Moscow, The End of the Line

The one thing travelling has taught me is ditch any pre-conceived ideas you might have. I was slightly apprehensive about visiting Moscow, my money belt was tightly fixed to my body and I wondered whether it would be safe to walk out at night alone. It was completely safe and I found people went out of their way to help. Only this morning I was studying a street map and an older gentleman asked if he could help and yesterday a young man gave up his seat for me on the Metro, such courtesy.

The 2 things that will stick in my memory of Moscow are it’s churches and the Metro.

On Sunday I went to a Russian Orthodox church service, a small church called the Nativity of Putinki. Painted white on the outside with bright azure blue domes and golden spires, such a picture up against the blue skies of Moscow. It was also ornate inside, real candles flickering everywhere. This would be seen as too much of a fire hazard at home.

The gold icon paintings, the mosaics, the priest all in white proudly wearing his tall hat, but best of all the Russian male singers, so uplifting. The congregation stood throughout the service and all the women wore headscarves. I felt bare and decided to put on my sunhat, my own way of showing respect. I had no way of following the service which was all in Russian but when I left the church at the end of the service, I felt a sense of peace.

And now for the Metro. I went on a tour with 36 other people, guided by a young Siberian women whose enthusiasm for the Moscow Metro was contagious. She took us to 7 of the best, the art deco designs, the gold ceiling mosaics, depicting the might of Russia, the stained glass murals, the marble tiles, the 36 pairs of larger than life bronze statue which are lucky if you touch certain parts like the dogs nose just take your breath away. The Metro is clean, and efficient too, the trains run every 2 minutes and the most impressive thing is that there are no fare zones so you can travel anywhere for 55 roubles that’s just £0.70. The lines run from 5.30 am till 1.00 am. I know I didn’t travel late at night but whenever I boarded a train I felt safe. Russian people are proud of their underground railway and I can see why. I learnt a bit of history too, when Khrushchev came to power, he made sure that all references to Stalin were removed from the stations and all images were either covered over or replaced with Lenin’s face. The process was known as De-Stalinization.

But the most practical tip from our guide which I put to good use today as I muddled my way around Moscow was how to tell if you were going in the right direction, you hear a male voice going into the centre of Moscow and a woman’s voice if you’re coming from the centre.

I’ve now been travelling for 59 ½ days and it’s time to go home. Tomorrow I’ll fly back into Heathrow and a pick up my life again.
It won’t be the same life, you don’t make this journey to the other side of the world without growing and developing an inner strength. Goodness knows I’ll need new resources as I face the rest of 2017

Thank you Steve for being with me on this journey, you’ll always be my muse, my inspiration, my love.