Monday, December 14, 2009

moscow in 3 days

This article is one of my favortie couple's idea. They told me that I should also write an article on what to see in Moscow in 1 day and 1 week. Good idea, right? It's been a while since they told me about it but I couldn't get to it sooner. Better late than never eh?

What to see in Moscow on a 3 days trip depends on the season you are coming but let's assume you are insane enough to come here in winter. So we keep outdoor activities to a minimum and have lots of warming stops.

1st day:
In case of catching cold and ruining the rest of the trip, I think it's crucial to see the most important stuff on the first day. So you should go to Kremlin as your first stop. If you are not a fan of history nor museums you can put Kremlin tour aside to walk around red square and see the beautiful sight and also have your hundreds of pictures taken like a japanese tourist.
If you want the Kremlin tour you can check

While you are there, you might as well see GUM. It's the building that looks like a government facility but actually is a mall. I have to say I was amazed the first time I saw it. It was like an introduction to Moscow, now I get to think about it, it's like a symbol of Moscow's modern culture. Glamour, lights, designer shops, fake trees, beautiful arches that goes side to side with escalators and blindingly colorful adds or discount posters -everything screams of shiny luxury with no taste. But you will be amazed, I assure you. It's like Galleria of Milan, only on steroids.

Don't have a snack there, save your appetite for Tverskaya Street. This street is I think better looking at night with all the lights but still you may enjoy the daytime activities. Here are my favorite spots:
- Pushkin Cafe: well of course, a "must go situation" here. You know the song Nathalie by Gilbert Becaud, it is that Cafe Pushkin. It is one of the symbols of Moscow. There are two of them almost side by side, one of them is a restaurant and the other is patisserie. Both delicious and both expensive, so much that you think the waiter has a personal grudge on you. But I think you deserved an eclaire for 300 rubles (10 dollars).

-Eliseevsky market: Boy, do I love this place or what. It's another interesting place to see just like Gum. I can hear people commenting on other important places to see in Moscow rather than a supermarket but forget about them, I'll write what I like in here. It's an expensive supermarket with lots of difficult to find foreign products. Ah, don't forget the cool interior with the antique look- talk about eclectic, better yet, talk about kitsch!
-FAQ Cafe:

-Respublica Bookstore: Ok, I'm off the track but I love this bookstore and bought lots of things that I still am in love with. Check it out:

-Don't forget the cute gift shop I told you in ho ho hoo

You also have to go to Kamergensky Street for lunch, you will see that there are restaurants lined up here to there. Pick one, but I suggest Akademiya if you want good italian food with some good business lunch offers.

2nd Day:
You can do your souvenir shopping on Arbat Street. It is one of the oldest street, full of history and a slightly visible charm of the old days. You can see Pushkin's house on Arbat, turned into a museum. Lots of souvenir shops around and streets sellers in the middle.

I think you can go and see Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which has a long and interesting history (google it and leave me in peace:). But if you ask me it's not very essential. If you are into arts, I think you should definitely prefer Tretyakov Museum or Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. You would see the hours fly by and realize how tired you are when you go out. I still go there whenever I can. If you prefer history instead of art you can also see Panaroma museum of Borodino battle on Kutuzovsky pr.

3rd Day:
You would need a slower day, I think, you should see metro stations on your last day. Here are the best stops of my choice: Novoslobodskaya, Mayakovskaya, Novokuznetskaya, Kropotinskaya, Kievskaya...It's cheap and easy and oh so beautiful. You would then also have a chance to see some russian people in everyday routine. How much they read on the subway, how often they get flowers, how do they manage to walk on high heels...that's more sensational than metro stations themselves. (by the way, metro stations are way too hot. Russian people can stand it somehow, I think there must be a scientific explanation for that, but other human beings cannot stand it. So make sure you get your coat off when you get inside the subway so you don't freeze your sweat when you go out)

I think Novodevichy monastery would be a good way to end your trip. The famous poet and writer Nazim Hikmet's grave is in the cemetery. There are also Checkhov, Eisenstein, Gogol, Bulgakov's grave to see, along with many other important russian figures who I don't know very well. The headstones themselves are interesting, just remember the freezing cold and dress accordingly.

I think that's about it. Huh, before I forget, you should also see Stalin's Seven Sisters. They are seven skyscapers used for different purposes, one of them is Moscow University, the other is Hotel Ukraine, another is ministry of foreign affairs etc. You don't have to see them all but I think you should be alert when you drive around.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

have you seen any good drawings lately?

Check out Luis Tinoco's lovely illustrations, he's a very talented illustrator from Barcelona. I loved each and every one of his magazine works.

ho ho hooo

Today we went to Tverskaya Street for a lovely Oreo Madness (an ice cream desert with oreos crust, oh mummie it's yummy...) on TGI Fridays. To burn the very enjoyable but unneccessary energy, we decided to go for a walk around Tverskaya and accidentally found the sweetest gift shop in a small street.

There were lots of fun stuff, keyboard cushions, various stickers, funny vodka shot gifts, earrings, cups and my all time favorite: notebooks with old book covers. Here's one that I bought for myself. The cover is Nietszche's "Beyond Good and Evil": 

I also bought the notebook below for a friend and the funny doorknob sign for another.

I'm too lazy to write down the address but here is their card:

You know McDonalds across Kamergenski right, when you are walking from Mayakovskaya towards Kremlin,  it's the street on your right just before that McDonalds. Ah, I stink at this, why do I bother, just look it up on google maps...

ah, and we also saw this star wars white clone trooper dancing on Tverskaya, we didn't quite understand why...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

happy Eid folks!

