Moscow, I am back!

Last time I was in Moscow five years ago, in 2012. That was one-day stop on the way to Saint Petersburg. So I can say that I haven’t seen the city for six years. Six years after living here for more than eight years. Six years without Boulevard Ring, old quarters in the central district where life seems to be preserved unchanged since the mid of XX century, without parks and busy central streets, sleepless bars and face control in night clubs… Although, I don’t miss face control :).

There have been a lot of changes made since I left the city. First and the most remarkable one is that some parts in the centre have been transformed into pedestrian zone, the city bikes have been introduced and new interesting places have been opened. So I came to Moscow with the list of places I wanted to visit and the intention to see all my friends who were still in the city in the mid of July.

1.At summer time there was a festival of Russian regions on Manegnaya square, few meters far from the Red Square. Tourists posed with great pleasure next to the stands with regional food and flower pots.

2.Following other foreign cities the Moscow government decorated streets not only on the ground but also above. There were garlands of doves, baskets with flowers, umbrellas. 

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4.Sometimes artificial flowers and plants were mixed with true ones.

5.Although the general impression was very festive and nice. I know that Muskovites didn’t like this excessive decoration of central streets of the city. Indeed, in some cases there was pure kitsch and bad taste, sometimes a copy of Soviet Union style which was not welcomed by everybody nowadays. Although in general the impression of a visitor was positive and festive.

6.Around Red Square: the Saint Basil’s cathedral and the cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan.

7.Red Square, crowded as usually.

8.City bikes is the new service available in the central districts of the city since summer 2016. I believe this is a great initiative, together with transforming of some central streets to pedestrian area.

9.Another church, this time in white marshmallow style.

10.Archway in Neskuchny Sad park.

11.Renovated Gorky Park. The renovation was started in 2011, the year, when I moved to Luxembourg. Thus it was my first time I saw the park re-organised and modernised.

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13.The Olive beach in Gorky Park. I used to roller along the river in this park. Oh, what was the time!

14.Tverskaya street.

15.After an active day we took a break on a terrace in my favourite district, Patriarch’s Ponds.

16.As a bonus we got such relaxing view on the pond and the park.

17.This district has also changed significantly. New bars, restaurants, art galleries and fashion stores were opened recently.  As a result – this conservative district has attracted young people and continues its transformation into something like Parisian Latin quarter.

18.With my former colleagues and friends.

19.Night life at summer time moves from clubs to terraces and streets in Patriarch’s Ponds area.

20.Just look at these cakes, they are pure masterpieces. 

Now it is time to show you a real perl on a Moscow gastronomic map. Ladies and gentlemen, Danilovsky market! Here are some comments from Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor: “A showcase of the ongoing gentrification, this giant Soviet-era farmers’ market is now largely about deli food cooked and served in a myriad of little eateries, including such gems as a Dagestani dumpling shop and a Vietnamese pho soup kitchen. The market itself looks very orderly, if a tiny bit artificial, with uniformed vendors and thoughtfully designed premises”.

21.I guess in my previous life I was an hamster or a squirrel – I can eat dry fruits and nuts all day long! Look on this variety of dry apricots and dates. Delivered directly from Caucasus and Middle East.

22. Do you want to try something local? Here we go – vegetables from local farms and nearby regions. 

23.The style of the building is very typical for the soviet-period covered markets. All of them are build either round-shaped with circus-style high roof or pyramid-shaped. This one has huge windows between pillars which guarantee the day-light throughout open hours.  

24.If you are looking for souvenirs these Uzbek bowls and plates are the best. I have a set of them at home and use them almost every day. They are ideal for serving finger food, tapas, snacks for aperitif or just rice. 

25.If you are not in to buying local vegetables and fruits you should still come to the market. There are cafes and eateries of different types and styles in front of stalls. The most famous is the Vietnamese stand. People say that they serve the best Vietnamese Poh soup and spring rolls in the city. 

26.We couldn’t resist and took some spring rolls and noodles. They were great, indeed! 

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28.Well, with this photo we continue the gastro theme. One night we went to Uzbek restaurant, called Uzbekistan. It belongs to a famous restaurateur Arkady Novikov who has more than 50 different gastro projects, including restaurants with cousin of nations living in Russia.  

29.Someone is very happy to get his Uzbek pilaff. 

30.Well, what about hotel, you may ask. It is complicated. Despite its size Moscow offers mostly luxury or business hotels with the price of 200+ euro per room per night. It wasn’t the problem when I lived in the city. Although now, as a tourist, I understood that it was ridiculous to pay such amount! So we did our research on-line and off-line and found Sleepy Tom Moscow hotel on booking.com. The price was 100 euro per night including breakfast, so the total cost for two nights was affordable and we went for this option. As a bonus we’ve got a perfect location in the old Moscow, very close to all places I wanted to visit.

31.Our standard double room. 

32.Breakfast on the terrace. What else do you need to start another perfect day?

It is really very difficult to share my tips for the trip to Moscow, as the city is huge, there are a lot of interesting places and you will need weeks to discover all of them. There will be other posts on where to it, where to stay, where to go in Moscow and what to expect. To conclude this post I may list the links to the places which we visited during our short two and a half day trip:

Hotel: Sleeping Tom Moscow, available on http://www.booking.com and other booking services.

Restaurants:

Uzbekistan with typical Uzbek cuisine.

CoffeeMania chain of restaurants and, especially, the restaurant next to Moscow Conservatory House on Bolshaya Nikitskaya street.

Correa’s restaurants with simple and unpretentious food.

Cafe Pushkin the ideal place for a breakfast. You may have a table next to deputies of the state parliament who, by no reason, like to combine morning coffee and newspapers with meetings at the restaurant.

Scandinavia restaurant offers Swedish way of enjoying the life through the food.

Voronezh restaurant is a steak house with the focus on local producers and suppliers. Must visit if you are steak lover!

White Rabbit is the only restaurant in Moscow included into the Top-50 best world’s restaurants.

Places to go: 

Danilovsky market (the link is in Russian only) and the comments on Tripadvisor.

Gorky Park to make picnics, rent a bike and explore the neighbourhood including the Neskuchniy Sad park.

Take a long stroll on Boulevard Ring: exit the metro at Kropotkinskaya metro station and follow the boulevards to the end of Yauzsky boulevard, which is just few steps away from Red Square and GUM store.

Detsky Mir (the Children’s World) shopping centre and its terrace on the top to make wonderful pictures.

For great panoramic view I advise you to go to Ritz Carlton Moscow to its O2 Lounge bar or to City Space Bar at Swissotel.

The Central Shopping Center – GUM – on Red Square, even if you don’t want do shopping at all. Just have a look on its rich interiors, walk all the passages and take an ice-cream from a smily girl in nice uniform.

Eliseevsky store just to see the breathtaking interiors.

And, of course, the Moscow metro, which is the most beautiful metro in the world!

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