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Author Topic: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!  (Read 12556 times)

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Offline censu

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Well after what seems like many many months of chatting with Natalia in Moscow, I'm finally here. I think we started emailing in July. Various (now) unimportant reasons why it took 5 months to get here.

Anyway I arrived last night, cleared customs with no issue. Poor Natalia was waiting for an hour for me, but she looked very happy to see me, as I was to see her. She was surprised I recognized her which I found curious. Not like I've not studied her pics once or twice haha

She's very open and very touchy feely which surprised me (in a nice way) from many things I've read on here. She offered to carry a bag for me, that was really nice, naturally I said no. She remembered from a phone call a week before I wanted to stop for milk and bread and sure enough she took me to a 'soviet style' shop on the way home. She also saved me from possibly the worse night in Moscow possible. I decided before I left to exchange her phone number with my landlady. My landlady called her and basically told her she'd had a couple in the apartment that were staying for another night so wanted to put me in a diff apt for one night then move me into this one the following night. Natalia was having none of that and pushed her. Long story short, I got the apartment on schedule (and was completely oblivious to this whole thing until after I got to the apartment). Natalia and the landlady's daughter (who met us at the metro station) escorted me here and made sure I was all settled before they left. When you consider the alternative and not being able to speak/read/write Russian, it could have been the worse night of my life. Natalia was a blessing!

She also surprised me on the train with a beautiful guide book of Russia with a pull out map, both in English. She also produced a Russian sim card, paid for it herself and refused to take my money for it. Seems like (as I always suspected) a really nice person. I gave her 500 Rubles to get a train ticket, not having a clue how much it cost, she came back with both the ticket and change. I didn't do that as a test, I did it because as she says I'm a "lazy man" when it comes to studying Russian  :laugh: but if ever I needed to test her, she has already passed with every action, not just that one.

Oh, and the poor gal has a terrible cold, been off work for days, but still came to meet me. She was home again today and I didn't get to see her, but it gave me time to explore my general area. I got a good 3-4 hour walk in (never do that in new boots, my feet are killing me, not to mention blisters!). It was only -12C/9F but I had a great sweat going. Found a local grocery store a few blocks away and bought a few things.

Met with the landlady today, she handled my registration for $50 and did EVERYTHING for me. I didn't even leave the apartment. What great service. In fact she was concerned from Natalia that I wasn't happy with the room, when in fact the confusion was nothing more than it's not the apartment from the pictures (it's bigger actually) and the Internet wasn't working (faulty coax cable, all fixed now). She was so concerned she brought Uncle Pasha along and they were prepared to make me happy with a few various options, as long as I make Natalia know to lay off with the phone calls haha. Great people.

So far my first impression of Moscow is great. Even found a Starbucks and watched the beautiful women come and go. Met a business man from Denmark and had a bit of a chat with him.

Will have more to report tomorrow and new pics.

If it's OK with the moderators I'll put links to my flickr page instead of loading the pics on here. If not, let me know and I'll manually add the photos. Just think this will help with not bogging down this site.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/15122286@N04/sets/72157625492884323/with/5268780241/

C

Offline Vinnvinny

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2010, 02:40:32 PM »
I hope you have a great trip 'C'.  tiphat


Edit: BTW, we want to see photo's of people, not loaves of bread! :)

Offline MBS01

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2010, 05:01:22 PM »
Nice start:
Not sure I understand where/to you needed you and your lady to take a train to?  Was this how you got from the airport to Moscow?  I know there are various train stations from Moscow to all parts of Russia and beyond.  Yes I have been on various ones in the both local and long distance.

Glad you are enjoying the stay to date.  Of course looking forward to hearing more about the trip, but most of all wishing you a wonderful time while in the FSU and hope it all works out for you.


Offline cufflinks

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2010, 05:08:28 PM »
Great pics brings back memories of my Apt off Novy Arbat by the lights of the Lotte building at night March 2010 ;)

Have a great trip and Happy Holidays to both you and Natalia - she seems like a wonderful lady...

Offline Vinnvinny

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2010, 05:18:38 PM »
Update: Cuffy wants to see more pics of bread ....

Offline cufflinks

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2010, 05:24:07 PM »
Update: Cuffy wants to see more pics of bread ....

