The title sounds more sinister than it is meant to be. I am very fine! I found a map which has both the Russian and the touristy names on it, and it makes live so much easier in Moscow. It is absolutely necessary to have with you if you want to find your way without having to annoy people all the time. Moscow and I are good friends now, all the fears of getting lost are gone, the weather is still absolutely amazing, cold, a deep blue sky, snow, sunshine and even the moon is there to pop up on some of my pictures.
I wrote “Underworld” because
I am a hopeless Nighy addict I have set the next step in my Moscow Metro adventure, which is changing between Metro lines. This might sound easy to you, but boy it feels like the Da Vinci Code every time you have to change and find the right station to step out. Yesterday it was too intimidating at times, today I think it is big fun! So I decided to discover some of Moscow’s Underworld, and got rewarded with some of the most beautiful metro stations I have ever seen. They are absolutely amazing, beautifully decorated and I am afraid that I have to say that they win over those London. When I don’t see serious looking intimidating Russian police men walking around (they are all over the place everywhere I go) I take as many pictures as I can, of both the Metro, the Underworld and the world above. My camera works fine in the cold.
The Metro trains are running very regularly, every 2-3 minutes, and it is very convenient to travel this way, fast and effective. Apart from the Metro there really is a whole Underworld in Moscow, lots of small shops selling everything from hats to cakes, and it is nice and warm deep down below. The only thing missing is Viktor!
Talking about Viktor, I ran into the Russian DVD version of Love Actually, which I of course had to take a picture of, Bill Nighy in Russian was just to good to miss, and it put a big smile on my face to find exactly that film in a big supermarket. It was very prominently on display, and I couldn’t help thinking that it was there to assure me that things will be fine on this trip.
I still manage to survive without a hat. My ears nearly fall off now and then, but I look really ridiculous with a hat, so as long as my ears are still there – no fur hat for me. I have been offered several of them already by clever sales men – but no can do. More and more people are starting to talk Russian to me, so it seems that I don’t look that touristy and lost anymore. Sorry to disappoint them telling them I can’t understand what they are saying.
I visited a big Cathedral today (forgot the name), located near the Moscow river (which is totally frozen – amazing!). Lots of churches here have gold coloured roofs which is very different from what our churches look like. It was free to have a look inside, it was huge and really very impressive. There was a bridge over the Moscow river from the church, from where you had an excellent view on the Kremlin and the St Basil church (the famous colour full soap bubbly one on the Red Square) and while standing there in the sun looking over the city I realized that I had become good friends with Moscow. We had a tough start, but I feel relaxed now, and I enjoy the city. I drink hot chocolate, I read the Moscow Times (free – and in English), I know how to change Metro lines, and I know where my Yaroslavsky train station is, the one I will depart from tomorrow to China. I still find that thought a bit surreal, actually stepping off the train in China.
I am trying to calculate how much money I need to take with my on the train. Meals shouldn’t be more than 200 Rubels per meal (= about 4 pound) and a bit of pocket money for food to buy on stations, that should do it.
I am amazed that I actually can manage in a city where I don’t speak the language, and where no one seems to speak mine. Communication goes with hands and a lot of goodwill, and people are helpful. It’s a bit like Babel (the movie). It is actually a very beautiful thing, to be able to communicate like this.
I guess I am as prepared as I can be for the train ride. My Lonely Planet guide assures me that the cabins are well heated in the winter, so things will be fine.
So yes. I am having a great time here.
With Love Actually,