Monday, March 28, 2016

Good Feelings in Moscow

Friday morning I found myself on a direct flight Munich - Moscow. If you would have asked me Thursday night, my feelings about the trip weren't exactly the most positive. I was exhausted from the last few weeks of work and felt like the only thing I wanted out of my long weekend was sleep. Luckily, Friday was full of pleasant surprises and positive experiences and my trip was off to a lovely start.

Even though I found myself in the middle of a row of three on the plane, on the plus side it was an emergency exit row and I had plenty of room to stretch out my legs. I was flying with S7 airlines and didn't have very high service expectations as I have always been under the impression that it is a budget airline. I was certainly surprised then to receive blankets, newspapers, and in flight meal service on a little less than 3 hour flight. After lunch I dozed off for a little bit and woke up just before landing. Once we landed I made my way through passport control and the boarder officer was FRIENDLY  - if you've ever been to Russia you understand just how unbelievable that is!

Since everything moved on right along I was able to catch the express train to the city right away and enjoyed the train's on-board WiFi. And to add to my nice experience, a friendly middle-aged woman planted herself next to me on the train and struck up a friendly conversation. Again, not exactly typical Russian. She told me about her son who studies in Msocow and people she knows living in the US. We talked about the best places to visit in Moscow and the refugee crises in Europe. We discussed the differences between Western and Orthodox Easter, maslinitsa, and Lent. And before I knew it we were already pulling up to the train station and parting ways.

My hostel was incredibly easy to find and I was just as impressed with the hostel as the photos online had led me to believe I would be. Honestly, this hostel is one of, if not THE, nicest hostels I've ever stayed in. The beds aren't your typical squeaking hostel bunk beds, but solid wooden bedframes built into the wall. Each bed has it's own curtain for a little privacy as well as a lamp and outlet (none of that fighting for the only outlet in the room nonsense). The bathrooms and showers are clean and modern and the kitchen and common area are cozy and inviting. The staff is super friendly and helpful and wants to make you feel like you're at home. Honestly, if you're looking for an affordable positive hostel experience in Mosocw - check out Good Mood Hostel! When I checked in and showed my passport the receptionist called me a "путешественница" And while showing me around the hostel she wanted to know, "А как это получается, что ты так хорошо по-русски говоришь?", which I was happy to hear after feeling like I don't have any opportunity to practice my Russian recently.

After settling in and having a cup of tea I headed out to meet up with my brother! As soon as I knew that he would be studying in St. Petersburg this semester, I started making plans for a visit over Easter break. It just so happened that his group was going to be in Moscow this weekend, so off I flew to the capital for the weekend. I can't imagine that my mom ever thought two of her children would be meeting up in Moscow one day!

Once we had met up we headed off in search of something to eat and ended up popping into B&B Burgers and trying their "Чикаго" Burger. When we decided to grab a beer with dinner, they asked to see my ID. I had to laugh, as this is a country where they only ask if they really think you aren't old enough and the beer drinking age is 18! Apparently I look verrryyy young.


After dinner we had a walk around the city, catching a view of Red Square at night, strolling through ГУМ, seeing the Большой Театр all lit up and eventually sitting down in a fun little English Pub until the boys had to get going in order to catch the metro before midnight.






 


My first day in Moscow far exceeded any expectations I had. I had only positive experiences and the people were so much friendlier than I have previously witnessed in Moscow and Russia in general. Are the Russian people changing? Is it just Moscow? Or was I just really lucky? 

3 comments:

  1. How exciting that your brother is studying abroad in Russia!!! :) Did his interest in that region develop through your adventures or independently?

    Still can't believe the officer was friendly :p Hope your good luck held for the rest of the visit there.

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    1. I think it was a bit of both, really. He developed an interest in the region on his own and once he saw all of the great experiences I was having he decided it would be pretty great to check it out himself.

      And yes! My luck did hold! I had absolutely the best time in Moscow full of tons of positive experiences!

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    2. Good to hear that :) I'm off to read your new post!

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