Moscow Part I – St. Basil’s Cathedral & State History Museum

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Since I’ve never taken a Russian train before, my hostel host was kind enough to walk with me to my train across the street and show me where everything goes in a Russian train.  “Since you are going to Moscow, you will notice the station in Moscow is exactly the same station as this one.” He mentioned casually, “this is why this station is called Moscow station.”

“What about the other station?” I asked, thinking it might be called “St. Petersburg station” in Moscow

“It’s also called ‘Moscow Station’…”

I booked myself a sleeper train since it’s the cheapest I could find, and I had to thank all those hard sleepers in China that I was on when I was little.  A lot of people complained how they could not sleep on Russian’s hard sleeper wagons but I found it quite similar to Chinese sleeper.  It is only two levels instead of three on a Chinese sleeper.  In here you put your luggages above your beds (a bit hard to do if you got a heavy one) or in the chest under the first level beds.  Like Chinese trains, there are no doors in between compartments, which means whatever noise the other end of the wagon makes, if it’s loud enough, it will get to this end of the wagon.

I’m very glad that I have spent a considerable time in St. Petersburg before moving onto the rest of Russia.  Moscow proved to be a lot less international than St. Petersburg.  Had I not stayed in St. Petersburg long, it will be a bit harder for me to digest here on my own.   The chaos started as soon as I got off the train, it took me a while – along with asking several people who gave me several different answers – to find which train station I’m really at and where I really want to go.  After getting off at my station, I walked around the station trying to find my hostel, only to find that my hostel is not here.   I was fortunate to catch a free wireless signal there on my netbook and from there I found the hostel’s phone number.  As I called the hostel lady, she told me that I was in the wrong station, and I need to really follow the hostel’s direction instead of trying to find it on the map, because this hostel is new and sometimes English map doesn’t work every well – which happened to be my case….

Since this hostel was so hard to find, my hostess came out of her building to meet me.  It is in a normal residential building – they have converted a flat into a hostel.  Later I found this to be quite common in Russia.   She was quite nice, though her English isn’t fluent, I could still understand when she’s trying to help me with directions to decent restaurants and sightseeings.

My first task is of course to check out the Red Square, St. Basil Cathedral immediately caught my attention, and next thing I knew I was drawn inside this pretty Cathedral.  Though it is dubbed as the most beautiful church in Russia, I have to say I liked the Spilled Blood church in St. Petersburg better.   St. Basil is by no doubt probably one of the oldest – if not the oldest church here – and it is still in such a good condition.  I also happened to bump into Dutch basketball(or football, don’t hold my words to it) visiting here.  You could tell they were a professional sports team since every single one of them looked bigger than the rest of tourists…

After visiting St. Basil, I went across the red square to the building on the other end.  It turned out to be the State History Museum…. Well if no one told me this is a museum, I might have mistaken it for a palace.  As the oldest museum in the world, this museum was initiated by Tzar.  Half of the museum still held the original collection from monarch times… Since Tzar had very little extra money to fund this museum, it was left half finished till the communist took over and filled the other half with its own stuff.

From Moscow Part I – St. Basil’s Cathedral & State History Museum, posted by Jenny Zheng on 10/18/2011 (126 items)

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