or city and as soon as you enter your hotel its like another hotel in another town because they are all standardised though out the world. It is better to be in a hotel that enhances your experience and for this you really can’t get better than the Arbat House Hotel.
Moscow's Food and Restaurants
A few things worth thinking about start with food. Russians don’t have their main meals in the same way we do in the UK. In a normal day there maybe 3 or 4 courses but Christmas and special occasions (including ordering in restaurants) comes in at about 7 courses. Starting with a normal starter and following with salad, soup, meat, potato’s, bread, a light dessert!! and cheese course (or a variation of all these). It is important to understand this as at first you think the meals are small until you realise everything is to be ordered individually, which can quickly become pricy. We stuck to the side street coffee bars, which were cosy and where we discovered “som tem” a meat and vegetable filled bun/pie. We also found these very easily at platform stops when on the Trans-Siberian train. It also allows you to point at what you want as not many Russians speak English, so it is a good idea to learn a few words. We also found most of them say things “to the point” – like an order! – which takes some getting used to, so don’t be offended by being told to “sit”.
Moscow's Culture and History
Moscow is a city deep in culture and history, which you can feel all around you. Our guide had a deep passion for her city and country which showed in her knowledge. She created a picture in our imagination of how life would have been hundreds of years ago, how lovers and poets were enchanted by the city from the time it was the capital and from times when it was not. The buildings are so well kept you can understand what it must have been like as you twist and turn down side street to find these hidden gems. It made me wish I had also seen St Petersburg which must also be as historical as Moscow. I have visited many cities but Moscow has become one of my favourites and I think is a real must see.
Article written by Louisa Howard and originally posted by Headseast: 28th March 2014
This is the first in a series of 5 articles written by guest blogger Louisa Howard who recently completed a Trans-Siberian tour with us from Moscow to Shanghai via the Trans-Mongolian, Beijing and Xian.