Russia

First Impressions of Russia

After posting about his “Preconceptions of Russia” our man in Moscow, Jon Perez, shares his first impressions with us.

I landed late last night back from Moscow and I recall looking out of the airplane window feeling happy to see the familiar lights of London. Though I think that this feeling was more to do with finishing work than the country I departed. Never-the-less I felt a warm comfort of familiarity wash over me whilst driving home.

First impressions of MoscowBut what of Moscow? They really do wear those fur hats! I rather liked the people I did speak with, everyone was polite and accommodating. If you ignore the modern buildings for a moment the more traditional are less impressive and more utilitarian than that of Rome or Barcelona. There are a smattering of Orthodox Churches with the iconic onion shaped roof tops. The trams were a fairly standard looking affair, all be it rather old, but they had trolley busses there! Which are these standard busses that have a top section much like a tram. So they run off overhead cables. I’m told that we had these many years ago in the UK? On the whole, I found the place to be a rather grubby and dark place.

Where to get Sushi in MoscowWhilst in Moscow, I gained another ring on my trunk that is my ever increasing waistline and I can now say that I am 35. Which I was delighted to be told that I am now closer to 50 then 20. This was the only night that I managed to escape from the hotel and eat out. We took a short walk in the crisp ice cold air to a nearby restaurant which was a fantastic Sushi joint called Yakitoriya. We ate a multitude of dishes, all of which did not require eating per say, as when you took the parcel and placed it in your mouth it seemed to melt away rather than require any crude mastication.

Irish bar in MoscowMy preconceptions in relation to major hubs of the world was fairly accurate, there really are McDonalds everywhere and the good old Irish bar really is a franchise that is as successful as the coca cola it serves. Still, I can’t figure out if familiarity is good or bad thing.

My stay in the UK is a short one as it’s less than 24 hours since Moscow and I write this whilst looking down at orange clusters of twinkling lights over northern Spain. I will shortly land at Madrid where I´m off to the Prado Museum to see an exhibition of Russian works. There is an initiative to link the Spain and Russia in what is imaginatively called Spain-Russia 2011. So I get to see Moscow though the eyes of Spain and how they perhaps perceive Russia.

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