- Encounters with locals
- Park and garden
- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
Without being biased, I think if you are going to appreciate Moscow you need to go there before going to St Petersburg. If you visit St-Pete first during your trip round Russia, you could well be disappointed by Moscow.
In Moscow you constantly see the old and the new side by side. There are a lot of very ugly, grey, pollution stained Soviet style buildings everywhere. Occasionally, an architectural gem cuts the ugliness of the brutalist architecture.
Exploring Moscow on foot means walking enormous distances so use the underground.
All of the ethnic minorities from Russia and Central Asia live in Moscow which is very culturally, ethnically and socially diverse.
In Moscow I love visiting the Kremlin, a lovely place with magnificent old orthodox churches. Red Square is another of my favourite places. Gorky Park is a great place for napping in the sun. And in the evenings, after you have gone home and changed into something super stylish, you can go to Barbados, a club where you can dance with the beautiful people.
If you want to visit somewhere timeless in Moscow, then go to Novodevichy Convent. I had hardly entered the convent when I felt time stop and I plunged back into the 17th century. The snow had fallen all night and the golden onion domes of the monastery were covered in an ermine cape. The light was dreamlike, and incredibly soft. Every step you took led to something new and marvellous, hidden behind a frozen willlow branch. It was a unique moment. I loved the silence and the lack of tourists.
If you want another trip outside of time then you should visit the Gorky House Museum. An art-nouveau miracle, where I spend half an hour just climbing the staircase, which is a monumental work of art, meant to symbolise the waves, and crowned with an amazing Medusa lamp. As I walked through the different rooms I felt as though I was back in the 1940s and I imagined Stalin and the era's greatest writers meeting in this house to define the theory of Socialist Realism.
Then, because food for the soul is no good without food for the body, I finished the day in a Georgian restaurant, where you really should try the " Badrijani Nigvzit" (aubergine served with pomegranates, walnuts and spices). Delicious!
As surprising as it might seem, Moscow made me think of Barcelona. At the end of April it was warm and the walks I took in parks surrounded by water (like Gorky Park) made my trip to Moscow feel really summery.
Strolling around the unmissable Red Squareinthe evening with the friendly Moscovites only reinforced my pleasant feelings. During the day the town is so enormous that you know you are going to see lots of different things: orthodox churches with their colourful onion domes, opposite austere, rectangular Stalinesque buildings. In my opinion, if you only have a short stay in Russia, you would do better to avoid the Kremlin and go and spend more time in the churches which are an absolute must.