4 weeks ago the issue came up that we had several new colleagues in Moscow and that they needed a training. Since I do this partly anyway I had been asked if I could go there and do it. Yes, of course. Truth is that I had wanted to go to Moscow for more than 20 years so this was like winning the lottery for me. I was very happy when it was finally decided that I really should go. Getting the visum was not so difficult as one of my colleagues knows the procedure and she helped me with everything. Moscow is not like just booking a flight, hop on the plane and go... you need to book first, have a foto of yourself, have an invitation, a medical insurance for foreign countries and a letter from your employer that you are employed and how much you earn. Like I said: fortunately I had help as in the end we needed to have the visum fast and to my big surprise I had it within 3 days.
And then the big day was there on wednesday. I got up early, my driver picked me up at 5:30 AM and off we were to Duesseldorf. 50 minutes drive. There is a flight from Cologne but it is around lunch time and since I had to work in Moscow the flight times just didn't fit for me. So Lufthansa it was... Flight was uneventful (apart from the fact that it was freezing cold... *shiver*). Once arrived in Moscow I went through passport control. I had been told not to mention that I would go to work (I had a tourist visum) but since the officer was chatting with her colleague in the next booth she did not ask me anything at all. My suitcase was there when I went to the luggage belt and once outside I found someone with a sign that had my name on it. First impression: it is strange not to be able to communicate. While driving into the city I wrote a lot of emails on my Blackberry which is why I don't remember a lot.
Since I had three seats to myself I could move over to the window and take some pics before landing...
When I arrived at the hotel, I checked in and was very happy when I saw my room: two rooms plus bathroom, this was the living room.... It had a kitchenette. Nice.
I unpacked and then left the hotel for a little sightseeing before going to the office. I was fortunate because our office in Moscow is very close to the Red Square so I was able to play tourist although I didn't really have a lot of time for that. Around the corner of the hotel. I guess it was a bar (but I could be wrong...).
On the main street.... ummmmm... where to go????
Tourist boat on the Moscwa river
One of the 7 sisters (skyscrapers) in Moscow. Reminded me a little bit of the hotel Bellaggio in Las Vegas...
Church on the Moscwa river -opposite the Kremlin.
And then there it was: the Kremlin. It was still raining a little bit but while taking my pics I could already see that the sky was turning blue and that was perfect foto-weather...
Last edited by Andiline; 09-18-2011 at 11:10 AM..
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Yes, it was very special. I don't really know what I expected but it was certainly totally different. Will finish the report later today as I am going to Paris tomorrow morning and want to have this done by then.
I took my time looking at the Kremlin. I don't really want to go to a beautiful place, take pics and hurry on. I prefer to just enjoy the view at least for a couple of minutes. Finally I continued over the bridge and when being close to the most beautiful building in Moscow I found this....
And there it was: the St. Basilius Cathedral. I kept going back to admire it as I couldn't get enough of just watching at it. For me this is sort of the russian 'Taj Mahal':
As it was getting late I finally continued my walk and went on the Red Square. What you see here is the shopping mall GUM to the right and the red building in the back is the historical museum.
Main entrance to GUM.
And this is probably what we think when we hear Russia... Soldiers... (although those two don't really look like soldiers).
This small church is on Red Square as well. It is the church of gods mother of Kasan. I went inside and people were praying. I think it was an orthodox church. Bought a candle and lit it (I don't care about religion... ).
View back on the Red Square: GUM and part of the walls of the Kremlin.
Our office is in a street close to Red Square and I went to check out the exact location where I had promised to be about one hour later. Found this not very russian restaurant...
Small side street where you find Chanel and Tiffany's.
Modern architecture. There is a lot of construction going on in Moscow. My colleagues told me that Moscow has changed a lot in the last 10 years and you can see that they are restoring lots of buildings.
Not sure who that is...
Can't really read russian but I think the word in the biggest letters is 'Lenin'.
The Bolschoi Theatre...
Don't know what it says but I can imagine....
Nice car, right?
That is the hotel where my colleagues usually stay. It was booked out when I tried to book but I was happy in the other hotel - so no problem there.
Ikea is obviously everywhere....
Last edited by Andiline; 09-18-2011 at 06:40 AM..
Restaurants at the back side of the buildings of Red Square.
Red buildings everywhere...
Found out later that this is a Metro station
Finally saw something that fit in again with the picture I had about Russia...
Entrance to Red Square
Not sure what this building is but it sure looked impressive.
Back side of the historical museum
And then I saw that lots of tourists gathered in the outer area of the Kremlin so I walked over and was lucky to catch the change of guards. Boy, these guys sure can swing their legs....
Not sure if those were graves as I could not read the names on the plates.
Very special part of the Kremlin wall.
And then I couldn't resist and walked back to my favourite building...
More churches close by
Monument in front of the Basilius Cathedral.
I didn't have a lot of time left so I went to see the inside of GUM
I have to say something going with this picture. There are a lot of prejudices that say that russians drink Vodka all the time. I can not really confirm that. In fact none of my colleagues drank any alcohol while I was there. Instead they have very good fruit juices (which is what you see on the pics here).
Main square inside GUM
Saw several brides in the short time I had that afternoon. Not sure whether this one is a real one or if she is modelling...
