Saturday, October 12, 2013

3rd class to Москва

While completely lacking of comfort and style, 3rd class--at least in my books--is indeed a necessary element to experience whilst traveling abroad. And so that's exactly what I've done this past weekend, on a short trip to Москва.

Pronounced "mosk-va" in Russian, Moscow is only a short train ride away. We bought our train tickets at the station here (struggling to find the right desk to go to, but found it in time.) Our way to Moscow would be overnight on a sleeper-train, and our way back to St Pete's would be through the day on a regular train. We also reserved two nights at the "Napoleon Hostel" which was a very affordable place to stay, and only a five minutes walk to Red Square! Excluding food, souvenirs, and entrance fees to places, our trip cost less than $100.

Here I am laying on my bed in the train. You can see everything was a brown color in the car. It was also very cramped, with the walk-ways being very small. We were given padding, sheets, a pillow, pillow case, and a blanket. Surprisingly it was pretty darn comfy, although I didn't sleep very well.

Looking down from my bed. There were four beds in one compartment, plus one across from us on the other side of the walk-way.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of our very nice, slightly creepy, and purely Russian bunk mate.
Our train arrived in Moscow at 5am. We had a bit of a struggle finding our hostel, and being tired & carrying your luggage around at that time doesn't help! But it's all part of the adventure, and eventually we made it.
Napoleon Hostel
All seven of us girls stayed in a 10-bedded dorm. We had new room-mates every night it seemed. Two English men, an Asian guy, and an Asian girl. We didn't talk a lot with them, but when we did they were nice.
Our room's "name"...Novosibirsk, a Russian city.
My bed in our hostel
Morning #1
Here we are walking to Red Square for the first time. I was very excited!

St. Basil's
 The Kremlin
Walk-way next to the Kremlin

View of Moscow whilst walking inside the Kremlin

Huge square and cathedrals (which we toured) inside the Kremlin

Walking around and having fun on a cold day!
 On the streets
This was a world map, with St Basil's sticking out where "Moscow" is located

Lit up street right next to "G.U.M." -- the largest and most expensive mall in Russia (which we walked around in for a bit)

Red Square lit up at night

Not all soldiers are serious all the time
"Izmailovsky" market 
Outside restaurant
My meal: pork, bread, onions, pickles, & sauce. So good!

 St Basil's
St Basil's

A steep staircase. Gotta love 'em!

View of Moscow while inside St. Basil's

I loved the walls, ceilings, and low lighting in St Basil's



Signed the guest book in St Basils!

 Russian country-side
Views from our train ride home

Our 8 hour train ride home--just like the sleeper train--was definitely 3rd class. I had barely any room to move my feet (and having the guy across from me fall asleep, slump in his chair, and take up most of the room didn't help.) I passed my time by reading a book, but I finished it and let me tell you: after that, the trip home seemed to drag on forever! I actually would prefer the sleeper-train to the sitting-train.
We barely scratched the surface in our two full days there, but what we did see was great. Here is a list...
1. Red Square
2. St Basil's
3. The Kremlin
4. Moscow's metro (much more complicated than St Pete's)
5. Izmailovsky market
6. Lenin's body
7. GUM mall
8. Streets of Moscow
Moscow was awesome, and it had a different feeling than St. Pete's. It was a great weekend getaway. But it felt so good to come home to our lovely Saint Petersburg.
That's all for now, folks. Hope you enjoyed all of the pictures! This weekend we are going to start planning for our long vacation (where we will travel outside of Russia) in November.
Talk to you all soon,


  1. Wow, what an incredibly amazing weekend journey!! All the architecture and color of the buildings is such a contrast to anything we have, which I know you appreciate! :)

    1. (: Yes the buildings are the historic parts of Moscow & St Pete's. They all are not that way. Lots of communist-style apartment buildings, and other plain/regular buildings.

  2. Dear Maegan, You are on an experience and trip of your lifetime. Hope your coat is adequate for the cold temperatures. The first picture near the beginning shows you are wearing tennis shoes it looks like.The last picture of you just before the picture of the countryside going home looks like you might have boots on. I like your Green neck scarf. Did Sveta go with you girls? Pictures of the Russian Market place was great. It look like it was really big. Were they selling things that were reasonably priced? Did you buy anything? Love Grandma Rogers.

  3. My coat is doing well so far! I have a thicker parka to wear when it gets colder, and yes I brought both tennis shoes and boots on my Moscow trip. Sveta didn't go with us girls. We usually see her just once a week for Saturday excursions. The market was very big! The items there were reasonably priced, and you could barter if you wanted to. I didn't buy a few things!

  4. DearMaegan, Reading your blog again, I find it amazing that you went on a trip to Moscow without Sevta or someone who could speak Russian pretty well. Does one of the girls have a better handle on the Russian language than the others? Were there lots of signs at the train station that you could read? Were there lots of street signs to help you find your hostel? Did you have a map to get around? How often do you meet someone who can speak English? Did anyone at the hostel speak English? Love, Grandma Rogers

  5. Thanks! All of us girls are about the same with the Russian language. Knowing the Cyrillic alphabet definitely helps--most things are in Cyrillic. The train station was probably the most difficult place we had to navigate. But asking for directions & having people point us in the right direction (literally), and us just reading our tickets got us there. We did have trouble finding our hostel, but were able to go to a café with Wifi and a couple girls looked it up on their smartphones. As for a map, we had access to one on their smartphones if we needed to...but everything we generally wanted to see was really close together (except for the market.) Moscow's metro system was in all Cyrillic, and lots more complicated than St Pete's, but we managed it.

    As for talking with Russian's who speak English....we don't really talk to anyone but ILP directors (who speak English fairly well) and host family members. We don't talk with strangers. So, who knows, lots of Russians may speak English, but I don't talk with them. You don't really talk with strangers unless you have to (same as in the US!) At the hostel the receptionist and a few others spoke English, as well as other people staying there... people from London, Australia.. ect.