Fact no.1 – Russia is known for really many things – it’s a country that lies on both European and Asian continents which makes it the largest country in the world. Now, imagine all the places you could visit and things you could possibly do there. In this texts we will discover some interesting facts about Russia and some of the reasons why you should visit it.
It is a place where you can travel through 11 time zones within the country and the landscapes are showing all the variety of the world – from the remainings of glorious Tzar Empire to famous Soviet era monuments and the cold and cruel vastness of Siberia.
Legendary Trans-Siberian railway connects all that with around ten thousand kilometers of Russian land – from eastern Europe all the way to the doors of China and North Korea.
Tsars, Bolsheviks, Lenin, Stalin, Laika, Yuri Gagarin, Putin, vodka… and with all in between, we arrived to the summer 2018 and the World Cup was just one more reason to visit Russia.
This time, football was in focus and Russia was epicenter of all the fuss and fever. We decided that this is the moment – our first, but for sure not the last trip to Russia.
Arriving to Moscow, already with the first steps from the airport you start to get the idea of how big is Russia – the buildings around, streets and sidewalks, people… everything is big in Russia and that impression is not leaving you in any moment. And it`s not an impression, it`s a fact!
With first attempts of interacting with locals (airport, taxi, bus, apartment) I start to understand the years of philosophy of this country – English is a foreign language as any other and not the universal one – Russians just don’t care about English.
Very little English is spoken even at the airport, bus stations and central touristic places.
Being from Serbia for once in my life served in my favor – apart from having VISA-FREE ENTRY (which doesn’t happen very often for me), my Serbian language is more useful than English here, and I am happy about it.
From the language part, we were all set – we actually enjoyed that not many people were speaking English and we were challenged to use our Serbian-Russian in everyday communication.
Ignacio was particularly excited to show off his Serbian in attempts to communicate in Russian finding it conveniently similar.
However, we saw many foreigners struggling with this – we heard of some Spanish guys ending up in a wrong Russian town due to the language misunderstanding.
But, what I noticed, besides that constant struggle that foreigners have when communicating with Russians, there is not much of hard feelings – the case of the guys that ended up in a wrong town come to the attention of president Putin who, as every good slavic host, took good care of his guests and bought additional tickets for the mistaken football fans so at the end they were able to see the match they wanted.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – another phenomenon that makes you experience mixed feelings and another reason why you should visit Russia. This man is a living cult in the country and you can feel it all around… and you can see it… and he can see you… and you can feel it.
It’s good and bad at the same time but you respect the idea because Russia looks happy.
Architecture of even the least significant building is not less than impressive, streets are wide and clean, parks are beautifully maintained, and everything works in perfect order – metro, trains, busses… everything runs like a Swiss watch.
Those hundreds and hundreds of pages of obligatory school literature will come to life as you start walking on the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg… Anna Kareninna, Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment… it will all makes sense all of a sudden and that´s another reason why you should visit Russia – you will get to know the places where the legendary Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky were finding their inspiration.
During our two weeks in Russia in the middle of football madness we witnessed total absence of any kind of incident that usually follows this kind of mass events.
The main point is – you feel safe in Russia. But, you also feel like you should not mess with Russians, not even with middle age woman cashiers in supermarkets or they will literally kick your ass (been there seen that) – it`s a fact!
Russians are great, they are kind of people I really like – they don’t smile without a reason, they are not over-polite, they don’t try to please you in that theatrical kind of way. They might seem grumpy or even angry, but they are usually not… unless they are!
If you are good to them they are good to you, if you even try to be bad, they become scary. Well, fair enough. The size of their bodies is also intimidating, especially if you are as short as two of us.
Everyone should get to know at least one Russian in their life – that is like a bucket list thing suggestion. It’s an experience itself and nothing explains all the history and philosophy of Russia like a passionate Russian who strongly believes in the philosophy of his/her country – that is definitely not a thing you see everywhere.
Then we have a weather in Russia – all I can say is – Moscow – middle July – the heating in the room was ocationally on. It makes you think about what happens in Siberia. In any case, june-september might be the best time to visit Russia. Anything out of those months would require serious winter clothes.
Russia will amaze you in every sense – and this is another fact – with it’s weird (in a positive way) people, it’s impressive history with all the glorious architecture of palaces, orthodox churches and any other buildings, the richest museums in the world, fortresses, ports, famous soviet monuments and enormous buildings, idea of Siberia, legendary and worldwide famous Russian salad (only in Russia known as Olivier salad), caviar (in Russia you can actually afford it) and the variety of the countries’ most known drink – vodka.
If you have a chance to visit Russia, you should not miss it. If you don’t have a chance you should definitely create it.
Another fact about Russia – it is more than worth of visiting. Keeping in mind the enormous area that it covers, it might be difficult to make a trip throughout the country but still, not impossible.
As Russia starters pack we recommend Moscow and Saint Petersburg for at least two/three weeks. You will be blown away only with these 2 majestic cities and you will want to go further…even till Siberia.
The curiosity will simply be awakened forever.
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