Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears

Getting There

After having spent a total of almost two weeks in Saint Petersburg, we took an overnight train to Moscow. We splurged and got a “Lux” (first class) cabin – Lena and her family kept talking about how to be so careful on Russian trains, so we decided to get a private cabin.


The Metro was a bit hard to find from the train station, but we made our way to Comrade Hostel. It was tucked away in a courtyard and had a tiny paper sign, shown below. Luckily our room was recently remodeled and very nice.


The hostel wasn’t too far from Red Square. Like most cities, when we first arrived, we wanted to do a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, which is often right in the city center or most famous landmark. So, we walked in and around Red Square, finding nothing for hours. Finally, we stumbled upon one bus tour, which seemed to be the only option. It was simply a two-hour bus tour (on a charter bus) and was only offered in Russian – a far cry from tours being sold on every block in Saint Petersburg.

Red Square; the Kremlin‘s wall and clock tower on the left and Saint Basil’s Cathedral on the right:


Soviet Architecture

One of the major distinctions between Moscow and Saint Petersburg is the style of architecture. Saint Petersburg had such a history with european architects during the 1700-1800s and many buildings were lucky to remain unscathed throughout Soviet rule. Moscow, on the other hand, had little Baroque or Neoclassical architecture. Soviet architecture was marked by two major styles, Stalinist and Constructivist. These were primarily focused on social purpose, so clearly functional rather than ornate designs.

One of Moscow’s “Seven Sisters” – Stalinist style sky scrapers:


US Consulate Building

We also had a chance to see the US Consulate, where Lena’s family went to be approved as permanent residents after Mama won the Green Card lottery. This was the last time Lena was in Moscow – 1999.


Other Sights

Christ the Savior was built to show the appreciation of divine intervention during the French invasion of Russia in 1812. During Soviet times it was destroyed and replaced with the world’s largest open-air swimming pool. It’s since been rebuilt and the cathedral is the tallest orthodox church in the world.


One of the oldest streets in Moscow, Arbat Street, is home to many artists, cafes, and boutique shops. The famous Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin once lived on this street.


Visiting Zhenya

While in Moscow, we met up with one of Natasha’s best friends, Zhenya. She has lived in Moscow for several years due to a job opportunity. We met her for dinner and drinks, then we had a chance to see her flat. We had a really great time catching up with her.



Moscow felt a bit more “Russian” than Saint Petersburg did to me – things were of even more functional design and people more stoic. It was a bit rough around the edges, but it was good to see these contrasts. In all, I’m happy we decided to spend more time in Saint Petersburg, but also glad we spent some time seeing Moscow.

Check out all of our pictures from Moscow on Flickr.

  • aaronogan

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