Day 190 (Moscow, Russia)
It’s been half a year already since I left Saskatoon for the rest of the world. It seriously feels like only a few weeks ago that I took that 59 hour bus ride to New York and met my first Couch Surfing host. But it’s actually been 27 weeks and the days/weeks keep flying by rather fast. Since my last post I kept moving North toward Russia which took me through Kiev, Ukraine for a few days. Enough time to walk around and see some sights and take in a free tour. The best place to eat in Kiev in my opinion has to be Puzata Hata which has authentic Ukrainian food in a buffet style restaurant for a extremely cheap price. I ate there most days and it rarely cost me more than $5 CAD for a huge amount of food.
During my time in Ukraine I got to take a day tour to Chernobyl which was well worth the cost. They take you basically as close as you can get to the failed reactor without being an actual member of the cleanup crew. Then they take you to the city of Prypiat which is a ghost town since the disaster and is really an amazing place to be. We got to go inside several buildings and check out the famous amusement park that never got the chance to function as the disaster happened a few days before it was set to open. If you are ever in Ukraine I really recommend the tour as they give you much more access than I really expected they would.
After Kiev I took the train to Moscow on August 31st as my visa to Russia begins on the 1st of September and I didn’t want to waste any time on the thing as it wasn’t cheap. If I get one again I will likely go a cheaper route. Getting a visa outside your home country can be hit and miss on prices and what exactly is required of you. For example I was attempting to get my visa to India while in Moscow and they wanted hotel reservations and return tickets which I don’t intend to ever have. When I looked up doing it in Egypt it appears to be 10 time easier so I will attempt to do it when I land in Cairo in a few weeks.
I have been in Moscow for almost a week now and really have not done a huge amount. I have gone to several CouchSurfing events which have all been fun. One was a weekly game night were I learned to play a game called Mafia and was reintroduced to the fun of UNO. Another was the weekly meeting where I met some cool people that I hope to see again in a few days. I am in Moscow during the CouchSurfing invasion which is a yearly thing that some CS communities do in which they plan many events over a period of a few days. There is a party on Friday that is going to be amazing with unlimited food/drinks and 2 live bands playing for 2 hours each. I hope there is a good turnout as it is a really interesting event. Then on Sunday there is a boat trip for 3 hours followed by going to some clubs after that. Should be an amazing weekend either way.
I went to a few clubs last Friday with my host and his French guest. The clubs here are full of beautiful women which is always a good thing. I actually had an interesting experience of our group not being allowed in the club because we had 1 girl with the 3 of us. They actually had too many women in the club and were only letting men in which is completely backwards from Canada. Another odd thing in Moscow is that any car on the road is a potential taxi ride as if you put your hand out people just stop and pick you up for a fee. I have seen a few people do this during my time here and my Russia host says it is rather normal in Moscow, which may explain the small amount of actual taxi’s for such a massive population.
I will have many more pictures to follow hopefully as I will be doing a free tour for the CS invasion and also I still have a week here before I take the train to Saint Petersburg. I will be in Saint Petersburg for roughly 10 days before I catch my already booked flight to Cairo, Egypt. That will be an entirely new kind of trip and I am looking forward to it very much.