Susan's Shanghai Blog - Week 43 - Moscow

I decided to take the scenic route, so I flew from Shanghai to Helsinki (on Finnair) and then switched to an Aeroflot flight from Helsinki to Moscow. This was my first time on Aeroflot and I must say, it wasn't bad! Seemed like a normal airline despite all of the jokes about how bad it is.

A little information on Moscow in general now.  Moscow (or Mockba as it is spelled in the Cyrillic alphabet), is the capital of the Russian Federation and the most populous city in the country.  They say that Moscow has the largest community of billionaires in the world, based on Forbes 2011.  It is the second most populous city in Europe and the 5th largest "city proper" in the world.  In the 2010 census, there were about 11.5 million people in Moscow.  As with many older European cities, it is situated on a river .. the Moskva River.  It has been the capital for most of the time since the Grand Duchy of Moscow with the exception of the time under Peter the Great when he moved it to St. Petersburg.

I had gotten a shuttle reserved from the corporate apartments that I was going to stay in, and the driver was right on time, no issues at all. We got to the apartment and I as met by the manager, who took a couple minutes to show me all of the features of my 1-room studio apartment. It was really late so I headed to bed. The next morning, I headed out to leave and hit the gate of the courtyard (sorry for the blurry picture).

So, I didn't actually get information on how to get OUT of the apartment complex, only IN. Hmm... so I'm standing there looking really stupid and this guy drives up on a motorcycle, and takes pity on me. He points out this little red arrow that points to the button to get out.

I headed around the corner to scope out the way to get to the metro station. I had an idea based on the map and after watching a few people, I figured out that to get to the station entrance, across a major road, you have to take this tunnel under the road. Once I got there, I had to get the 1month metro pass, all without English or Russian. After a little bit of charades, voila, a 1-month metro pass.

Near my apartment, on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, there is a little open market where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

One of the first nights, a few of us went out for dinner at a micro-brewery and the Russian colleagues that we went with ordered this foot-long sausage, yummy!!!

This was just something I had to take a picture of .... I'm still not quite sure how people walk on these things!

A bit more on Moscow specifically to end this relatively short blog ... The city is named after the Mosckva river and the first reference to Moscow dates from 1147 when Yuri Dolgorukiy called upon the prince of the Novgorod-Severski to "come to me, brother, to Moscow". The last weekend that I was there was the city's 865th anniversary and there were lots of scheduled events. Unfortunately, I didn't plan well enough and was leaving that morning.

So while this was a short blog, the next few weeks will be rather lengthy (I took between 500 and 600 pictures). I'll also split them into a couple themes since, for example, I did the Kremlin twice ... once with a group and once by myself.

Continue to page 2 of Moscow