Driven km: 0
Walked km: ca. 14-15
Our day yesterday did not work out as initially planned because we wanted to spend the morning in the museums and the afternoon in the city center. But the museums were too exciting and time consuming so we had to prolong our stay in Moscow to have one additional day for sightseeing and being a tourist. Both of us are a type of person who doesn't really like very touristic areas so we were not really looking forward to visiting these places. But we always do a round at the postcard sights as well not to leave out any part of the experience.
We left to the metro station and took the metro from the hotel to the center. The metro cars are exactly the same as in Budapest, so if you have travelled at any point by the old metro cars in Budapest then you will have an idea how the experience is. Let us tell you two words to describe it in a nutshell: loud and old-fashioned. Anyhow we were also looking forward to seeing the very nice metro stations we heard about before on TV and read online. However we realized when going down to the stations that there are almost a hundred stations in Moscow and only a handful of those are made nice. The rest of the stations are just plain and ordinary. It was a bit of a disappointment because our understanding was wrong and most of the stations are just simple. As we saw later on the map and on the lists of interesting stations probably the line Nr. 5 that goes in a circle has the nice stations and the rest are ok or simple and plain. Actually the best looking station we saw was the VDNH, which was at our hotel. Here are some pictures to demonstrate. The bottom one is the VDNH station.
We took the metro to the center and got off next to the presidential office building where the "Boss" works.
Then we walked to the Red Square because we wanted to complete our bouquet of mausoleums of influential leaders by visiting the Lenin mausoleum. However the same thing is ongoing in Moscow and in the center as what we saw along the road from Volgograd to Moscow: there is construction work everywhere. The Russians seem to take the FIFA cup very seriously and prepare for that by rebuilding everything. Even many of the touristic areas, the parks, the streets are currently under construction or big holes are yet to be filled, asphalt is being laid, etc. so here are few pictures from our route to the Red Square with the ongoing construction visible in almost all of the pictures as it was unavoidable so we rather composed it in the pictures. This is at least a unique situation in which one cannot see Moscow normally so we enjoyed it in the end. We were only really sad that we could not visit the mausoleum as the square around it was also closed down.
Along the way to the Red Square:
What we immediately disliked as we arrived was the crowd at the Red Square. People everywhere and everyone was running around with photo cameras, mobile phones on selfie sticks and some even with handheld video cameras. They all wanted to have the perfect shot and were trying to take selfies or pictures of each other with the sights in the background. Of course we also made few pictures just to have them here on the blog as well but we both think that you are better off looking up these places online and you will find probably thousands of pictures of them and many of those will be much better than ours are.
The sights at the Red Square:
Then we walked further through the Alexandrovsky Garden. Again here we were faced with the immense volumes of tourists moving around almost like a river. And probably on this particular day there were not even that many tourist here because the weather was really tricky and every 30 minute there was some change in the weather conditions. Nevertheless we again made the note to ourselves that we really dislike such touristic places. This is not due to the crowd, which of course is also disliked by us, but rather due to the fact that at such places there are no locals. We really have the feeling that these places are prepared and maintained like a box of jewels. They are meticulously clean and organized. However there is no life at these sights. This seems like a contradiction because there are thousands of people moving around but at the same time these are only visitors who pass through and take pictures. There is no one actually living at these places. There is no one just hanging out with friends or just sitting and reading or whatever. So the places in the center and around became just empty shells of a beautiful city center.
Nevertheless we decided that we will go in the Kremlin as well just to see it if we are already here but did not expect much of an enjoyment and experience. To get in the Kremlin you have to buy a ticket. There are huge lines in front of the ticket office. The best advice we can give you is to buy the ticket in advance online or if you are at the ticket office building then just head inside and there are two machines for self service customers, where you can buy your ticket usually without standing in the line. Otherwise you will spend at least 30-40 minutes in the line. We entered the Kremlin through the Kutafiya Tower, which is the main entrance. This was a mistake. There were huge crowds completely unorganized in front of the ticket control gate and everyone was pushing everyone around just got to the front and enter. It took us here another 10-15 minutes to push through. Then a security check is performed, which takes some more time and some more waiting before getting in to the Kremlin itself. As we left the Kremlin through another gate we saw that there was a possibility to enter there as well. So if you plan to visit the Kremlin we suggest to you now the best way to do it: buy your ticket online in advance and enter through the Borovitskaya Tower. This entrance/exit is hardly used as we saw it and will take you first to the Armory (there is a separate ticket for that) and then to the central square. Much more convenient. Then you can leave the Kremlin through the Spasskaya Tower, which is leading to the Red Square and is an exit only gate.
