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!