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Possibly the BEST cruise and experience of Russia – Part 1

With all the World Cup fever going on in Russia now, I wonder if people have similar misconceptions of Russia as me?

Firstly, I thought that Russian cities were historic but high-rise… but apparently, they have so much land that even dining on the 16th floor at White Rabbit (World’s Top 50 Restaurants) could give us a panoramic view of Moscow!

The view from White Rabbit, Moscow (which is only on the 16th floor)

Thankful to have this view on our free day in Moscow from White Rabbit!

Then, I thought that Russians were tough and fierce. Well, they were still tough, but after a dash of vodka, they become the warmest people ever!

Showing us Russian hospitality by serving us local bread upon arrival!

Finally, what blew my expectations were the most gorgeous towns and beautiful countryside along the Russian waterways along the Golden Ring. I will let my pictures (either shot by N’s Sony 7 with his watermark or my awesome Huawei P20 Pro sponsored by my dad :P) do the talking!

Russian waterways treated us with gorgeous skies throughout the trip. How thankful, considering it is only blue skies 70 days out of the whole year!

Our itinerary from Moscow to St Petersburg. Source: Uniworld


Day 1-3: Moscow

Moscow was founded in 1156 and it was the capital of the medieval nation. Moscow lost its status as capital to St. Petersburg but it never lost its significance to Russia, and it has reestablished its dominance over the nation’s culture, politics and economy during the past century.

The cruise ship is so comfortable, some days I am tempted to just stay in to enjoy the facilities! Glad for some slow days in the middle of the cruise to just take it slow on the beauty.

Historic monument just in front of our cruise

On the very first day, Uniworld organized a Moscow City Tour for us with a knowledgeable local guide – where will get to experience all the most famous sights in 1 day! The Kremlin, Bolshoi Theatre, Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral  and Tverskaya Street all in the first day. I was so excited to go out to see the Red Square on our first full day in Moscow! And on a sunny blue skies day to boot.

Red Square, Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral

Experiencing the majestic Red Square, which is the historic heart of the nation over the centuries. The Red Square has been the site of national celebrations, coronations, executions, battles and parades glorifying Communist might. Now, it is just constantly crawling with tourists, making it difficult to take a proper photo of the place!!

Enclosed in red-brick walls, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the oldest area in Moscow and one of the world’s most beautiful architectural treasures.

Just before entering the Red Square. Already very red..

None of my selfies worked out from that strong light..

Trigger happy at possibly the most photographed place in Russia

Touristing

Special mention to these 2 from SuperAdrianMe who are great travel buddies and took some great photos for us, like the 2 above!

Does anyone see the cross in the clouds above the St. Basil’s Cathedral too? 🙂

The lady looks like a model heh!

Kremlin and Armoury Museum Visit

The Armory Museum has lots of amazingly rare treasures that really show the wealth of the Russians through the age. Some of the wow items include imperial crowns and gem-encrusted armour, as well as more than 50 of the world-famous Fabergé eggs. Unfortunately, no photos are allowed inside so here are some shots of the tour of the exterior!

Entrance to the Kremlin and Armoury

Exterior of the premise. The fascinating churches that look a tad like mosques to me

Moscow Metro

Moscow has probably the most famous subway system (nope, I didn’t know this before going on this cruise, so I think the best way to learn for me is to travel) in the world because of its ornate museum-looking 1950s stations, which have marble walls, statues, chandeliers and mosaics paying tribute to Soviet icons. Opened in 1935 with one 11-kilometre line and 13 stations, it was the first underground railway system in the Societ Union.

As of 2018, the Moscow Metro has 214 stations and making it the sixth longest in the world. The system is mostly underground, with the deepest section 84 metres underground at the Park Pobedy station, one of the world’s deepest. Nine million people use it every day; it’s the fastest and easiest way to get around this sometimes chaotic city, whose traffic jams are just as terrible as any other major city (yes, there is traffic even with so much land!!)

Photo opp hehe!

Details in the metro station are so impressive

We got off at the station near Arbat Street. The station was gorgeous but the street itself was too touristy for me. This was my favourite shot of a ballet dancer practising her craft on the street.

GUM

And of course, you can’t leave Moscow without seeing GUM –  the main department store in many cities of the former Soviet Union, known as State Department Store. This GUM is just facing the Red Square. Watch out for the iconic ice cream stalls on wheels here!

Pretty street decors, with lots of tourists trying to get a shot of GUM as we leave


How GUM is written in Russian

Gorky Park

Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure is a central park in Moscow, named after Maxim Gorky. Actually, we ended up there because everyone was curious about this set of lyrics. Talk about the influence of pop culture!

I follow the Moskva
Down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change
An August summer night
Soldiers passing by
Listening to the wind of change

Wind of Change, Scorpion

So we ended up in tulip land to my delight 🙂

Beautiful sunny walk on the bridge on the walk to Gorky!

Izmailovo Craft, Flea, Art and Antiquity Market

On our free afternoon, which happened to be a Sunday, we are glad we chose to visit the Izmailovo market to visit. Other than the great deals on old-fashioned articles, paintings, icons, hand-made items, books and so on, it is very much a fairy-tale monument in itself.




Novodevichy Cemetery

Novodevichy Cemetery is the most famous cemetery in Moscow, where the famous are buried. It has also been made a UNESCO site, and the fancy monuments hope to tell the colourful lives of the souls buried.

World Cup Stadium (Moscow)

Of course, there is an obligatory shot of Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, where the World Cup 2018 will be soon!

If you stand at the viewpoint to see the World Cup stadium, this is the view on your back!

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With each day filling our senses with historic knowledge and experiences, it was great to return to healthy and yummy food on the Uniworld Cruise, such as this healthy beetroot appetizer or generous cheese platter.

Definitely more on the Uniworld cruise and food, imperial waterways and St Peterburgs experience in the next part! 🙂 Stay tuned!

Learning to make and enjoy Russian bread onboard

Generous cheese platter daily

Enjoying a cuppa while enjoying the open seas

There is so much I want to write.. am still only at Moscow before the cruise set sail… so looking forward to writing Part 2 for the rest of the trip. In the meantime, thank you:

  1. Uniworld for this amazing cruise experience!!
  2. Dennis from SuperAdrianMe for selflessly teaching me how to use my Huawei P20 Pro camera properly – here are more tips from him!

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