Birthday in Russia: Moscow (Part 5)

So after Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 in Moscow, we have come to our last full day in Moscooowww.

I woke up feeling much better on our last full day - turns out the local Panadol punya dosage was so freaking kuat, my mind became so clear when I woke up lol. I still had a little bit of flu but that's only because I didn't get any flu medication la. Fever and cough and sore throat were gone dengan serta merta! I guess I know now why you need to go to a pharmacy to get a prescription and pick up your Panadol from their dispensary in Moscow......

Anyway! Enough about my penyakit issues. Dah over! Brand new day, brand new experiences :D

We booked a Moscow Metro Tour via Viator for this day, but we weren't really sure what to expect. There are several tours like this and some tours listed 5 metro stations, others listed 8, 9, 10 and so on. I just knew I wanted to see the popular Komsomolskaya Metro Station and Novoslobodskaya Metro Station (We also got to see Kievskaya Station, Prospekt Mira Metro Station and Ploshchad Revolyutsii Metro Station, amongst others)

Day 8 - 12 May 2016

Our tour guide appeared at our hotel lobby within 5 minutes of the scheduled meeting time - we thought she'd come with other tourists but turns out it was only for us two?! Which was fine with us la, because the tour turned out to be very fast paced and their trains were so loud and stations so busy (9 million passengers everyday!!!), we would have struggled to hear and pay attention to our guide if there were other people who joined the tour.

Side note: We didn't take the metro (other than on this tour) during our stay in Moscow because most of the attractions were within walking distance from our hotel area and for the 3 times we had to travel a longer distance, we already had a private car arrangement / managed to book an Uber.

Last picture is of our metro tour guide and I! Rambut dah tak terurus because of all the strong angin caused by the trains thundering from station to station... check out my fringe sembarang campak hahahahaha

To be honest, our pictures of their metro stations don't do any justice to the real deal at all because we rushed from station to station and couldn't take quality pictures. Their stations are freaking luxurious and gorgeous ok. They have super intricate designs (I love the mosaic tiling ones, so beautiful) and are embedded with history. I mean, for the city to have GUIDED TOURS of their metro stations has to say something, right

Ok la as it is the stations were built when Stalin had huge ambitions of constructing majestic metro stations that looked and felt like grand museums, and for the intention of glorifying him (meaning, Stalin) and the image of the Soviet Union. You can read more (and see gambar lagi legit of the stations) here, here. and here. You can also read up about Stalin's First Five-Year Plan and Second Five-Year Plan to understand in a broader context why he had such massive plans for the metro system in Russia. Kalau interested la.

We had also read online and were informed by our guide about the metro station with a "secret" underground tunnel, which the Russian army forces used during World War II! I know there are good reasons why it's not meant to be visited by locals and tourists but if only we were allowed to go in and see eh?! Even if there's nothing WWII-related left down there, it would have been so surreal.

Really glad we took up this guided metro tour package anyway because we wouldn't have seen and experienced the public train system in Moscow otherwise. Our local guide was young, bright and patient and was able to give us detailed insight about the metro stations and system in Moscow. My only criticism would be the guided tour felt super rushed and short even though it was 1 and a half hours. If we had to do that again, I'd probably pay more for a lagi extensive 3-hour guided tour of the metro stations like this one... rasa macam tak cukup!

Had lunch at a traditional Russian restaurant as recommended by our guide, since it was just a minute's walk away from the train station we dropped off at. We had traditional steamed dumplings (they're called pierogi), one with potato fillings and another one with cottage cheese fillings + another set of fried ones which looked like giant curry puffs haha. Quite nice, the steamed ones reminded me a lot of the ones we had in Poland but less muak.

Walked over to the State Russian Museum after lunch and paid for entry tickets to look at some of the exhibits (no ticketing issues here because we were the only ones in line haha!) I think we have pictures from inside the museum but somehow I can't find them in my phone wth. Will post them here if I can find them.

Left the museum to walk back to our hotel and came across some souvenier booths along the way - bought traditional Russian dolls called matryoshka for ourselves and my mum because... I mean??? Ni Russia seh??? They're known for their matryoshka dolls! Ala, you know those wooden dolls that beranak pinak????? 

Yes, these. 

I bought ones with cat images instead of the usual female images, though. Didn't buy the traditional ones with female images because 1. The cat ones are way cuter, 2. They're different from the usual female ones, 3. My mum is ok with cat dolls but will balk at dolls with human imagery and say mana boleh letak patung patung gini kat rumah, macam sembah berhala nanti malaikat tak masuk rumah OK IBU

I kind of wish I found the exact cat matryoshka dolls like the one in the GIF below though; I think it's so freaking cool when each subsequent piece unveils the inner parts of the cat!

I LOVE IT.  I just can't deal with such coolness.

Walked back to our hotel to makan in our room; ordered food from Pizzarion again! I don't think I mentioned this earlier but this is a halal-certified food delivery service which we used in Moscow:

We had their chicken and mushroom pizza and beef udon during our first order and they tasted nice, so we tried ordering their meat pie this time round... WHAT A BIG MISTAKE! Tak sedap sak. It's like a big pastry pouch of..... bacin. Or maybe we are not used to their version of processed meats ah hahahaha. Both of us took a big bite of the meat pie, belched then terus letak tepi seh. Tak sengaja nak buang rezeki but really cannot telan! Luckily the meat pizza was okay so we finished that up instead.

Actually kena speak Russian when calling in to Pizzarion's customer service hotline but nasib baik it wasn't an issue for us since St Regis' butler service is awesome! We used Google translate to read the menu online, compiled our order then whatsapped the hotel's butler Whatsapp service with screenshots:

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. If only we have this service for our regular lives LOL WE'D BE SUCH SLOBS/BRATS

Went jalan jalan after dinner, specifically wanted to go to the children's mall opposite our hotel to belikan a Masha doll for our friends' anak Aisyah since she is kemaruk with "Masha and The Bear" cartoon and her parents dah kirim. I mean, where else nak dapat a Russian cartoon's merchandise if not in Russia kan??? Tak dapat ah kan kalau cari kat kita punya Toys 'R' Us hahahahaha. Kat Moscow's toy stores belambak lambak seh. But bagus and amazing eh our globalized world? Toddler in Singapore boleh tersangkut onto a cartoon in Russia haha!

Quick video clip of the cute little recipient of the Masha doll:

(It was filmed vertically because it was Snapchat video ok)

Anyway. We also saw a souvenier shop at the mall entrance so we walked in and discovered they had a huge variety of affordable souveniers! So kita borong more souveniers kat situ, including an ushanka (Russian trooper hat) for Saliheen. We previously saw an ushanka booth in St Petersburg selling its cheapest ushanka for $180! We got a nice black one for $70 from this shop and Saliheen kept saying he'll wear it for terawih prayers IRRITATING.

The shop employees were typical cold faced Russians who eyed us suspiciously at first but all of us broke into smiles and laughter when we tried to ask them for the meaning of the Russian words on some of the apron souveniers. Kecoh and kelakar sekejap ayam nak berbual bahasa itik, and itik nak berbual bahasa ayam haha!

Left the mall after that to jalan jalan outside and tangkap angin and tangkap mood - it was 12 degrees out so it was a nice cooling walk with my husband, hand-in hand :) We walked past by Bolshoi Theatre then walked around GUM, St Basil's Cathedral and the Red Square areas again. A different feel and look since it was night time and Moscow twinkles really, really pretty at night, you guys <3

But that doesn't mean we weren't homesick already LOL BESOKNYA NAK BALEK SINGAPORE BYE

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