In the Summer of 2021, I went to Moscow for 5 days, from July 24th to July 28th. It was my first time going anywhere on my own, and it was my first ever summer vacation not as a student, but as a worker. This page is a short summary and a photo album showing how it all went. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed the vacation.

all photos taken on Canon PowerShot SX500, iPhone SE (2016) and Pentax Espio 60S with Silberra Color 160 film

Since the train tickets were sold out by the time I was ready to book everything, I went by plane. I had a few music albums downloaded for offline listening, which is what I was doing during the flights there and back.

Taking the Nintendo DS with me was a last-minute decision, but a very wise one. Since I traveled by metro a lot, I needed something to while riding, and the DS, acting as an e-book reader, was of great help. I read "The Old Man and the Sea" from the beginning to the end (what a story...) and started (re-)reading "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".

I booked a room at the same hotel my dad stayed in during his May trip. It's cheap, comfortable and is really close to a metro station. The view was nice as well; I used the window sill as a dining table. The room was on floor №27 out of 28. My only complaint is that the fridge would make loud weird noises for 5 minutes once every 15-20 minutes, making falling asleep a challenge.

So, I arrived to the airport, boarded the Aeroexpress train from the airport to a train station in the city centre (a very convenient way to get from the airport to the city, although I messed up my timing a bit, so I had to wait an hour for the train), and then got to the hotel by metro. After buying some necessities, such as a hairbrush, some teabags and a breakfast, in the nearest supermarket and offloading the luggage in the room (I only had a backpack with me), I took the metro to the city center. The first day mostly consisted of aimless wandering.
These are the most well-known sights of the Red Square; the Spasskaya Tower and the Saint Basil's Cathedral.

While on the Red Square, I also paid a visit to the GUM, which stands for Head Universal Store. The interior was beautifully decorated with numerous flowerbeds.

It is considered an expensive luxury store, but I snatched a bottle of lemonade for mere 50 rubles, which is standart price really.
From GUM I exited to the Nikolskaya street, which was a popular hangout spot during the 2018 football World Cup. It's one of the few streets in Moscow's center that has overhead street decorations.

After roaming the streets for a little more and seeing some nice stuff, like a pencil drawing in a bookstore, a cool building and the Dutch embassy...

... I came across the TASS (Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union) building. I really loved it and spent a while relaxing on a nearby bench and appreciating the building.
After that, I headed towards the famous Arbat street. I didn't end up becoming a big fan of it though; it's just a pedestrian street with tons of stores and cafes and lots of street musicians (whom I don't really like). I had a dinner at one of the restaurants, and from the street I also saw one side of one of Stalin's "Seven Sisters", the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (more about the other side later).

After the dinner, I went to take a closer look at the MFA building, and that's when I saw one of the best scenes I ever saw; the building was bathing in the rays of a clear day sunset, and it looked so gorgeous that no camera with any amount of editing won't be able to convey the wonderful colors I saw back then.

I wandered for a bit more and headed for my first night at the hotel.

I couldn't help imagining that the hair dryer in my room is actually a phone (it looks like one!). You pick it up, but the person on the other end just shouts from the top of their lungs, so hard that on your end the speaker starts blowing the air out.

For the second day, I have planned a walking route between the embassies of the countries I like; all of them are inside or close to the "Garden Ring" (a ring that surrounds the old city center; don't be fooled by the name, there are actually 0 gardens on it, but the traffic lanes are abundant), so it was a nice way to explore more of the center.
However, the first stop on my way was the Melnikov House; a house designed by a Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov and built in 1929 (way ahead of it's time). It was an experiment to see how a round shape of the house would work, and the architect actually lived there with his family. These days it's a museum but to get inside you have to book an excursion well in advance.

The first embassy on my list was the Canadian embassy. They don't really seem to care about the condition of their flag...

Next, I headed for the Icelandic embassy. Here is some scenery I saw along the way, with one of the beautiful Seven Sisters visible.

The embassy of Iceland had no flag flying outside.

Next stop; the embassy of Greece. Curious stuff seen along the way includes a UN white helmet in the window of UN's mission to Russia.

The last embassy on my way should've been the Japanese embassy. I didn't end up taking any pictures of it as it was the only embassy that had guards outside of it, and the guard looked particularly gloomy and serious - I didn't want any potential trouble with him. I have to notice that, while the other embassies occupy small building or parts of buildings, the Japanese embassy occupies an entire large 5-story building; it's the largest embassy I saw, bar the US embassy.
On my way to the embassy I saw some nice buildings.

And some misc stuff, including my only 3D wife.

I had lunch in a cafe next to a botanical garden.

Who said that you don't need English to live in Russia? This sign has only one abbreviation in English against six in Russian.

An interesting monument to a famous Russian actor Oleg Tabakov, and an American classic.

After that, I wanted to take a trip to the Vorobyovy Gory metro station, which is unique as it's built on a bridge, but it turns out that the station was closed; luckily, the station's reopening was due next day, so I decided to go to "Moscow International Business Center", better known as Moscow-City; home of 7 of Europe's 10 tallest skyscrapers.
The subway is located underneath one of the buildings, and the exits, through a series of weird hallways and rooms, lead to a shopping mall. I suspect that it has a nice effect on the mall's income.
Looks liminal, doesn't it?

Inside of the mall, there's an impressive glass roof, and outside of it stood yet another American monster.

As for the buildings themselves, I didn't like them. I love 2 kinds of skyscrapers; the old beautifully crafted skyscrapers (Moscow's Seven Sisters, USA's Art Deco skyscrapers) or the bland, simple and unassuming kind of skyscrapers that don't pretend to be some kinds of architectural masterpieces (lots of Japan's skyscrapers). Well, Moscow-City is neither. It all looks fake honestly, as if they just said "heyy let's build, like, some tall glass buildings to show everyone that we're, like, a capital, you know, rich and shit, like all the capitals do". I'm quite sure that it's exactly what the planners had in mind.

And yet, everyone considers taking photos there their duty.

This amphitheatre-like zone is a nice place to take five, however.

These trees almost look foreign here, yet they prove that humans need shrines of nature even in the most man-made places.

I decided to walk back to the centre, but felt really tired along the way, so I made it to a metro station in the center and made it back to the hotel to have lunch and take a nap.

Around that time the camera's battery charge indicator suddenly started flashing. I didn't bring the charger with me as it is rather bulky. The charge was still enough to last until the end of the trip, but I had to use it less from that point, so most of the photos from this point were taken with the phone camera.
This is a bridge built specifically for metro trains!

After dining, napping and watching a bit of Olympics, I went for a little night walk with only my film camera.

The next day, I took it to the VDNKh, which means "Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy", which is basically a large park with exhibition pavillions. These days the pavillions have been turned into museums.

There are lots of flowers, fountains and birds inside.

What makes the place stand out are the expo pavillions where republics of the former USSR used to show their national achievements. My favorite one is the pavillion of the short-lived Karelian SSR, decorated with wonderful Karelian woodcarving.

Also on display are the Yak-42 airplane, the Vostok space rocket, and the "Buran" - an unsuccessful Soviet Space Shuttle copycat. It succeeded in an unmanned orbital flight, but then the Union dissolved, and the program's fate was sealed.

The agricultural pavillion and a park.

What a nice statue of a man and a bull; however, considering that the pavillion is aptly named "Meat Industry", his fate is not one to be jealous of.

In Moscow, electric scooter sharing is extremely popular; there are a lot of scooter stations and a lot of people riding them. However, I didn't particularly liked it when I tried it back home, but I found that one of the sharing companies specializes on the usual kick scooters (non-electric), and they had a station near the opposite entrance to VDNKh. So, I decided to rent one to get back to the main entrance. It was rather nice!
The reason I went back to the main entrance is because I wanted to take a ride on the Monorail. The monorail was one of the ambitious projects of the former mayor; however, it wasn't really successful, so only one line has been built, and these days trains operate in a 30 minutes interval (there are only 2 trains on the line). Talks of monorail's imminent closure have been going on for a while now, so I'm glad I got to ride it.
The cars are not connected, so the interior kind of looks like a ferrys wheel cabin.

The stations are a prime example of 00s Russian architectural "design".

Having had a fine lunch at a sophisticated American cuisine restaurant (a McDonalds near the station), I headed towards my next destination - the Vorobyovy Gory metro station and it's surroundings.
And it didn't disappoint. It really is as gorgeous and impressive as I thought it would be.

Having admired the station for long enough, I boarded a train and left at the next stop - the Moscow State University. The campus is rathe big, with lots of buildings, sports facilities and trees. The campus borders the Vorobyovy Gory park, so I had a great walk there.
The main building of the university is one of Stalin's Seven Sisters. Notice how apart from the usual clock it has a barometer.

This is where the campus ends and the Vorobyovy Gory park begins. There's a nice scenic lookout on the city. The building on the last photo is colloquially known as "The Golden Brains".
There is a ropeway that crosses the Moscow River, but the line was ridiculously long, so I decided to walk through the park insted.

The park, albeit rather crowded, is still a quite place full of nature. There were small cute mice running around!
The road through the park led me back to the Vorobyovy Gory station.

More pics of the station because it deserves it.

So I boarded the train in direction opposite to the university and left at the next station; my next stop was the Luzhniki stadium which is Moscow's most important and the most well-known stadium. A vaccination site was operating there, but there still weren't a lot of people there.

I walked around the stadium, and then had a long seat under a canopy eating ice cream, contemplating life and watching the people come and go. Then I went back to the center to look for a place to have dinner at.

Having had a fascinating dinner of souvlaki with french fries and vegetables at a Greek restaurant, I went to check out the part of the center south of the Moscow River. It seemed a bit less sophisticated than the bigger northern part, but it still was nice.

I was really tired though. The last thing I remember before going to bed is a story about an underwater photographer from Hokkaido.

The next day, which was my last full day in Moscow, I went to the Gorky Park. I wouldn't say that it's special in any way, but, well, it's really large and has a lot of greenery, so I liked it.

This fountain is interesting. It looks like it will overflow, but it doesn't.

Apart from the greenery, there's lots of water there too.

Humans are not the only inhabitants of the park!

You may think that it's a ship, but it's actually a part of the waterfront with an shadow shaped like a ship's bow.

After a refreshing walk in the park, I headed for a tram station (with the tram being the last remaining kind of rail transport I had to ride on in order to deem the trip successful) to get back to aimlessly wandering in the center. Interesting stuff seen along the way includes the Shabolovka radio tower, a semi-abandoned Skyline and a small cozy bunch of avant-garde houses that look like this from above.

So, I returned to the center and just kept walking and enjoying my own company. It was really good and I don't regret anything. Nothing particularly interesting happened, but is it really that bad?

The dinner was had at a Georgian restaurant.

Le Corbusier
The Revolution Square metro station has these magnificent statues depicting the history of the USSR from 1917 to 1937.

So, the last day... Saying my last goodbyes to my hotel room.

These guards are tirelessly guarding the Eternal Flame and the Unknown Soldier's Grave near the Kremlin wall.

Rather blessed are the hands of these wise fellows.


A plaque honoring the fact that Lenin had visited this building at some point. A lot of buildings in the centre have them. "Lenin was here", "Lenin gave a speech here", "Lenin had a 2 second glance at this place", "Lenin took a huge dump here", etc.

The embassy of Iceland has regained it's flag.

The US Embassy. Apparently it's not even their only building. Do you really need this much space?

Some cement drops that took shape of a llama.

雨だった。The last photo before I entered the railway station to board the Aeroexpress train.

The airport has a mini capsule hotel that tries too hard to look futuristic. There's no point in it really as it's located in the waiting hall that's only reachable after you pass all the documents and security checks.

Back home.