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.