Even bikes look different...
And no, we are NOT in Italy...
Shop inside GUM
Then it was time to walk over to the office. Leaving GUM I saw another bride...
Last edited by Andiline; 09-18-2011 at 07:01 AM..
Passed by the orthodox church
Entrance to Metro
Not sure what that was. I think a theatre.
This is sooooo not russian...
Then I was in the office and met all my russian colleagues. I had met only 2 of them so far. Maria was really kind as she organised the russian part of my trip and she wanted to take me to dinner. After having talked to the colleagues for a while Maria and I left and drove along the Moscwa where we saw this monument. Pretty impressing (reminded me of Peter Pan...)
It got dark very fast so when we wrrived at this cloister it was already dark. Cloister was closed....
The head of the office had suggested to have dinner on a hill overlooking Moscow which is where we went. Beautiful! In Moscow lots of buildings are illuminated in the night so you could go on a night tour taking pics all night long...
This is a reminder of the Olympic Games 1980.
And then I had my first russian meal. Maria ordered for me since I could not read the menue anyway... This is russian salad. Normally it is with meat but that night it was with fish (and I don't eat fish ). So I ate blinies (very thin pancakes) with sour cream.
And then I had lamb. Couldn't eat all of it as I had the blinies before. It was very good but just too much for me.
When we had finished dinner Maria brought me to another vey beautiful place... If I ever go back to Moscow I would like to see this cloister in daylight. At night it was magic. A pity I didn't have my tripod with me...
I guess this means that swimming is not allowed...
It was getting late so on the way back to my hotel we had our last stop.... at the Hard Rock Cafe. I always have to buy baseball caps for my friend's husband as he is a collector. If Bumper needs pins I buy them for him.
Then Maria brought me back to my hotel and it took me over one hour to download all my pics. Had to empty the memory card though...
Last edited by Andiline; 09-18-2011 at 07:28 AM..
The next morning greeted me with clear blue skies. So I left the hotel early to take more pictures on Red Square before I had to work.
I had to go over the Moscva again and that morning the golden roof was glistening in the sun.
And the Kremlin was more beautiful than the day before... It must be beautiful and very impressing inside but it is open from 10 AM to 4 PM only so I didn't have a chance to go.
Yeah, I know... but I just couldn't stop taking pictures of the cathedral.
Don't think this tower has a name.
The Lenin mausoleum
The Historical Museum highlighted by the sun...
Spent the day working. At lunchtime my colleagues brought me to an italian restaurant where we had russianized italien food. I had saffron rice with lamb. Very good! In the evening I went with Yuriji, Natalia and Igor to an ukrainian restaurant. They told me that the best food is the ukrainian one. Since again I could not read the menue Yuriji ordered for me. Those drinks were his... To the left it is a russian specialty (cumpat?) that not everyone likes. I had to go through that Cumpat test and passed. I liked it it was fruity and tasty.
Ukrainian bred. The meat was very spicy and salty.
My rice with lamb. Lamb seems to be in a lot of meals there. But since I like it I ate it a lot...
And this is 'cutlet?'. A specialty that smelled very good. Next time I will try that one too (hope there will be a next time....).
When we had finished we walked back towards the office. When I saw this I said 'THIS is what everyone thinks when we hear Russia.' and they said to me that nobody in Russia dresses like this... maybe I should have said that a couple of hundred years ago....
Big shopping center. Looks like at the entrance you could buy cars...
My plan was to take a couple of nightshots but Yuriji asked me not to go back to the hotel too late as after 9 PM Moscow is not too safe. Since it was already nine I did as he asked and took only some pictures on my way back to the hotel. No need to unnecessarily risk anything...
The historical museum again
And from Red Square
Went on the bridge over the Moscva and took some Kremlin night shots.
View back to the entrance to Red Square
Then I called it a night and went back to the hotel. The next morning I checked out and was surprised that they did not want any money for the 2 bottles of water that I had gotten from the minibar the night before. Thanks, Hotel Medea, I will always recommend you!
On the way to the office one last pic...
Worked all day. At lunchtime I had a soup (you have not really been in Russia if you haven't eaten a soup) and chicken. Around 5 the other Yuriji took my suitcase and we walked to the Metro. So I did something that is highly recommended in all guides: go by metro because the metro stations are very interesting. Didn't have time to look around though as Yuriji was bringing me to the train station. There were long moving stairs down into the ground and I was surprised because EVERYONE was standing on the right side. Very orderly. Not like in Paris where they kick you and people try to run over you if you accidentally stand in the middle. That was impressing. We went two stations and then we had arrived at the train station. Yuriji bought my ticket and then he accompanied me till I was safely seated in my train to the airport...
As a resume I have to say that I consider myself lucky that I had the opportunity to go on this business trip. Of course I would have liked to have more free time but it was work after all and I think for the short time that I had there I saw a lot. My russian colleagues were just great and without them I would probably haven't eaten for 3 days... It was a very special trip that I am not likely to forget anytime soon...
Last edited by Andiline; 09-18-2011 at 10:31 AM..
Yeah, I was lucky in more than one ways. Two weeks ago Red Square was closed for an event. And it rained till I arrived. But while I was there the sun was shining. Don't think the pics would be as nice without the sun.