Monday, December 17, 2012

A Week in Russia - Moscow

Hi guys!
As it is December, events are fortunately lesser at work but I'm still super busy with other stuff and yes Christmas and New Year are actually driving me crazy because I have loads of X'mas parties to do and weddings to attend! Phew~!

Anywayz, I know if I don't blog about my Russia trip now, it will never come. LOL!
Me and the reporters at the Amsterdam Airport which is super-duperly amazing! It's like a shopping mall!
So, I went to Russia with our design and architecture students on a study trip and although I was quite reluctant at first but now I can tell you, I DID NOT  REGRET IT AT ALL!!! Well it is however a guided tour and it's very much focused on buildings and stuff which is probably not a biggest problem because I think that's the best thing Russia can offer!
Alright let's cut the crap, here we go with some cool places and stuff in Moscow!

The VERY famous St. Basil Cathedral
Located right outside the also very iconic structure in Russia, the Kremlin Wall, St. Basil Cathedral is a place where it is absolutely unforgivable to miss in Moscow. A lot of us call it the 'colourful onions' and we might even thought that it is a mosque but to tell you the truth, all churches in Russia look like mosque! Only difference is that you will always find a cross on the top of the dome.
Wow~Wow~! I've been there! The St. Basil Cathedral!!! 
St. Basil is simply the one place that I wanted to see so badly and when I was there I was like WOW~!!! It was truly jaw-dropping although it actually looks much smaller than what I've expected. I love the colours used and seriously I never knew it is such an old building cos the colours just made it looks damn modern! Plus, when we were there it was snowing! So I went to one of the most amazing buildings in the world to experience the first snow of my life! How cool is that?
We also went into the cathedral but it wasn't interesting at all lar.
Students showing off their sketches which they had to do under the cold weather!!!
Despite the beauty of the cathedral, according to the tour guide, there is a sad myth that said the king who asked to build the church, Ivan the terrible has blinded the two architects who designed the church so that they can't go on and build another similarly amazing building! So cruel!!! :S

Around the Red Square
The square outside the Kremlin Wall is named the Red Square. It has St. Basil, the Moscow State Historical Museum and the amazing-looking departmental store - GUM.
Hi! Welcome to the Red Square! :)
We didn't go into the museum but we were in GUM most of the time because it was just too cold to be hanging around at the Red Square!
Russia isn't known for its shopping and honestly GUM only sells branded stuff that you and me would rather fly to Paris from Russia to buy cos they are just too expensive! Our tour guide has once told us that somebody has asked her are the numbers on the price tags really price of the garment or is it a phone number! LOL!
Part of the quite huge GUM Departmental Store. 
But GUM is still breath-taking in its own way, the architecture and the interior's way! I myself am more amazed by the interior cos it just doesn't look like a shopping mall, it looks like you are walking on a street maybe in Amsterdam or in New York! Love their X'mas deco too! :)
You can see how they pay attention even on the interior of a shopping mall!

The Kremlin
If you have watch the Ghost Protocol, the building that they blew up in Moscow is the Kremlin. It is basically more like Putrajaya in Malaysia where the government offices are located at. From the outside, it definitely looks much cooler than Putrajaya, mainly because of the beautifully structured Kremlin Wall and the towers.
It is however not so interesting inside - just some buildings where the President works and some six or seven cathedrals included in the area.
Tony, the Dean of the School of Architecture, Building and Design, outside the Kremlin Wall.
Love this picture! 
The big ass cannon that was not used at all! 
By then, I was quite already sick of cathedrals... :p

Novedevichy Convent and the beautiful park
That's the convent behind me! 
The Novedevichy Convent is most probably the most famous nunnery in Moscow. Unfortunately (er... Perhaps fortunately cos I needed a break so badly from churches man) we didn't really go into the building but spent some really cool time strolling around the park right outside the nunnery.
Some ducks that were some present from some kings or something at the park and we had cute kids as our model! 
Romantic photo of me and Tony... LOL! 
I love that park! It feels like walking in the Central Park in New York, and I mean walking in the winter! We were literally shivering but hey I really enjoyed it!!! It's quite a romantic place to hang-out too! *wink~*

The Metro Station Tour
I think Russians are probably born to make almost everything into arts or they are just too filthy rich! Seriously making all train stations into art pieces is such a crazy job to do! And talk about the money spent! Phew~!
Train stations like no other! Our students were so amazed the tried every way to snap photos of them!
We took the train tour downtown and made a few stops in several stations that are extremely unique with its design. We, coming from Asian countries which only want the train to come fast and don't give a shit about how the station looks like were seriously stunned to see all these interior design! It feels like we are in a church, a museum or sometimes palace! I mean you even have chandeliers hanging in the train station! That's freaking crazy!
Well if I have the money and time, I think I would like to go to all stations and see all of their design!

Other interesting places we went...
I was quite glad that the tour package include a lunch at Hard Rock Cafe Moscow! Although I'm not an avid fan of Hard Rock Cafe but it's still fun to visit it in some countries like Russia! I mean tell me if  you own a Hard Rock Cafe Moscow's t-shirt! Nah right? And I have it now and it is super duper cool-looking!
Hard Rock Cafe's t-shirt, exclusively from Moscow with St. Basil on it! Woot~!
And it might be the only place where all the servers can speak perfect American-sounding English and you actually feel like you are at home!
I've been to Hard Rock Moscow!!! :D
Somewhere in the city of Moscow, there is this super tall and grand-looking building which is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office. I couldn't help but sharing this cos it just looks damn amazing!
I think this looks like some buildings in Harry Porter.
Part of the trip is to fulfill the CSR element besides just the learning experience. We originally wanted to visit an orphanage until they refused us because of some issues. We did however made a short visit at a house for the elderly people where our students said hi and sang Rasa Sayang to them.
Rasa Sayang eh~~~ From Malaysia to Russia!

Group pic! Without me! :(
I can see from those aunties and uncle's faces that they were very glad to see us and to be entertained by a Malaysian song. They kept asking for the meaning of the song! LOL! Anyway, even though I was just there to capture the visit, I still in a way felt so good that we've done something quite meaningful! :)

Oh, look at me and one of the students with the souvenir who bought!
Russian army hat yaw~!

The food...
There isn't much to talk about food in Russia mainly because we had to go Halal as we have some Muslim students in the group. So yea, not even chicken or beef... BORING...Zzzzz...
First meal we had in Moscow was nice cos I seriously didn't know we will be eating fish for the rest of the trip! But the rice with some herbs I haven't figured out what was it was super nice!
Breakfast buffet at our hotel was awesome though! Some of the food looks like they are fine-dining dishes. And guess what pianist playing music for you when you have breaky!  Cool right?
More to come...
Moscow was okay. St. Basil was amazing and unforgettable but what I did not expect was to arrive in another city which is even more interesting and in which I'm madly in love with - St. Petersburg.
To arrive in St. Petersburg, we had to take an 8-hour night train in a squeezy small cubicle in the train...
Pathetic space in the train cubicle! 
Quite hard for us to move around, quite hard to sleep but phew~ What an experience! :D

So St. Petersburg experience next!
More photos of my Moscow trip here!


Hayley said...

Russia, heard so much about it thru movies!

You look cute with all covered up! ^^

ShiRLeXia said...

Yea never have I thought of going to Russia but there I went!

Haha I love that winter hat of mine!!! :)