Bread or "Bizcuits" especially with a little butter as in melt a little on em (slang in new jersey for hot butter melting chicks) is fine by me ... Yo Santa Vinneee where's the love Bro?

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2010, 05:47:02 PM »
Vinny wants to see the ladies people.   :chuckle:   tiphat

Censu, I almost did a double take at your photos. At first glance in some respects the apartment almost looks like the one I first moved into upon my first full tour of Moscow. The front entry and the living room are almost identical in layout and wall paper. I had to get out some original photos to compare and then noticed the differences in the kitchen area especially. The balcony doors and windows off the "living room" are amazingly similar but of course those buildings were built in true "cookie cutter" style so lots of layouts across Moscow will be the same.

Do include some ladies for Vinny but please continue with photos of the surroundings, and of course more bread! Cuffy and I are old farts and at this stage in life food is an aphrodisiac.   :chuckle:

I hope that you are having fun and thanks for starting your report!


Offline Vinnvinny

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2010, 06:09:43 PM »
Yo Santa Vinneee where's the love Bro?

It'll be (hic) along in a (hic) minute.

Vinny wants to see the ladies people.   :chuckle:   tiphat

Ok, ok, ok! More bread pics please.  :reading:

Offline censu

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2010, 06:39:41 PM »
That's odd, I replied with a post earlier and it's now showing, perhaps I forgot to hit post. It's been a long night. Never sleep well on my second night when there's a good time change involved.

Anyway, Natalia wants to meet me somewhere tomorrow to save time of her coming to the apartment first. But since I don't speak/read/write Russian (will correct that for next trip), anyone have any tips for a tourist in Moscow that needs to use the Metro?

Thanks

C

Offline Derjk

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2010, 08:16:36 PM »
If you got a PDA with you then I suggest getting the metro app.
I used it with an unlocked iphone when I toured EU last month. I was able to navigate thru 7 countries wiith it.
You should check if they cover the FSU before buying it.

http://www.nanika.net/metro/

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2010, 12:46:40 AM »
Censu, there is a handy RUA guide to the Moscow Metro here: http://ruadventures.com/forum/index.php/topic,9049.msg127584.html#msg127584

Online shakespear

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2010, 11:36:06 AM »
My suggestions are:

1)  get comfortable using trhe Moscow Metro as quickly as possible. 

2)  let me know if you and your ladyfriend need any connections of restaurants/clubs to go in the evening.  I can make some good connections for you and possibly get you in to some places you might not be able to access on your own. 
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun" - Katharine Hepburn

Online msmoby

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2010, 12:25:21 PM »
In addition to Mendy's thread here's a latin alphabet map version..  they should be available at the metro stations - esp in the middle of Moscow

http://www.go-to.ru/en/support/img/mmap.gif

Keep the report coming and the links to flickr   :popcorn:


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2010, 02:06:19 PM »
Moby, hope all is well. Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

Hope you don't mind if I link a more up-to-date Metro map here: http://engl.mosmetro.ru/flash/scheme01.html

If you'll notice up at the top (midway between lines number 9 and 6) there is a new(er) blue line extenion (M1) that is complete.

One of the quickest ways to determine whether a map is current is to check at the centre/left side: at line 4 you can see that the Park Pobedy extension (dark blue) is complete. Many online maps don't yet show this although this has been completed for quite some time.

Other additions: At the bottom/centre starting at lines number 6 and 9, and at the bottom/right lines 11 and 2 have new additions shown. Going back up along the centre/right you can see new stations at lines 7 and 9.

The beauty of this map is that the stations are listed in both Cyrillic and in English. And importantly, it is interactive: click on any originating station, then click on the destination station and presto, your exact route is shown in black along with the estimated time of travel.

http://engl.mosmetro.ru/flash/scheme01.html

Moby is of course right that maps are available at the Metro. You'll find a minimum of 3 per wagon (6 in newer wagons), and most stations have a tall "Information column" in the hall with a large map.

Offline censu

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2010, 03:34:10 PM »
Day 2, the good, the bad and the not so ugly.

Today was my 2nd full day here in Moscow and other than almost getting run over, twice, by the same cab, I had a great day.

