"Does that mean I can come to Russia then?" I said to my boyfriend when he told me the World Cup of 2018 would be held in Moscow and he'd be there for six weeks as part of his job.
"Absolutely!" Stephen said.
It was Friday 29th June 2018 and I touched down in Moscow, a city that I've always wanted to visit but never really thought I would. But sure here I was, ready to witness for myself all that my A-Level Russian History taught me, and what I've forgotten in that subject... a lot of 'Red' was involved, I know that for sure.
I cosied up in the 5 star Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow where my boyfriend and his team where staying. Let me tell you, that was a luxurious hotel for sure. I felt like Jack Dawson walking about the top deck of the Titanic.
The breakfast was nothing short of majestic, but I'm not one for eating so early in the morning. In true Irish nature, I was just gasping for a cup of tea! Even when I fancied a cup of tea in my room during the day, up came room service with a tray of what could only be likened to a priest's altar with little sliver pots and trinkets that seemed to be integral to the ritual of making a cup of tea... Amen!
|...but I'm used to a teabag and a kettle? Are there instructions?|
|On the mornings when I could eat...|
We visited the 'Red Square', which is the centrepiece of Moscow. St Basil's Cathedral is convincingly like 'Whoville' with its candy-esque structures and colours. However, the only Grinch about was Putin.
|St Basil's Cathedral|
|And just right in front of you Ladies and Gentlemen we have Bowser's shell...|
|Eyebrows, feet, doors? They all are better with a good arch!|
|Kazan Cathedral in the Red Square|
The Red Square is prominent for being the location used for significant government ceremonies, and was used for the coronation of Tsars. I'm sure the Romanov family was 'Tsar-y' for ever stepping inside that Square... (Terrible joke, I'm sorry...I Mos-cow')
|State Historical Museum in the Red Square|
That evening we went to the Bolshoi theatre to see Raymonda, a beautiful three act ballet. The theatre itself was absolutely astounding and I couldn't help but squeeze Stephen's hand in excitement as we took our seats and took in the awe-inspiring view in front of us. It was a sight to behold!
A bucket-list moment indeed by all accounts.
|Bolshoi at night|
The next day we went exploring, absorbing the vibes of the city. I enjoy seeing fresh food markets and stalls, and I love seeing the texture, repetition and colours of all the fruits, vegetables and spices.
We visited Izmailovsky Park, a gorgeous natural area ideal for walks, a fairground for kids and further on Izmailovo palace, which is convincingly like Disneyland. It is often used for marriage ceremonies and celebrations, and of course Russian Doll Souvenirs.
|O.K ladies now let's get in formation...|
|I love taking photos of Russian Dolls|
And now, for the real reason I was in Moscow...
I never actually thought I'd mention football on this blog, but here we are.
Let's be honest, I'm not a football fan. Never was.
However, I've always enjoyed the cultural element of the World Cup. Before I met Stephen, I would always watch some of the World Cup matches. So, when I was given the chance to see a match (with hospitality thrown in there I think as a subtle bribe) I thought it'd be an experience I'd enjoy.
I watched the Spanish Vs Russia match. Stephen wore a Spanish jersey and I wore a Russian one.
|The number of people in the stadium|
Things were getting tense when it came to penalties, and I was electrified by the crowd's energy and atmosphere, and I'll never forget that moment Russia won.
Would I recommend Moscow, Russia? Absolutely! It's an eclectic mix of European culture dazzled with generous lashings of influence from the Orient upon the unwavering foundations of the traditional Slavic cultures.
I hope you enjoyed getting an insight to my time in Russia.
More travel posts coming soon...
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