We’ve been battling some sleep disturbance since our arrival in Moscow. Not just because of the 8 hour difference from Jacksonville (actually 9 hours if our stay in Mexico counts), but because the sun is always out. Mike and I have found ourselves galavanting around town (sun still out and bright) thinking it is early to mid-evening only to find out it’s already 11 pm! Then later, just as we’re getting into a nice deep sleep, the sun rises yet again (around 4:45 am or so). Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly happy to be here for the 18 hour days, especially considering the sunrise in the deep of winter here isn’t until 10 am or so, and then sunset is around 5. If you’re counting, that makes for a 7 hour day—much too short for decent sightseeing opportunities.
Today started out finishing up seeing the “must see” metro stations. We started out at Mayakovskaya station. It is known for its “stalinist architecture” and it’s mosaic ceilings extolling the “bright Soviet future.” A few snaps (or in Mike’s case, more than just a few), and we were off to the last of our must-see metro stations, Komsomolskaya station. This was definitely our favorite, with the yellow ceilings and baroque-ish style. If there is only one metro station to see while in Moscow, I’d say this is the pick.
We continued to ride the Metro to Gorky Park, and walked around a bit. Today being Monday, it was no surprise it was totally empty. Mike decided it was “the saddest park that ever was” without the crowds. I’ll admit, it wasn’t Alexander Gardens, but, it had a “fun fair” vibe to it–even if it seemed past it’s prime. After a few minutes in the shade and a quick drink break, we crossed the street to the Garden of Fallen Monuments. At first we only saw a bunch of unrecognizable statues in an unkempt yard. We were starting to get a little disappointed in what we were seeing when we walked to a section you have to pay to enter. This is where all the soviet statues were “laid to rest” after the collapse of the USSR. It was pretty fun exploring the park, especially considering it may disappear soon due to projects slated for the space it occupies.
Overlooking the park from across the river is the Peter the Great Statue. If this were trek for one, I would just say that it looks like it belongs in the “Fallen Monument” park. But, as this is trek for two, I have to quote Mike and say it looks like “a monument to the biggest douche in the world.” Seriously, it is an eyesore. It’s sheer size is ridiculous. Mike says it seems like the kind of monument Steven Colbert would design for himself. We aren’t alone in this sentiment. First of all, the Statue of Liberty, which I always considered large and imposing, stands at 46 meters in height. At more than twice the height, the Peter the Great Statue is 96 meters tall! It has been included in various lists of the “ugliest structures or statues” in the world. Moscow tried offering it to St. Petersburg, but it was refused. It’s basically a giant Muscovite hot potato!
We made our way over to another Russian restaurant ( Aka: PECTOPAH) to give the food another try. While I don’t think Russian cuisine is the next big undiscovered culinary gem, I think Mike was a little harsh in his criticism of Russian food yesterday. Nevertheless, we certainly weren’t going to eat Pizza Hut and Subway for the rest of our time here. So, we went to a Grabli cafeteria. It’s kind of like a “Picadilly” where you load up a tray as you move through stations and pay for each selection. The atmosphere was kind of like a Disney “Magic Kingdom” restaurant, maybe in the wild west section, with all the servers at the restaurant wearing cowboy hats. Overall, the food was better than yesterday, and we even got hot entrees and dessert. I would detail what we got, but when we got there we were so incredibly hungry, even I couldn’t be bothered with trying to read the Cyrillic descriptions to decipher them later. All I know is I got some sort of omelet covered flattened steak with potatoes (of course) and Mike got cold borscht, fish, and potatoes. It was pretty much a feast, and overall way better than yesterday.
Oh yeah, one last thing, we saw a few of these stands selling fast food type stuff. Not sure how to pronounce the name though: