Departing the overnight train from St Petersburg, I thought I would be at my hotel and settled with in an hour and half. I was wrong.
My first day in Moscow could be best described in one word ‘lost’. I followed the sign to the subway train, to be told that I needed to use the metro, I found the metro and purchased my 20 trip ticket for 580 rubles (£6 ish) with a bit of asking and charades I worked out where I needed to go. Arriving at the metro stop nearest to my hotel.
I followed the map I had on my phone but got totally lost for about 1 and half hours. I eventually worked out where I went wrong. There are two parks either side of the metro station, my zoomed in jpeg map showed one and I used the wrong park as my reference point.
I finally reach the hotel that I had booked. There was nobody on reception and when the person did come and realised I wanted to book in she pointed to a sign which said 14:00 check in. I then noticed a man painting a cupboard, this turned out to be a bedroom. So I quickly connected to their wifi and re-read some reviews. Some stated that the rooms had no windows! That would not work for me. So I searched around for a hostel, booked up in Godzillas and then cancelled my booking at the cupboard hotel as I now call it.
Heading to the tube station I decided that the best thing for me to do prior to checking in to Godzillas is to pick up my tickets for the next leg of my journey from the agreed location in north Moscow.
Once at the metro station I needed a little assistance from the guards to direct me to the correct platform. At this point the metro system started to click into place in my brain. Some early pointers should the Mayor of Moscow be reading this. Have the station names on the platform walls along with the colour of the line you are travelling on like the London Underground would have helped me a lot.
Train tickets to Mongolia picked up. I now need to go 3 stops and one change of line to the metro station nearest to my ‘new’ hostel. This was navigated pretty quickly, but with no platform signs I did get a little confused and could not remember which station I was arriving at. Seeing as the trains run every couple of minutes I got off, to discover I had indeed got off a stop too early, so caught the next train and I was there at my stop.
Now the walking to the hostel, this looked simple on the map and it would have been had it not started to pour with rain. I found the correct area pretty quickly but could not zero in on its exact location, 45 minutes of wander and asking and eventually I found it. It is really nice and I feel I made the correct choice about cancelling the first hotel.
Once settled and armed with a more detailed map from the hostel I head out to explore. Twenty minutes walk I was told and it would have been had I not got distracted by something shiny, gone exploring and getting really lost again.
Once back on track I found red square and St Basils Cathedral and strolled though for a quick look, I will explore it, along with the Kremlin, more tomorrow. In relation to this story I read on the BBC website today, I’ve not seen any men holding hands, but I have seen plenty of women do so with no negative comments from anyone, that I have seen. May be holding hands between women in Russia is cultural and a sign of friendship and respect like it is in the Philippines.
Arriving back at the hostel, after a quick bite in the Russian version of Pret, there was a new guy called Thomas from France in the room, we had a little chat. It turns out he is Doctor in Media and Fine arts so we had a bit to talk about when we went for a drink in a near by park which had lots of pop up pubs in it.
After a lot of walking and exploring I am now ready for a good nights sleep.
What I learnt today:
- Focus and concentrate on the map and I won’t get lost.
Perhaps smiling at everybody is not the best thing to do in Russia. Speaking to Dr. Tom, according to his ex Russian girlfriend, smiling at another person is sign that you fancy them. I have been smiling at everybody. And in fairness I have recieved a couple smiles back ;-).
Getting lost is great way to practice mindfulness.
DOn’t expect thanks you went hold open doors, but do it anyway.
Time is most definitely relative, I find it hard to believe I have not been out of the UK a week yet. But after the day I have had the overnight train from St Petersburg seems like a month ago.