AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Moscow: A Tourist Unfriendly City

Posted on Nov 4, 2013

We had been excited about visiting Moscow, it has the Kremlin and an amazing cathedral. It is and has been for a long time the seat of power in Russia and it is just one of those locations which everyone knows at least something about. Especially as a history teacher teaching Russian history, expectations were high. We found out quite soon that Moscow isn’t all it is cracked up to be. We arrived in Red Square to find it closed. The whole area was surrounded with barriers and hundreds of police. No notices of warnings or information of any kind. Because Red Square contains the entrance to St. Basil’s cathedral, the armory and the Lenin mausoleum they were also closed. These are main tourist attractions in Moscow and they were all closed, without warning or reason. The hundreds of police officers made the scene slightly intimidating. The next day we went late morning and got into Red Square, but it was approaching lunch time and the cathedral was shut as was the Lenin mausoleum. We guessed this was for lunch, many places shut 1 – 2 for lunch, so we went off to eat and came back later. Everything shut again and another huge police presence. (The couple we spent 6 days with on the trans-siberian confirmed the square was closed till after 6pm). We didn’t get to see anything in Moscow because they just closed it all the time and we don’t even know why. The next issue we hit in Moscow is that most people were generally unhelpful. This isn’t the general public I’m talking about, this is people in customer facing roles who are paid to deal with people and queries. If we didn’t ask something which they know the answer to straight away they will usually wave us away with a nyet (no). Most people would point where to go to get the answer at the very least, but not in Russia, they just dismiss you with a wave of the hand. We encountered this everywhere, from the Moscow Metro, a number of train stations, shops, etc. Other travellers on the trans-Siberian confirmed they had the same experience and many of their queries were dismissed in a similar fashion. That brings me onto the language issue. I know Russia is not the UK and I know they speak Russian and have a different alphabet so we expect some language issues and will meet a number of people who don’t speak English, but we weren’t expecting so few people to speak English. The only people we met who spoke English were the hotel staff and some...

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Posted on Nov 3, 2013

Posted from Moscow, Moscow, Russia.

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