A Travellerspoint blog

An homage to Moscow subway stations

When Shelley and I were on our Gobi tour in Mongolia several of the couples we toured with had come from Moscow. They all suggested that we take the subway, which we were planning to do as our mode of transportation around the big city. To our surprise, they were mentioning the metro because the underground stations were built in grand design and many were opulent displays of craftsmanship. So, for 55 rubles ($1.25 roughly) we could explore Moscow's underground treasures and not only get from one place to another, but also seek out the stations that were known for their beauty. Shelley googled 'most beautiful subway stations in Moscow' and we headed out to see these architectural wonders.

Firstly I must comment on our inaugural trip. When entering the subway, you get on the most steep escalator I have ever been on. In addition to the steepness, it takes you down, down deep into the underground of the Moscow streets. When riding alongside the others, because there are numerous columns of escalators, the people riding beside you look like they are tipped back in a slant angle that seems almost impossible to sustain. This must be due to to steepness of the escalator and I wish I could have gotten a video of this. The taller the person, the more they looked like they were carrying out some yoga-type back bend as they smoothly glided down. Despite not getting this video, Shelley and I hopped on and off the trainss and marveled at the beauty of these stations. Some were adorned with sculptures and marble reliefs, while others had amazing mosaics and chandeliers. Each one had their own personality and we thoroughly enjoyed bouncing on and off the subway cars. We took lots of pictures and hope you all enjoy a little peek into Moscow,s underground.

Subway archways

Subway archways

Paintings in plaster relief frames

Paintings in plaster relief frames

Amazing lighting and marble tile work

Amazing lighting and marble tile work

Lighted stained glass

Lighted stained glass

Incredible murals

Incredible murals

Cool colours and plaster work

Cool colours and plaster work

Kellie standing at attention

Kellie standing at attention

Shelley marveling at the ceilings

Shelley marveling at the ceilings


Lit stained glass

Lit stained glass

More beautiful stained glass

More beautiful stained glass

Feeling like we are in church

Feeling like we are in church

Posted by kelshell 13:30 Comments (2)

From Moscow to St. Petersburg

We are getting good at this travel thing... Or are we?

rain 17 °C
View From Menopause to Mongolia on kelshell's travel map.

Shelley and I had to say goodbye to Moscow, even though it was a short visit, we enjoyed it very much (despite our sad hotel room). While in Mongolia we decided to book our passage to St. Petersburg on the Sapsan fast train. Given our poor internet connection these tickets were challenging to book but we managed. Given we did not have access to a printer in Mongolia, we decided to print our tickets in Moscow. On the morning of the 4th we enjoyed our final breakfast in Moscow then went to print out our train tickets at the hotel reception desk. After Shelley grabbed the papers sitting in the printer, i hears a slight gasp when she said "Ohh shit my birth date on this ticket says I was born in 1941!" I immediately felt a pang of dread as I was the one who managed to get through on the booking site and booked the train tickets. I was sure I had put in Shelley's correct info, and yet here were, once again, dealing with an issue that could potentially mean we get kicked off another train in Russia. We both felt deflated and were hoping for the best thinking that maybe they wouldn't check the tickets and match them to the passport as closely as they do in the airport. So, we packed up our backpacks and headed to the train station via the metro, knowing full well that our bloated turtle-like body outlines might prove to be a challenge on the busy subway. As we trodded to the metro station Shelley wondered if she should somehow sabotage the date part on the ticket by smudging it, or peeling an orange that we we carrying and get juice right on the 1941 part. In the end we, with full confidence, we handed the train tickets to the man checking tickets. To our relief he merely scanned the name and made sure it corresponded with the ticket booking he had on his small electronic device he was holding. Happy day! We made it on the train and on our way to St. Petersburg. This fast train was amazing. Roomy, comfortable, and made for a quick and smooth ride. I would travel this way always if I could.

We had decided that we weren't repeating our 100 dollar cab ride in St Petersburg so were supposed to Google the train station to hotel metro directions for St Petersburg before we left while we had WiFi. We were so flustered about the train ticket error we forgot so arrived in St Petersburg without this information. It was darn near impossible to get WiFi anywhere without a Russian sim card so we began asking people for help. A nice young guy found out that we only needed to go 2 subway stops then walk. You would think the metro signs would be apparent but no, they were a different color here and you had to buy tokens from a machine - no nice ticket lady! Asking for directions using the word "metro" caused one young lady to recoil from Kellie in fear as she backed away and a taxi company to tell me they "no have language." Onto the metro finally. Then the walking began. Our 10 minute walk became 30, with Kellie ready to pack it in and hail a cab. After countless directions we were honing in on our location but couldn't find our hotel. I told Kellie to sit and wait with the stuff while I started walking down the street. I asked a guy at a swanky business if he knew where the mini otiel Parusa was and he indicated that I follow him. Around to the back of the building to a secret door, he pressed a buzzer and the door opened. Into a labyrinth of dim hallways and finally we were buzzed through and a man said "Kellie, from Canada?" No signs, no entrance but he had a computer with our booking.com information up on the screen. He said he'd show me the room and then I could go get my friend and then pay after. He took me up an elevator the size of a fridge and to a surprisingly nice room - same price as the dive in Moscow! I went to get Kellie who was beginning to worry and said, "you've got to see this." She followed me in through the endless doors with pass codes, etc. and took one look at the elevator saying, "will we fit?" We got upstairs after registering and went out for a great meal. Our host has a great sense of humor and that's nice to see here. Russians seem to be nice and friendly to each other but very few are nice to us when they hear English. More on St Petersburg tomorrow.

