Mike and I recently returned from a trip to Moscow, Russia. It was business for Mike, pure pleasure for me! I have had many thoughts about our experience there and want to record those before some of the details fade from memory. These are my lasting impressions.
The Best Part of the Experience:
- The People. They were gracious, warm, respectful, and generous. Our hosts treated us like royalty. They provided both Mike and me business class air travel, airport transport in a private car, a first-class hotel located in the heart of the most historic area, and several wonderful restaurant meals. Mike’s business commitment was for two days. The other three days we were there were for sightseeing and relaxing. I am not so sure that we Americans give our guests such wonderful care and consideration. The service everywhere was exemplary. Servers in restaurants and staff in shops were very interested in our impression of their country, and obviously touched with my answer, “Wonderful!”
- The Beauty. From the Kremlin, Red Square, the Cathedrals, the subway, the shops, and the restaurants, all were well maintained, clean, and architecturally beautiful. My need for beauty was totally satisfied. And yes, I realize, that all of Russia is not this way. Nor is all of the U.S. or anywhere else I have travelled.
- The Food. We had some wonderful food. Some of it was Russian and some of it was European, and it was all delicious. (Well, I might not have the Sea Urchin again!) The pastries and desserts were plentiful and delicious, beautifully displayed in storefront windows and glass front cases in restaurants. Food portions were adequate, but not nearly as massive as are many of our food portions. That may have something to do with the few people we saw who were overweight.
- The Shopping. Located right near our hotel were the posh shops, with many designers represented. Near this area was the Gum Mall, a most impressive and architecturally significant shopping mecca. The prices in the shops were similar to prices for the same merchandise in the U.S. Another shopping area I loved was the Izmailovo Flea Market. The wooden Russian dolls and Santa Clauses found there are exquisite, and well-priced compared to those found in specialty shops.
- No CNN or Fox News! All of the news we received was from BBC and MSNBC. We watched very little of it, and what we saw was nothing compared to the 24/7 political bashing we have on CNN and Fox. So, for almost a week, No Democrats, No Republicans, No Fake News, no Trump, and no (of course!) Russian Investigation. What a welcome break.
I have always wanted to see Russia. The mystery and majesty of the country have been an interest of mine for many years. The Russian man who was processing our visa in D.C. asked me why I wanted to go to Russia. My answer was immediate; Dr. Zhivago and Lara, of course!
I hope to be able to return to Russia someday, to continue to experience the magic of this historic and mysterious area. Until then, my memories of this country, especially of its people and its beauty, will remain with me.