Just like the last islamic religious holiday, this bayram (the Feast of Sacrifice), the mosque close to Prospect Mira got so crowded, the people started to pray outside the building.

This picture is taken on 7:30 am.

After namaz, the crowd dissolved and recomposed into society, the rest of the moscowers who don't have any idea of the holiday would look at the flood of men in fear.

The metro stations were closed the last time due to overload, so people had to walk to the nearest metro station in cold weather.

I enjoyed it though, it's good to feel like it's bayram. 

Eid mubarak everybody!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

it's time for something biblical

I've been drawing for days and I feel a little spent. How I managed to fail to do something I genuinely liked, I'll never know....But productivity is good. It is!

But I can see how weather can affect us, poor humans, and how it can create mood swings. For those who feel tired relentlessly as I do, I have some advice. 

- read something you postpone and postpone and postpone...just look at the pile of your eagerly bought and carefully ignored books and take something you feel like and leave aside the one that you just cannot finish. You'll get to that later (as if..)

- prepare yourself a little treat...if you are in moscow, that is easy...the land of faux-luxury (fake luxury if you will). You can get some caviar and a champaign for less than 15 bucks. (God bless this city). But if you live somewhere else, find some cheese to go with red wine... (I don' like other alcoholic drinks but you can get vodka, raki or tequila)....I don' know why, but it seems to be the perfect time to get a little wasted.

- get melancholic! ah that's my favorite...put on some old tunes that reminds you of an era far far away...and lay down to listen in peace. (I mean if you don't have a hysterical cat, of course) To get more pleasure out of this, see recommendation no.2.

- wash something that you try to act as if it's not dirty. For example, your wool gloves.

- bake something really easy and eat until you fall asleep.

- watch a film that you love (how bout godfather?)

- no no watch "one night at roxburry's"...where there's sun....

- take a long bath...(ah now I sound like cosmo..) but seriously, it always make me feel purified. 

- listen to "Cold wind"-Arcade Fire

- draw a little fly on your wall. (huh, that's not cosmo)

I will add a muffin recipe soon. You can try that one as well. I would love to have some muffin right now..Damn, I have no eggs...ok, less calories..

That's all folks..

Btw, the title is from Muse "Apocalypse please"...thought you wanted to know..I was listening to that when I started to write.

bye now

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

what the bleep do I do recently

I am trying a to read a book in italian. It's quite interesting actually, yet I get distracted very easily- I wonder why...hmm...

It's Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-5, or Mattatoio N. 5. I'll let you know when I finish it, but don't hold your breath.

I missed the japanese film festival last week. Damn you, good stuff on tv!!

I saw "Bronson" on the British film festival though...What a disappointment. I wish they would be more careful with the " 'A Clockwork Orange' of the 21st century" comment...It was so not "a clockwork orange" of the 21st century, it was hardly anything of the 21st century. a film that we wasted 700 rubles on, in the 21st century, maybe. Good acting though.

I finished my wall, wanna see?

A silhouette of Istanbul from left to right. I wish I had a fish eye camera to get the whole thing at once.

I have finished very interesting drawings (I'm not gonna show you now, or maybe never- burn my novels when I die...that was Kafka, not me..I don't have anything else written but this blog...but you can delete my blog when I die). Since it is cold and infectious outside I've been productive in my home's safe and warm environment.

I'll write about 3rd moscow biennale soon.

The japanese film festival is still haunting me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I don't need a banana

Since last week we no longer have a garbage container outside our house. A chaihana (it's supposed to mean teahouse but it's a garlic smelly restaurant) claimed our garbage container for themselves and now we no longer can dispose our 60 lt garbage bags. (we somehow produce loads of garbage- I blame it on the cat but who am I kidding, we consume like elephants)

That is unfortunately why I have to use the one inside the building. You know the ones for common usage, on every floor. I try to imagine a worse way of getting rid of garbage, but the only way I can think of is to feed it to rats with your bare hands.

It is not dirty, it is not's somethin else! You can feel your nose trying to go back into your skull.

You don't want to touch the air around it, let alone the handle itself.

You need to have two gloves to open the damn thing. And if you're lucky you will squeeze the bag and get rid of it at first try...But if you are unlucky or a fan of hygene let's say; you wouldn't be able to hold still and drop something out of it, then you will curse like you never cursed before.

BUT, there is a plus side to all this....yes there is...Once you close the cover and go home and wash your hands in an obsessive compulsive way, you decide to consume less. A-ha! You postpone having another glass of orange juice. The bottle somehow seems bigger. A banana is not essential for your survival. Why do they make cereal boxes this enormous. I'm gonna eat the oranges with their zest, it should be detoxing, everything is detoxing.

Boy, do I miss my good old, smelly but untouched garbage container.

Damn you chaihana

Monday, November 16, 2009

to wake up and see the white

I wonder how long it has been snowing, but this is what I woke up to.

God bless this weather.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A type flu-my cautions

I bought this sterilization liquid "Sanitelle" which absolutely dries out hands, so I started to carry a hand cream. So, first caution:


I couldn't find a mask in pharmacies, I have been told that nobody could. Then I asked one of my friends who is coming to Moscow this week, to bring me some. So:


One of the places to have the most circulation is the subway. How do I solve the touching problem:


The easiest and maybe more safe way: