Day 12: Moscow Tour Time

Red Square
Red Square
KGB after a bottle of vodka
KGB after a bottle of vodka

Yesterday was a busy “play tourist” day, covering most of Red Square including the Eastern Orthodox St. Basil’s Cathedral, with its colorful onion domes; one of the most beautiful parks in the world just outside the Kremlin walls (see header if it is current); and Tym Department Store with its turn-of-the-century splendour (it has an enclosed galleria like the one in Milano).

Meals have been incredibly exciting and contrary to stereotypical notions of Russian food. Like most big cities around the world, you can find state-of-the-art contemporary food for nouvelle tastes. We found a great lunch place near the hotel called “Fresh”, with inventive vegetarian dishes. I had a salad of quinoa, avocado and greens, and Gee Kin had one with buckwheat, tomatoes, grilled spinach, sweet potatos, and mung bean sprouts. Both were served with olive oil and a delicious miso/rice vinegar, soy sauce, and mint dressing.

For dinner, we ventured into the Arbatskaya area and landed on an original crab-and-caviar menu with Prosecco for under $50! From Kamchatka, the crab is Russia’s equivalent of the Alaskan King Crab. Gee Kin thinks perhaps the oil boom brought on alot of high end quality food demands but the ruble devaluation has made the prices here a bargain. Come soon while Russia is on sale.

See pop-up captions above to sights we visited today.

Follow up to my own question the other day: why does it seem so long to lunch time on the TME and always an hour away?

Take a look at the up to six time zone changes, from Beijing to Ulan Bator in Mongolia, then across Siberia to Moscow. Many of the westernmost cities such as Kirov, Novgorod, and Ekaterinaburg along the train trip follow Moscow time to avoid confusion. However, as the crow flies westward, the time zones are less dramatic on a train than those when flying. Jet lag is reduced, but the time warp messes with your brain and metabolism like a slow drag. Also notice how tidy (and tiny) our US times zones are compared to those in Russia. Russia visually looks and feels alot like Canada somehow when you compare the two countries on the map.

World Time Zones
World Time Zones

6 thoughts on “Day 12: Moscow Tour Time”

    1. Although I try hard to focus on all the other aspects of traveling, the easiest and most comforting posts are about the food in each country. I know you have a refined palette and would enjoy these adventures into the food world. Hope you can share these tastings with me!


  1. Impressive!! and a case where “time doesn’t seem to fly by!” – the map helps me understand why.


    1. It’s a crazy sluggish feeling, like you are going uphill and sliding back to where you started. We’re too air-travel centric to understand this sensation by rail across long long distances.


  2. Hi, Victoria,

    It became a routine of mine: reading your travel posts on my Caltrain ride home.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and reflections!

    I took TME almost 30 years ago to Moscow and had a memorable travel experience. I drank the cheapest Chinese wine with some fellow Russian passengers and traded wine for smoked fish with them. Did you get to chat with the passenger in other cars?

    Also, our conductor, lady, yanked the bed sheets from us every morning before we woke up, so she could complete her cleaning duty for the morning. Did you experience something similar?



    1. I’m glad you have a slot of time to squeeze into your busy schedule for this diversion. I’m delighted to hear that you were as crazy as we are to have taken this journey. We will have to compare notes. Your experiences were great to hear about, and I can picture them. The cars and linen are probably the same ones you used! The good news was that we had the car virtually to ourselves (the sign of a dying system). The bad news was that we had the car to ourselves, so regrettably our encounters with others were limited. We met the German brothers, the Mongolian woman (with limited communication capability on both sides), and a Thai high school teacher. The Thai was going overland from Bangkok through Vietnam, Laos, China, Mongolia, and Russia to Eastern and Western Europe. He was practicing English for his trip so Gee Kin entertained him with political questions. As for the linen, we were able to keep ours all week and they were only confiscated at the end.


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