OK, the good. I got to spend 6 hours with Natalia today and realized something very important. She has a quality that very few women have (for me), her smile puts me into a trance. There are times I don't hear what she says. I'm 43 and this has only happened a few times. It's a really good sign (from my perspective). We went somewhere that you'll likely recognize from my pics, but I can't remember the name, I believe it had an A sound in it, so how many places could it be right? (it's one stop past Red Square and there's a Hard Rock cafe there) :chuckle:

We had a lovely dinner at a Russian restaurant, I tried Borscht for the first time and much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. We ordered a shot each of Samogon (did I get that right? home made Vodka). I also ordered a dish that she says was very Russian, but it was basically beef stew with Buckwheat, was really good. We had a great conversation, she's so refreshingly intelligent and great sense of humor. She was making a lot of eye contact and playing with her hair all the time. All the great things an observant guy wants to see.

We even casually talked about the future and the possibility of her visiting me in the US, which she instantly said yes to. I live in Virginia but told her about San Deigo and showed her pics and she really wants to go there. Jokingly she said we can start there and then move to Australia later (that comment will make sense soon, read on).

Toward the end of dinner she pulled out paper with schedule times for trains for how to get back to the airport on Thursday as she'll be working and I'll be flying solo. Then she turned it over and wrote down very detailed instructions on how to get to Red Square, The Armory, Diamond Fun, Pushkin museum and Tretyakov Gallery. Then after we left, she and I walked, arm in arm, to the metro and she then took me to each of these metro stations (for places mentioned above) and showed me where to exit, what end of the train to get on/off at. I was very impressed with her help. And she was not feeling good, her throat was really starting to hurt her again and she was fatigued.

The bad. She's still quite sick and missed much work over the past 2-3 months and as a result is always playing catch up and a 12 hour day is the norm, and weekends are frequent also. Her doctor told her that her immune system is weak and she really needs to find a warmer climate to move to. She's been interested in and visited Australia and wants to move there. In fact over a year ago, long before we started chatting she started the paper work to move there. I have nothing but respect for her taking the lead on that. FYI, I've lived in 3 countries and Australia has always been next on my list so it's anything but a deal breaker should we get that far.

She went into work briefly today and is working tomorrow from home, so I won't be seeing her tomorrow. Monday is unlikely also. We have Opera tickets for Tuesday (which she made a point of thanking me for, very nice and respectful lady). Then we'll also see each other Wednesday night, my last night here.

I went to kiss her tonight for the first time, twice actually. Both times I got check but she also kissed my cheek. I put it down to her cold and thought nothing more of it. However, when I got back to my apartment I started to think about it. I also had to call her as someone had been in my apartment during the day without my knowledge and that startled me. I'll go more into that in a bit. Anyway, when we spoke I said, hey I don't want to risk anything here by crossing any boundaries with cultural differences , but was the cheek thing just your cold or is that a Russian tradition. She said it was mostly cold, but also that my mustache would hurt her lips (for real!?!?!?). I said then we have a problem as I'm not shaving it. It's part of who I am. I also said I think it's unfair that I'd have to change myself for you. She said that's not so. I said basically it is, if I want to kiss you then I'll have to shave. To her credit she said next time she'll try. I've never heard of that being a problem before.

My apartment invasion. Turns out my landlady had one of her people show the apartment as it's for sale. She had Uncle Pasha call me but I didn't notice he called till many hours later. Ha, I only knew one person in Moscow and was having dinner with her so wasn't really paying attention to my phone. Natalia was very angry about this and offered to hold my money for me but I declined as I'm not certain when we'll see each other. She called back 5 min later and suggested I change the lock or get a locker at the train station to put my valuables in. Another admirable trait from her.

So I ask you, is she just being a great and gracious host (which I heard is very common for Russians, to be great hosts) or is she interested. Now I'm left with the dilemma, do I say nothing and enjoy our time together, or do I tell her whats on my mind. That I haven't driven over from the next town, I've flown 17 hours to get here and really feel like I'm being cheated in some way. Let me clear that by saying, she's not cheating on me, I have complete confidence and trust in her. I also know she's been ill and balancing things as best she can, but it's bothering me that it's at best every other day I'm seeing her. She did tell me at dinner she felt it was a pity she can't spend more time with me. I really have had no Red flags with her, but is this normal behavior or should I be concerned? The corker of it is, tonight was the first night I truly felt I could fall for her. Until now she's been virtual and mysterious, tonight I feel the initial connection truly bonded.