In the Kremlin there are a lot of churches and we only went into two of them (Cathedral of the Annunciation and Cathedral of the Archangel) and took only two pictures inside of the second cathedral because it is not allowed to take pictures in the churches but we wanted to show the ceiling with the murals on it as it was quite unique. Otherwise you have to stand in long lines in front of the churches before you can get in. We really did not enjoy these visits either because everything was so overcrowded that we did not have the space and time to actually start enjoying and actually really looking at the murals and icons. So we did the same as every other tourist does: we stood in the line, we rushed in the church, we did walk one round and looked at things with admiration and then walked out.
Outside we saw the Tsar Cannon and the Tsar Bell. There are guards around who protect the streets, where almost no cars are moving because this is a limited entry area. But in case you step even with one foot on the street from the pedestrian zone you will hear a loud whistle and someone rushing towards you and telling you to move back to the sidewalk. Very well organized guards who take their duty very seriously. 😁
As already mentioned we exited the Kremlin through the Borovitskaya Tower where we found the Monument to Prince Vladimir with some really detailed and amazing bronze reliefs behind it.
From there we decided to cross the Moskva River and walk towards South to the Muzeon Park of Arts and then continue to the Gorky Park.
In the Muzeon Park of Arts we decided to grab some food as well. Zsuzsi initially wanted to eat in a My-My (pronounced mu-mu) which is a local fast food restaurant chain but we did not find any of those in this part of the city. So we instead walked into a beach bar like pub and ate a hot dog and a burger while watching the kids and adults dancing, playing and running through the water fountain outside. (We think we already mentioned that Russians will always get into the water if they see some 😂)
The atmosphere in this park was really great. There were some open buildings that acted like galleries for amateur artists who wanted to exhibit and sell their artworks. What a great idea. It is an art show and an art market at the same time.
Then there was some exhibition of graffiti art mixed with some reflective mirrors and a DJ played some good music while people were walking around.
The Gorky Park was a huge favorite of Zsuzsi, who really wanted to see it. It is a recreational park with so many things to do that both of us were really stunned by this place. There is music playing everywhere. There are lakes and fountains and trees and open fields like in any conventional park. But in this one there are all kinds of sports that you can also play.
And Adidas had some happening organized where you could take part in various games and competitions (basketball, soccer, PS4, skateboarding, etc.):
And at the Adidas facility they just had the 'Basemoscow' freestyle rap competition. Freestyle rap battle finalists video: Video
All in all the Gorky Park was a really great place. We even got some rain pouring down at us for some 15 minutes followed by nice sunshine again. From the Gory Park we took a pedestrian bridge to cross the river again towards North.
There we crossed the Youth Park and headed towards Arbat Street, which is one of the main walking and tourist streets of Moscow. There were a lot of street performances everywhere in the street. Not only music was played but jugglers and even stand up comedians were performing. There are a lot coffees and restaurants in this street but all are for tourists with tourist prices. Nevertheless it is worthwhile to take a walk in this street. Here is a short clip of a nice band performing: Video
From the Arbat Street we wanted to try a typical Moscow bar and got some good suggestions from a friend who found some places online. We choose the place called Duma. The description online said that this is a hidden place with live music and DJs with good food and drinks. Since it was hidden we thought that not that many tourist will be there and we will see the local Saturday night bar life. It was in fact hidden but very central and it took us some time to find it within a garden between some hospital like buildings. In the end the place looked really nice and had a great atmosphere. However it seems that it is so much hidden that even locals do not go there. 😅 It was already 9:30 PM by the time we got there and there was no single person in the bar besides us. 😲 Nevertheless we decided to stay and drink a beer and a rye moonshine and grab some snacks with the beers. The place was not that cheap and we ended up paying ca. €30 but nevertheless we had at least this experience as well.
After this we headed to the metro station Okhotny Ryad and went back to the hotel.
All-in-all we had a quite fulfilling day with the whole Moscow experience and we were really tired in the end of the many things we saw and the many km we walked.
Map of our round in Moscow: