Most Russians speak absolutely no English. There is no English on the streets and hotel names resemble nothing to their English name, of course, the only language on all my travel documents. This, along with the incredibly cold temperature drop, made our arrival bloody scary.
The bullet train across the Finnish boarder and into Russia was an adventure in itself. We had to go through customs three times… pretty intense.
We have had an interesting time ordering food, paying bills and traveling via uber, with the language barrier. Locals are irritated with us but it’s all part of the fun. They are really not quick to smile and we’ve both been growled at for not understanding simple directions or instructions, but we have had an absolute blast. Ive communicated via a Google translator and even a human translator with hotel managers. Makes you think really carefully about what you say… especially since I’m full of ‘ums’ and ‘ahhhhs’ and most of the time, I stumble and stutter with sentences coming out backwards.
Russia is everything you expect, MASSIVE. Mansions and palaces everywhere. This country is quick to make you feel really small. The scenery is something a camera just cannot capture.
Again, we’ve been blessed with stunning weather. It has been cold, but bearable. It’s snowed pretty much the entire time! Feeling like a big kid, but trying to play it cool. Don’t want to draw attention to myself.
We found St. Petersburg too big to walk to the main attractions (even for us, I mean we are pros and long distance walking now). We found a city tour easier and gave us more insite into the cities immense and daunting history.
St Petersburg is a gorgeous city of pastel colours and light, absolutely full of history, culture and of course, art. I wish we had more time here.
Red Square pops out of no where in Moscow. All of a sudden, you’re surrounded by Cathedrals, palaces and museums that you’ve spent months, years admiring on Google (I love it when that happens). It was a dangerous adventure getting to Red Square, road users pretend they’re driving their own little rally cars. I actually thought to myself ‘this is it,’ more than once. The road is snow and ice, it’s snowing, there a millions of road users, no lanes and no two second rule… it’s an absolute shambles.
The buildings are brightly coloured and massive. We’ve gone into countless Cathedrals and I even dragged muz through their fine arts museum to check out the works of Michaelangelo and Cezanne. Of course we admired St. Basil’s Cathedral and the outside of the Kremlin (who would have thought that Thursday is a ‘non working day.’)
The streets are heavily armed with police, secretary and military. Even though it’s advised that you avoid police, we felt incredibly safe in Russia. The perks of traveling in winter, there are few people and tourist attractions are not crowded at all.