Please note: Sorry for translation mistakes – we gave our best 😉
For more than one week, we are now in Russia. And to say it straight away: We like it here, it’s excellent!
But to be honest: We came here with predominantly negative prejudices to Russia. In the Baltic States, people did not speak only positive about the largest country in the world and its people. But let’s start at the beginning:
The last days in Estonia were gorgeous! We were allowed to stay with a family in the capital Tallinn, where we felt like living with friends immediately. We were even allowed to use their car for day trips. That was a beautiful experience!
The entry to Russia went smoothly. Although the bus ride from Tallinn to St. Petersburg was very hard, because we were traveling in the night and were repeatedly awakened for customs formalities. But as I said, apart from the evil faces of the Russian customs officers (who examinded Veros Ecuadorian passport quite thorougly), it was no problem. But there is a reason, why they checked Veros Passport so well: Ecuadorians are probably one of the only nations that do not require a visa to enter Russia. And, as we found out, the customs officers were not used to Ecuadorians entering to Russia. But latest by now they know: Ecuadorians definitely don’t need a visa 😉
St. Petersburg, the „Venice of the North“ is one of the most beautiful cities we know. Never before have we seen so many beautiful architectural masterpieces in one city. Particularly noteworthy are the Winter Palace or Peterhof (see photos).
And, of course, Moscow was worth a visit, too. Only the size of the St. Basil’s Cathedral, was a little disappointing – on TV, it looks the always so great! Uniquely were also Moscow metro stations (with probably the longest escalators in the world). They reminded us more on palaces or museums with their bronze statues, mosaics, marble columns, chandeliers.
Although our Russian vocabulary is extremely limited, we always come easily in contact with local people. The people are very curious and interested in foreingers – Ir we are married and if we have children is always one of the first questions we are asked. We often ask people about the current political situation (Ukraine, EU sanctions, President Putin, Pussy Riot, etc.). One thing is clear: the crisis is an issue that many people here are very afraid of.
The „freedom of expression“ in Russia was described to us as follows: „You are free to say what you want – but you are no more free after!“ Or as a joke trys to explain: An American and a Russian meet. The American says: „You know, in my country I can easily stand in front of the White House and shout at full volume:“Barack Obama is an asshole! „- And nothing happened to me.“ Then the Russians countered completely amazed: „And what should be special on that? In my country, I can also stand in front oft he Kreml and shout out loud: „Barack Obama is a giant asshole!“ And nothing will happen to me, either! “
We are amazed at how helpful people are here. Although they seem at first glance very cold – But within seconds, they become very friendly. Especially when we do not understand something, they try to help us with hands and feet – and if that does not work, then they get help until the problem is solved.
We still can not confirm that Russians drink Vodka at any occasions. An example: As we sat for the first time with a group of Russians and expectantly waited for our first vodka, „only“ tea and cake was served to our disappointment. But we will tell you more about that later.
A prejudice, which has, however, confirmed, are the great number of beautiful women:. They seem to have been born dressed with high heels and mini skirts.
What we experienced on our journey through Siberia, and when (and if) we come to our first vodka, we will let you know in the next report – stay tuned!
Greetings from Moscow,
Silvan & Veronica