The not so ugly. How is it possible there are so many good looking women here. I've heard it but didn't believe it. Tonight I was chatting with Nat over dinner thinking how beautiful she is and how electrifying her smile is and this women walked by that almost made me lose my religion. I then look back at Nat and think, dam (Nat) you're beautiful. On the metro home (we went separate ways, she cut the cord so speak with me and Moscow metro, tomorrow I'll put my big boy pants on and try it for myself. Anyway, I was trying hard not to get whip lash looking at all the beautiful women. There were 3 standing next to me that could all have been top end models, unreal!

Anyway, here are some pics I took today.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/15122286@N04/5271620845/in/photostream/

C

Online shakespear

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2010, 03:38:50 PM »
Moby is of course right that maps are available at the Metro. You'll find a minimum of 3 per wagon (6 in newer wagons), and most stations have a tall "Information column" in the hall with a large map.

It's the crossovers from line to line that tend to be the most confusing for neophytes to Moscow Metro travel.

Once you get the hang of that, you'll discover that it is the most efficient, quickest and least expensive way to get around Moscow.

The "commies" didn't get much right, but they absolutely "nailed" the concept of efficient and clean public transportation.    
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun" - Katharine Hepburn

Online shakespear

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2010, 03:40:06 PM »
OK, the good. I got to spend 6 hours with Natalia today and realized something very important. She has a quality that very few women have (for me), her smile puts me into a trance. There are times I don't hear what she says. I'm 43 and this has only happened a few times. It's a really good sign (from my perspective). We went somewhere that you'll likely recognize from my pics, but I can't remember the name, I believe it had an A sound in it, so how many places could it be right? (it's one stop past Red Square and there's a Hard Rock cafe there) :chuckle: 

Perhaps "Arbat"?
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun" - Katharine Hepburn

Online shakespear

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2010, 03:47:57 PM »
I went to kiss her tonight for the first time, twice actually. Both times I got check but she also kissed my cheek. I put it down to her cold and thought nothing more of it. However, when I got back to my apartment I started to think about it. I also had to call her as someone had been in my apartment during the day without my knowledge and that startled me. I'll go more into that in a bit. Anyway, when we spoke I said, hey I don't want to risk anything here by crossing any boundaries with cultural differences , but was the cheek thing just your cold or is that a Russian tradition. She said it was mostly cold, but also that my mustache would hurt her lips (for real!?!?!?). I said then we have a problem as I'm not shaving it. It's part of who I am. I also said I think it's unfair that I'd have to change myself for you. She said that's not so. I said basically it is, if I want to kiss you then I'll have to shave. To her credit she said next time she'll try. I've never heard of that being a problem before. 

She's sick so I'm guessing her refusal to return an intimate kiss had much to do with that fact.

Facial hair is not as common amongst younger men in Russia as it is in the USA.  If you really like this girl, I'd invest in a razor.
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun" - Katharine Hepburn

Offline censu

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2010, 03:58:45 PM »
Yes I believe she said Arbat, thank you!.

I'm off to bed, off to Red Square tomorrow, will be doing a lot of walking so need some shut eye.

So far, Natalia or not, I'm loving Moscow, but she's certainly the Cherry on the ice-ing  :ROFL:

C

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2010, 04:04:13 PM »
....tomorrow I'll put my big boy pants on and try it for myself. Anyway, I was trying hard not to get whip lash looking at all the beautiful women. There were 3 standing next to me that could all have been top end models, unreal! 

If you are interested, I could put you in touch with a couple of my American Moscow-ex-pat buddies.  They'd be glad to entertain a first-time visitor to Moscow and I bet you'd enjoy spending a few hours with some smiling faces that spoke your language. 

If you'd like for me to help set something up for you, get in touch with me by PM as soon as possible.