Comfy fast train to St Petersburg

Comfy fast train to St Petersburg

Shelley (looking good for being born in '41) settling in on train

Shelley (looking good for being born in '41) settling in on train

KelShell on train

KelShell on train

Two cocktails in St Petes after a long day

Two cocktails in St Petes after a long day

Carpatio beet root salad yummy

Carpatio beet root salad yummy

Trying the local honey cake- very good!

Trying the local honey cake- very good!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GACPmyq4I9A

Posted by kelshell 13:28 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Moscow - we made it!

Surprising city

sunny 26 °C
View From Menopause to Mongolia on kelshell's travel map.

We had to get up at 2:30 a.m. to get to the Chinggis Khan airport. We had left a note with the front desk about needing a 3:00 a.m. cab after booking our flight but were really not sure if we would get one. We came downstairs to find our kind hotelier asleep on the couch in the lobby. He popped right up and proceeded to get his own car to take us to the train station. No, airport we said. No problem, he replied. The airport is way further than the train station so after arriving we paid him generously and hugged him. Such a wonderful person! We flew to Irkutsk and were processed through immigration with no bells, whistles or alarms sounding. A very strange airport configuration - leave the international building and walk 50 feet to the domestic airport. This airport had only 2 floors and was very tiny. We had 6 hours to wait so we settled in with a preloaded movie. Long flight to Moscow and after arriving we found the "official" taxi stand. 5300 rubles later (100.00) we arrived at our hotel. It looked nice but check in was very laborious. They couldn't seem to find our reservation. This after receiving an email 2 days before from booking.com saying we had cancelled our stay and sending messages back and forth through spotty WiFi. Finally we were told to go out and around to building 6. So not what we'd booked online in March! A derelict building with a decrepit room awaited us. Kellie couldn't get over the tiny bathroom with the sink ready to fall off the wall! It literally was falling off and held in place maybe by a thread of grout! We dropped our bags and headed out to find the metro and go to Red Square. After walking further than Google maps showed a lady and her daughter led us to the station. We navigated easily with our downloaded map only needing assistance as to which platform we needed for the correct destination.

Getting off at Red Square was a treat. Met by a carousel reminiscent of Disneyland, we walked through an archway to see St. Basil's Cathedral in front of us. We wandered around taking photos and admiring the architecture. We wound up in an upscale mall bordering the square and ate dinner. In Russia it is typical to weigh the portion of food you take so confusingly the price you see on the menu is not necessarily what you pay. However we did well coming in at around 8-10 dollars for our dinner. We navigated the subway back to the proper stop (we had walked way too far the first time) and came out right near our hotel. We discovered that the subway system in Moscow was really easy to navigate and well set up for foreigners. Cyrillic can be legible to us if you count the letters in the word and see some familiar letters and patterns.

The next morning we went to the real hotel (building 7) for what turned out to be an amazing buffet breakfast. We headed back downtown and decided to take a double decker bus tour. We got off in a really trendy part of town and had a wonderful meal and hookah finale. We had finally found a bank to pay our fine in despite being told at the border by our Lieutenant that we could pay at any bank. To get back to the trendy area we had to pass under the street and happened upon the buskers playing in the attached video. We had been forewarned by the British couple on our Gobi tour that the subway stations in Moscow are stunning. So after researching the most beautiful stops we found several of them on our way back to the hotel. The next post will have those pictures.

Entrance to Red Square

Entrance to Red Square

Church in square

Church in square

Selfie in Red Square

Selfie in Red Square

FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender

St. Basil's Basilica

St. Basil's Basilica

Cafeteria meal

Cafeteria meal

Enjoy

Enjoy

Upscale Pym mall

Upscale Pym mall

Mall fountain

Mall fountain

Evening in Red Square

Evening in Red Square

Is this sign really necessary?

Is this sign really necessary?

Imposing statue

Imposing statue

Bolshoi theater

Bolshoi theater

IMG_0796

IMG_0796

Bolshoi

Bolshoi

Government building

Government building

Bus tour sights

Bus tour sights

Kremlin crennellations

Kremlin crennellations

Key to my heart tree

Key to my heart tree

Moscow river

Moscow river

Selfie on Moscow river

Selfie on Moscow river

Passenger bridge over Moscow river

Passenger bridge over Moscow river

Olympic building

Olympic building

More buildings from tour bus

More buildings from tour bus

5 magazine style menus for one restaurant

5 magazine style menus for one restaurant

Two great cocktails after a day of touring

Two great cocktails after a day of touring

Enjoying borcht in Russia

Enjoying borcht in Russia

Eggplant starter

Eggplant starter

Shelley and her first hookah experience

Shelley and her first hookah experience

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZjz8YU546s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsrFZEGZN8E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yke2zT0tBjE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSXRcWn0JAg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLs-KHIxDEg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XMBE0orNj0

https://youtu.be/eoR3xxdRdyI

Posted by kelshell 14:23 Archived in Russia Comments (7)

Khoomei lesson video has been added

Please see post of Khoomei lesson for video added at bottom

Click on the link to watch under Khoomei lesson post. Enjoy!

Posted by kelshell 04:19 Comments (1)

Last 2 entries posted out of order

Read second day Russian experience first

Again a glitch or operator error posted our experience out of order. Enjoy!

Posted by kelshell 20:12 Comments (0)

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