Day 28: Flight to Moscow and Exploring this Magnanimous Place
Initially we planned 7 days’ road trip in Turkey but due to last minute Turkey-Russia ferry booking, we reached Sochi before our pre-planned date. So, I booked round trip flights to Moscow considering we got 2 extra days in hand. We were lucky to find USD 150.00 round trip tickets online so we booked it and were in Moscow next day.
Welcome to Moscow – It is a busy city comparing Sochi which is a very relaxed & laid-back city. People are much nicer and friendly in Sochi (wait till you read this). As we stepped out of the Airport and hired Airport taxi, our journey of Russian experiences started. Our Taxi driver was a Tajikistani who asked USD 50.00 approx to the Hotel. Oh man!! What a car ride it was. Seriously we felt as we are in some roller coaster ride from Airport to Hotel, This guy was probably the worst driver I have ever came across. He was not ready to listen to us. He played loud Uzbeki music, kept smoking while driving and was far beyond the speed limit. As soon as he saw the traffic on road, he actually started driving on footpath and believe me, he actually drove on footpath for roughly 15 mins and kept driving till he crossed all the traffic on main road. We were gobsmacked but stayed quiet. And then came the traffic light where he finally pulled his car to the main road.
If anyone knows what song it is, please do drop in a comment 🙂
As we reached Hotel and as he was taking our stuff out of the car, he suddenly hiked the fare by some odd USD 20.00! We were in no mood to pay extra and conveyed that to him. To be honest we were bit scared too as the whole look and feel of the car including the driver and all the phone calls he made to his friends while driving in his local language where he was mostly yelling, gave us an impression that he may have a gun in his car too. But anyways we told him that we do not want to pay more as we are giving you what we agreed. Some how he agreed and left. Phew!! Finally we were in the Hotel.
We booked Courtyard by Marriott, Kazan which was very close to Kremlin hence explored Kremlin all day. We booked cab from Hotel to Saint Basil’s Cathedral and walked around that area. There are endless things to do in Moscow but we only covered Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow Kremlin, Kremlin walls and towers, GUM department store (Exceptional building and the most expensive brands you will get here) and of course, visited Moscow’s Metro which MUST NOT be missed.
While we were roaming round Red Square, i got super excited (as usual) and wanted to do a bunny jump in the air. Well Akhil always challenges me to do my best as i am honestly bad but if you see picture below, even you will agree that i did reasonably well. Isn’t it? Offcourse, that jump did not come easy! If you look closely, you will see my phone popping out of the pocket? Oh yes! I shattered the phone screen. So to put things in perspective, first mobile incident happened in Greece and second in Russia. Akhil was amazed thinking that i was still holding my phone and its neither lost or stolen!
After spending some quality time in Red square, we google searched for Indian restaurant and decided to dine there. We hired a cab and guess what another bad cab experience in Russia was waiting for us. We hired licensed cab and gave him location address. It was nearly 15-20 mins drive from Red Square and we knew it would cost us roughly USD 10-12.00 But as soon as it came to money he started asking for RUB 3500.00! And that was it for me. I was pissed off as I could see every taxi driver is trying to rip tourists in Russia. I asked him why he was not using his taxi meter and he had no answer. He started shouting so we decided to call police. He finally agreed to charge USD 15.00 and left. Gawdd! It was not fun at all but leaving all the bad experiences aside, we enjoyed yummy samosas, chai and fabulous Indian food.
The plan was to enjoy Moscow’s luxury at a leisurely pace but I think I have to accept the fact that Leisure and I don’t go hand in hand many times. When we got back to Hotel, I went to take a nap while Akhil was working from hotel lobby. My mind is always planning what happens now, so i pulled out both of our passports to plan our next country i.e. Kazakhstan. While looking at Akhil’s Kazakhstan visa i saw something which neither of us expected. Within 5 minutes, I walked fast towards the lobby holding Akhil’s passport. I called him and pointed towards his Kazakhstan visa. I asked him to look at Kazak’s visa expiry date, and you should have seen the colour on his face! His Kazakhstan visa was expiring same day when we were soaking Moscow’s luxury at our leisurely pace. Yes, which means today was the last day we could have been in Kazakhstan!
Let me get you guys to understand the gravity of the situation.. We were 1392 kms far from Astrakhan (Kazakhstan border point) while our car was parked in Sochi which was again 1100 kms away from Astrakhan.
Wohooo!! You know that goose bump feeling which has little extra stress in it. Thats what i was feeling, and Akhil was literally shitting bricks :-p
It was already 8:00 PM in Moscow and we had no direct flight to Sochi available same night. With no other option we went to sleep hoping to get first flight next day. We knew some serious adventure was awaiting us around the corner!
Did Aarti & Akhil reach Kazakhstan border on time?
Did Aarti & Akhil complete their journey as planned, or they had to take a detour?
Stay tuned for our next blog entry.. 😉