For Sunday Brunch, I highly recommend La Cantina Restaurant on Tverskaya (1/2 block north of the Ritz Carelton and on the same side of the street).  It's about a 200m walk from the Teatrainaya Station on the Red Line.  They have a Sunday Brunch Special for 550pyb that is absolutely fantastic.  I'm assuming you like Mexican food.

During my first Moscow visit back in 1997, I had a meal at this same place.

What is the closest Metro Station to your apartment?
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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2010, 04:06:57 PM »
I'm off to bed, off to Red Square tomorrow, will be doing a lot of walking so need some shut eye.

The Mexican Restaurant I described in my previous post is less than a 500m walk from the northern entrance to Red Square.  That is the opposite entrance from St Baisils Cathedreal.

Keep your wallet in a front pocket while in Moscow. 
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun" - Katharine Hepburn

Offline censu

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2010, 05:43:41 PM »
Well it's 3:30am and I still haven't adapted to the time diff.

Anyway, the closest station to me is Bellarusskaya but I worked over to the Starbucks yesterday at Vasil'evskaya and tverskaya so I know the general area. The brunch thing sounds like fun, is it Russian fair? Trying to go as Russian as possible here. If not, then the Mexican place at the square sounds good too, assuming the menus are in English also.

As for hooking me up with ex pats, sure, I'll email you my cell. I'm having dinner with a woman named Elena on Monday, she's a friend of a friend of a friend back in the US. Nothing romantic but she's been very helpful via emails. I told Natalia about her tonight actually and invited her along. She told me to go by myself. I told her not to worry, told her I was only interested in her and had no idea what this person looked like and might be 80, but she replied, she might be 20 and beautiful. That's when I realized my good intentions bit me in the ass. I invited her again but no dice.

Any suggestions for time/cost saving at Red Square tomorrow? I also want to buy some matryoshka doll's for friends back in the US. It's there a market around there where they are cheaper?

Thanks

C

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2010, 06:13:15 PM »
Anyway, the closest station to me is Bellarusskaya but I worked over to the Starbucks yesterday at Vasil'evskaya and tverskaya so I know the general area. The brunch thing sounds like fun, is it Russian fair? Trying to go as Russian as possible here. If not, then the Mexican place at the square sounds good too, assuming the menus are in English also. 

The Mexican Restaurant (La Cantina) definitely has English menus.  I think the Special is available until 2pm.

Belorusskaya is a very convenient location.  Take the Green line 2 stations to the Tverskyaya stop and walk about 1/2 mile down the hill to Red Square.  LaCantina will be on the right side of the road just before you get to the Ritz Carelton. 

As for hooking me up with ex pats, sure, I'll email you my cell.

Great.  I'll look for your PM.

Any suggestions for time/cost saving at Red Square tomorrow? I also want to buy some matryoshka doll's for friends back in the US. It's there a market around there where they are cheaper? 

Most expensive at the airport.  There will be sellers in kiosks on Red Square and Arbat.  It's been years since I've tried to purchase such items but last time I did the sellers were always open to "negotiate" the price.  Assume you can pay at least 33% less than what they post as the selling price.  Not sure this goes for shops and stores.  Your ladyfriend on Monday or Wednesday can be quite helpful to you in this regard.   
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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2010, 08:10:11 PM »
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We went somewhere that you'll likely recognize from my pics, but I can't remember the name, I believe it had an A sound in it, so how many places could it be right? (it's one stop past Red Square and there's a Hard Rock cafe there)

From your photos it was definitely Arbat. You even got a photo of Pushkin's house on old Arbat in your photos!

I thought you might be near Belorusskaya Metro judging on the style of the apartment. You are also close to Mendeleyevskaya.

Don't buy souvenirs around Red Square. You passed lots of kiosks and shops with plenty as you walked Arbat. Better to go back there as the street shops will have nicer quality. The best souvenir prices from where you are is the Izmalovo market. Just 30 minutes from you by Metro, go south to the centre and at the Plaza of the Revolution get on the Arbat line (blue #3) east/northeast. Get off at the Izmalovskay stop and walk to the market.

Offline Paul

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Re: Finally I get to make a trip report of my own. In Moscow and loving it!
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2010, 10:44:51 PM »
I love the pictures! I believe the monument is dedicated to Georgia. Is it near a really funky looking supermarket?