I wasn’t very excited about my brief stop in Moscow as it was never a place that I’d felt the urge to visit. It did, however, offer really cheap flights to Taipei where I wanted to go first in Asia, so I decided to incorporate it into my itinerary and spend 24 hours there to see the major sites before heading off towards Asia.
I landed in Moscow and immediately I ran into problems. I’d originally planned to take the metro to my hostel but as soon as I got to the station and tried to compare my scribbled down notes with the Cyrillic signs I realised that I had no idea where to go.
The only option left was to take a taxi.
Of course, sticking with my theme of doing stupid things whilst travelling, I managed to get into a completely dodgy taxi where I was charged over triple the price that a normal taxi would have cost me. It cost over £50 to get to my hostel.
I stepped out of the cab and tripped over falling flat on my face on the pavement as another car angrily beeped at me as it missed me by mere centimetres.
Fed up, I grabbed my things and marched into the hostel, ready to have a relaxing nap, only to find out that were overbooked and I had to go to a different hostel opposite. Of course they did.
I’d read online that my hostel was only a 5 minute walk from the Red Square and all the main attractions in Moscow. I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea, seeing as how I got ridiculously lost in Kiev, but I decided to not look at a map and assumed that as soon as I walked out of my hostel it would be obvious which way I’d have to go.
Like I did in Kiev, I walked in the exact opposite direction for several hours. This is becoming a theme for my trip.
Once I’d realised my mistake I headed back the other way and realised that yes, all the attractions had just been a few minutes walk in the opposite direction to the one I had chosen.
The first place I visited was St Basil’s Cathedral, which marks the centre of Moscow. Prior to visiting Moscow, this iconic building was what I immediately thought of when I thought of Moscow. Having seen it so many times in both photos and on TV it was really bizarre seeing it in person. I love the colours and patterns on the onion-shaped domes.
Once I passed St Basil’s I soon found out that there was a parade going on that day and unfortunately this meant that much of the Red Square was closed off to visitors so I wasn’t able to see as much as I would have liked.
As soon as I passed the security gates and entered the Red Square a group of 20 Russian teenagers squealed and ran up to me, taking photos of me on their phones whilst pointing and laughing. I walked briskly past them, patting my face to check I didn’t have anything stuck to me… I still have no idea why they took such an interest in me.
This was not a good start.
Once I exited the Red Square, I spent the remainder of my afternoon walking around the surrounding area and being amused by all of the market stalls with Russian memorabilia for sale.
And that concluded my 24 hours in Moscow!
Overall, I left feeling unimpressed with Moscow, but I did only spend about 3 hours walking around the centre.
It was the first place on my trip where I didn’t leave saying “Wow! I can’t wait to return here!”. I just didn’t get the appeal of the city and couldn’t see what the big deal was. Is it just me? Is there more to Moscow that would have made my experience better?