One of my goals on The Atlas Heart is to break down travel misconceptions or judgments about places and ideas. Perhaps it could be that destination that everyone warns you not to visit because of how dangerous it is, or maybe you yourself had preconceived notions that were proven wrong once you arrived to where you were going.
My aim is to present a variety of different opinions and experiences through the eyes of other travelers. It’s important to hear travel stories from all different perspectives in life, I call it seeing the world through a kaleidoscope lens.
So, I’m starting my first ever guest posting series about these travel misconceptions we find throughout our lives and epic journeys. I’ve asked a few writers to talk about their own misconceptions and perhaps how they were proven wrong in their travels.
Without further ado, I’m happy to introduce the next guest poster on this blog – Vivian from Miss Happy Feet – who is talking about the misconceptions surrounding the Russian city, Moscow. Take it away, Vivian!
When I first decided to go to Russia, all I got was concerned stares. Conversations often started with: “Are you sure?” “Life could be much better in Malaysia,” and, perhaps the worst of all, “you are going to the Soviet Union?!” No one told me Russia was cool until I figured it out for myself on the first day I landed in Moscow. Here are some of the myths and truths I thought would be worth knowing.
Transportation is not as modern as other western countries
Total myth! The Moscow public transport system, the Moscow Metro, is one of the most extensive underground train systems in the world, featuring more than 200 stations and a ring line. And wait, it is not JUST a train system that will bring you from point 1 to point 2, it is also a network of art museums buried underground.
How so? First, the benches are made out of marble and granite, there are stained glass panels, dazzling chandeliers, mosaic art over your head, life size sculptures… you name it! Some of my favorite stations included Novoslobodskaya, Elektrozavodskaya, Komsomolskaya, and many more.
All they have are uninspiring war-torn old buildings
I agree that they are indeed old, but they are certainly inspiring! Right in the heart of Moscow, the Red Square stood proud showcasing the world famous candy-structured St Basil’s Cathedral. Do you agree that it looks like something that comes straight out of a fairy tale?
Well, the irony is that this pretty structure was built by the most cruel Tsar in Russian history, Tsar Ivan the Terrible.
The Kremlin (also known as the Russian “White House”) is another must-see site in Moscow. Do not attempt to schedule anything else on Kremlin day. The walls, towers, cathedral and bells will surely keep you busy for the whole day.
Moscow is boring
I remember walking down Red Square and having an encounter with a beautiful English teacher from San Francisco. I was surprised to hear her say that Russia is the most interesting country she has traveled to. “San Francisco is boring. I’d rather stay here,” those were her exact words.
Moscow is rich with culture and arts. How to spend an evening in Moscow meaningfully? Catch a show! Watch a ballet performance by Bolshoi Ballet, which is a staple in Moscow. Or, if it suits your fancy, visit the famous Nikulin Circus on Tsvetnoi Boulevard.
If you consider yourself an art buff, never attempt to skip Tretyakov Gallery, where unique collections of Russian masterpieces are kept and displayed. Quality people watching can be done above the busy street of Arbat. It is a lively pedestrian street, showcasing eye-opening fine arts at certain stretches, and staying in a hostel directly on Arbat Street won’t hurt your purse at all.
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Interested in being a part of the travel misconceptions series? Make sure to contact me with an idea for your story, I’d love to have you on board!
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