I can use this title for this Post, because while gaining some Couchsurfing experience we saw the beautiful center on the one side and the endless buildings made from prefabricated slabs in the suburbs on the other side. But let’s start from the very beginning:
As we arrived in Moscow after our 56-hour journey on the train we found ourselves in a complicated situation. Where was our hostel? We extra booked one close to the train station, but nothing on the outside of the house gave a hint that there would be a hostel inside. We were searching for such a long time, that we already thought about camping in a backyard, as we were really tired. Luckily at this time in the night one of the hostel guests went outside to smoke a cigarette, so he could bring us to the hostel which was nothing more than an apartment occupied by many inhabitants. At least everybody was really relaxed and we could stay until 1 PM on the next day, so we finally got enough sleep in the end. Having such a difficult start in Moscow the mood could only get better on the next day. We first visited, typically for tourists, the Red Place in the center of Moscow but the bad weather brought us down to the earth. Like literally! We decided to visit the subway network of Moscow, which is really worth it spending some time just traveling from station to station.
As we have slept so long, the day was almost over after that. The late afternoon we split up, as Steph had to check in at her hostel close to the center and we would meet our Couchsurfing host. We met Anna, a student in our age and made our way to her apartment where she lived with her family. Like the most of Moscow’s inhabitants, Anna lived more on the edge of the city in one of those endless buildings made from prefabricated slabs. Those weren’t really nice to look at but they fulfilled their purposes, as Moscow is a really fast growing city.
If you aren’t so serious about the outside appearance of those buildings and you furnish your apartment nicely it can be worth living there as well. Only the contrast between the city center with its splendid European style and the sometimes really decayed suburbs was immense. So we slept the first night at Annas home, whose parents weren’t at home at this time. The next day we went to the city again.
As Phia knew a friend living close to Moscow, we met her at this day. We went over the Red Place again, as there was our meeting point and we had some better weather now.
Afterward, Anna had to got to attend some lessons at her university, so Phia and I had time to see more of Moscow. Once more we had the advantage to know locals because this afternoon we visited a beautiful park a bit outside of the city center, where a replica of a traditional Russian fort was built.
Furthermore, gigantic public apple plantations were designed in this park, where everybody was allowed to pick some apples. The only problem about that was, that there were barely any apples left. The tragedy of the Commons in the middle of Moscow, geography at it’s finest! The walk through the Park Kolomenskoje really developed to be a highlight of Moscow, because next to the wooden fort and the apple plantations there were lots of artworks, chapels and churches all over the place.
Only in the afternoon, we met Anna and Steph again. She had an amazing surprise for the evening. We took the subway to one of the state universities of Moscow, a really breathtaking building, which was completely lit at night.
Not far from there we had an amazing view over the huge city. Wow! And nice for me to do some night photography.
The last day of our stay in Moscow we thought about rewarding Anna for her receptivity by preparing a breakfast. Not any breakfast. A Kaiserschmarrn, which is an Austrian dessert. Luckily Phia was a bit more skilled in the kitchen than me, because I didn’t cook this dessert before. All in all the result was more than delicious! Well, our mission to share a bit of our culture in Moscow was done with that. For me, it was the last day at Annas home, as I would sleep the last night in the same hostel as Steph, in order to get to the Airport earlier on the following day. One of the large disadvantages of such a megacity like Moscow! You really need a lot of time to get from A to B. We still had the whole day to see more of the city, so we drove in the town again. We had no real plan what to do, so we decided to buy some tickets to get inside the Kremlin. Whoa, where did we get there? Surrounded by thousands of Chinese tourists we made our way to the large yard. Moscow was generally a really popular destination for Chinese tourists, but the inside of the Kremlin topped everything. Barely any second passed by, where we weren’t part of any picture all those tourists were taking. Actually, the buildings inside the Kremlin were quite nice, but most of them could be seen from the outside even in a better view.
As we already paid for the entrance we spent some more time in the small park in the yard and made some fun of all the other tourists making selfies. The Evening we met Anna for the last time to have one or another beer. We found a small pub next to the train station where my train would go very early the next morning. Because of that, we didn’t stay out for too long.
At 4:45 AM my alarm went off and I made my way to the train station. I couldn’t go by subway, as it wasn’t running that early in the morning, so I had to walk one stop. One of the most memorable walks that I ever walked. At least it felt like that, as I walked through the emptied roads of Moscow, still a bit sleepy but clear in my head. I didn’t even bother to go on the sidewalk, as there came no cars anyways. Instead, I marched through the urban canyons, the rising sun glaring my eyes from time to time and was lucky about all the adventures I was able to experience over the last two weeks and that everything went so well. Bye bye Russia, we will see each other again!