Trip Start Sep 09, 2015
103Trip End Jul 01, 2016
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While being here we have learnt so much about the history of the city. From Ivan the Terrible (Ivan IV - first Tsar of Russia) to Napoleon's invasion and finally to Communism and its downfall, it seems Muscovites have been living a tough life for centuries. They are really positive about the future though and hope the country will go through better times. Everyone we spoke to dislikes Putin but only passively speaks about it when asked.
We already mentioned the communist tour - that was brilliant and the highlight of our visit
We also went to the Kremlin which was a bit of a disappointment really. You can only go inside the churches and none of the official buildings, it's definitely them and you which is to be expected, but if you experience it you really see it's just a money making exercise and not about education. They are also very secretive about the information they give about what goes on there generally - although to give you an example of the total power Putin and his PM have, in 2008 they fancied having a private gig with U2 in one of the churches, so they just cracked on with it paying U2 a fortune to turn up and play a private gig inside a state building.
We also went to lesser known areas of Moscow. We visited a run down building that has been taken over by hipsters and turned into speciality coffee shops, clothes shops, dance studios and restaurants. Also in the same area we found derelict buildings owned by the government which have fallen into disrepair - think Shoreditch location and feel, but derelict buildings and homeless people - no doubt they'll be fancy flats in the next decade.
This is a city of serious contrasts. Loads of young oligarch style money driving around the place, coupled with gypsy looking old people pottering around, people who lived in Communist Russia and now live in oligarch heaven
The above may give you the impression that we did not like Moscow - actually it is quite the contrary. Moscow is a really cool place and very similar to London - sometimes it's just hard to reconcile the old from the new and we couldn't not feel affected by the Kremlins view on homosexuality, the Ukraine and democracy in general.
In conclusion, we would highly recommend Moscow to you, our only advice, it's not perfect, it's not fair but it sure is excited and vast so come eyes open and well read. We'll definitely be back again for the Bolshoi Ballet :)
Off now for a 27 hour train journey to Yerkaterinburg
Ps photos to follow later when the internet is better