I dream of Moscow

I had a dream and that dream was called Russia. Those who know me are aware that I’ve always been passionate about the history of the former Soviet Union —USSR—, the Cold War and WWII.

The country was really far away from mine and I didn’t know much people who had been there, aside from my aunt who went during the 90’s and always told her stories about the trip in our family reunions.

So, in 2012 I decided to stop putting off my dream and set course to the European country whose temperatures in winter can be as low as -40 °F.

I went from London to Saint Petersburg, where I spent three days, by plane and from there we carried on with my friend Ana on a night train towards the Russian capital: Moscow. The journey was fun and by the next morning we’d already made it to our destination.

Finding our way around the city was no easy gig: most people don’t speak English… In fact, getting out of the Saint Petersburg airport took us about two hours. However, on our way out we took a cab to the city, and the cab driver knew for languages! He even knew exactly were Argentina was!

Once in Moscow, we stayed near the Red Square. It was cold, so I put on my earmuffs and wool cap and prepared myself to witness what I’ve been waiting for so long: the Moscow Kremlin. The Kremlin is the old center of the city, where temples, palaces and government institutions are located.

I went once during the day and then during the night, for I wasn’t going to miss the most famous image of this city in its two shades. The Square has a lot of energy, I felt it on the first day when I set foot in it!

I remember having dinner with my friend at a pizza place downtown and hearing people speaking Spanish on the table behind us, or more accurately, speaking “Argentinian”. I immediately started talking to them. They were two Argentinian men working for the Argentinian consulate in Moscow. They were happy, but at the same time there was something that wasn’t suiting them at all: the extreme winter temperatures. They told us that when they’d got here in January —and they were set to stay for 5 more years—, the temperatures where -31 °F, that their eyelashes froze and that it was really hard to get out to the streets; even a 100 yards walk was considered an adventure.

The Moscow subways are really impressive, with each station having a different architectural style. Worth taking it. The escalators were “endless”. Most likely, during the communist years, every construction had to be “majestic”, big, imposing; a display of the government’s power on their people.

Food-wise, if you’re going to Russia, the beef or pork strogonoff, with a side of rice or pasta, is the one dish you can’t miss out on. Delicious!

I visited churches, synagogues, and walked and walked all over Moscow. I went to its newest areas, the historic ones, and without a doubt I can say I fulfilled my dream. And it was even better than what I had dreamed of…