Tomorrow we head to Mongolia after 28 days in Russia. We have both enjoyed ourselves here and wanted to record some observations.
Russian people are, on the whole, lovely. They can have a stoney face but a few badly pronounced words of Russian melts the frowns into smiles.
Russian hostels are hard to find, most don’t have signs and if they do they are small and in Cyrillic. Many are in a block of flats which just has one number for the block but multiple separate stairwell entrances.
Doors open outwards not inwards. Shops, houses, toilets, all of them. People never hold the door open and metro doors will fly back at you with some force.
Shoes are removed in a hostel.
Hostels sometimes have travellers in but normally have Russians. Either young men or middle aged women. Four out of seven hostels we’ve stayed in have not had other travellers in.
People talk Russian to you even if they know you are from abroad. They don’t seem to understand that you don’t understand.
Supermarkets have covered windows with pictures of goods that they may sell.
No one weeds their gardens.
Uneven pavements, cobbles and ice won’t deter the fearless Russian women from vertigo inducing high heels.
We have been able to order two green teas and two beers but can’t pronounce hello.
Museums don’t seem to have a logical order to follow round.
Cars stop for pedestrians at clearly marked zebra crossings. People in Russia accelerate very quickly and brake hard and in Moscow they drive very very quickly. We are not ashamed to admit we have used old women, young mothers with prams and schoolchildren as what we call “human shields”.
Station platforms for the train you want are difficult to find. Several times we’ve had to ask as a sign for platforms has led to a dead end. Even taking into account the early mornings and our beginners Cyrillic we are right on this.
Craft ale and coffee shops are everywhere.
Pizza restaurants sell sushi. Sushi restaurants sell pizza. Obviously.
Vodka is cheaper than beer and wine.
Hostels don’t allow you to drink.
Litter bins are everywhere (handy for secretly disposing of empty vodka bottles you ‘may’ have drunk in your room)