Monday, May 30, 2016

Moscow, I Love You, Pt. 4

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
I mentioned in my first Moscow post that I found a lot of recommendations from Polly at Let's Love Local. One of her suggestions was Хачапури (Khachapuri). Her suggestion was spot on. Our food was really good. After breakfast we walked to Третьяковская Площадь because I knew there was a Lenin Statue there. Right next to the square there is a bookstore called Moscow, which was recommended by one of my students. I enjoyed browsing through the store because they had such a variety of books (including some books in English).
Like most of the jumping from one metro to the next that we did this trip, we took another metro to Московский государственный университет (Moscow State University). I thought the University of Cincinnati (my alma mater) had a beautiful campus, but dang! This University was MASSIVE. Well, actually just one building was. It could have easily been mistaken for Hogwarts or something. Moscow really likes to take a step above and beyond the rest of the world with anything they do.
Next, we followed another one of Polly's suggestions and went to Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills) because there was a good look-out there. When we first got to the park we noticed a sign for a small zoo, so we headed in the zoo's direction. Of course, there were a ton of birds, but there was also a cage of squirrels. The squirrels were extremely cute and funny! You can see them in the video I posted here. Remember when I mentioned the 5 Year Story on my trip to Mexico? It's an event that usually happens to make the trip memorable but it usually isn't a good thing? If you don't remember you can read about the previous experiences here and here. On our way from the zoo to the look-out we had our 5 Year Story for this trip. We were trying to find the look-out and we weren't really sure to go. We saw this old building in the middle of the woods with a dirt path going next to it. We thought it might lead us to the look-out so we took it. The moment we got around to the back of the house I looked over and saw a couple engaged in the act of love making. I IMMEDIATELY turned around without saying anything to A and just headed down the main path. It was so awkward, but so funny at the same time. Word of advice: Don't get off the main path. The main path leads right to the look-out.
Next, we went to центральный детский магазин because they also had a city view on top of the building. I didn't take any pictures of the inside, but it was a child's paradise. If I was a kid I don't think I would have wanted to leave! The inside reminded me of a storybook. The views from the top of the building were stunning as well. You can see the Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral from the top and many other buildings in Moscow.
Our afternoon wasn't finished. We ended up going to ВДНХ, which is a giant park with so many attractions inside. A kept trying to get me to go to the amusement park or do something else but I was so tired from walking around the past three days. We sat on a bench for a while, and I started to feel myself getting sick but I didn't really think anything about it because I thought it was just from the temperature dropping.
We hadn't eaten since breakfast so we were both getting really hungry. We took the metro to the Kropotkinskaya station which happens to be next to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. A let me stop so that I could take pictures. For dinner we went to Pinzeria by Bontempi where we had the most delicious pinzas I have ever eaten. We actually got a second pinza to share because we were both still hungry!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Moscow, I Love You, Pt. 3

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
A had been telling me about a cafe by a design studio, so we went there for breakfast/lunch. It was called Большое Кафе, and their food was so good! Anton got chicken and it was the most tender chicken I have ever eaten. I just got some potato mushroom mixture, but it was really good as well. I loved the interior of the restaurant and their menus had a surrealist look, which is my favorite kind of art. There was also a gift shop in the basement that had all sorts of interesting things for sale.
I can't remember a time when I finished eating and didn't have a sweet tooth. Asuggested that we get donuts so we went to Dunkin Donuts near Red Square. I FINALLY got an iced coffee too! I was addicted to Dunkin Donuts iced coffee in the US, but I haven't had it since I moved to Russia because there isn't one in Ufa. It was so hard trying to order though because A had to translate for me, and he had no idea what I wanted. When we were leaving we noticed the square was blocked off again and people were gathering. After some time a bunch of motorcyclists joined in the square and there were performers singing about how Ukraine is a traitor (Russia...). It was the weirdest thing, but also kind of boring so I asked if we could go.
A suggested that we go to the Moscow Zoo so we hopped on the metro to the zoo. Like everything in Moscow the zoo was really cool. It's right in the middle of a residential area and there are windows on the wall so that you can see into the zoo if you are walking down the street. I would definitely recommend going to the zoo, but there are a ton of birds. I don't know what it is with Russia and birds, but I was kind of bored with them. I think I said, "More birds?" about five times. Honestly, the design of the zoo was worth the money.
Our last destination for the day was Ostankino Tower. Ostankino Tower is the center of television and radio stations in Russia and is also the tallest point in Europe. I didn't find out until after we went up to the top that the tower caught on fire in 2007. I also learned that it caught fire in 2000; a fire which killed 4 people. It's probably a good thing I didn't know about these incidents, though, because I don't think I would have wanted to go up. The interior is all remodeled, of course, and looks beautiful, but I have a fear of being trapped inside a burning building. We didn't arrive until it was dark, but it was really cool to see Moscow lit up. I think I would have preferred to go during the day because it would have made for better pictures and you can see more details of the city.
Would you go up in the tower knowing it had caught on fire in the past?
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