I had Russia on my mind since past 2 years and I knew it was time for me to finally go. In the midst of back to back photoshoots with some of the top models in Bombay and Delhi, I made sure I balance it all well to plan and execute this solo travel backpacking trip to Russia. Although I have done backpacking several times in the past, it's always a thrill to do it again.
âRussian Visa is easy and fairly cheap. I found all the details on this website.
It was raining the day I got my Visa in Bombay. My backpack was ready and I was set to explore all the palaces, squares and cathedrals that Russia had to offer. I am more excited to try local food so I always try to meet locals who know secret gems to a place. I believe the best way to travel is to do it like the locals do, and that's how I met Marina. A few weeks before my travels I put up a request on Couchsurf.com to live and surf the city with the locals. I got a few replies and Marina and I coordinated to meet and see the city for my first day. She took me to the coolest eating spot in Moscow called Market Place which was filled with cuisines from around the world. Market Place is located at Tsvetnoy Boulevard street and a must visit for every traveller. This is what we ate from a Vietnamese Restaurant. Now that we have started with food let me tell you all about that first...
Market Place, Moscow
Tsvetnoy Boulevard Street
Vietnames Cuisine here. Rice Noodles with Chicken and Prawns with Veggies Wrapped in Rice Sheet. Featuring Mariana snapping away on her Instagram.
Authentic pure Russian Cuisine here. Okroshka , Borscht, Turkey Steak and Morse from Cranberry
Time to enjoy some dumplings with potatoes, cottage cheese and chicken with Zhenya and Taniya. This is actually a very traditional Russian dish and a must try whenever in Russia. The name of this restaurant is Varenichnaya
Yarumen, Saint Petersburg
Traditional Ramen Noodels with Chicken, Pork and Seaweed. Honestly, it was quite average, so visit only if you are a Ramen fan.
Traditional Russian Pie. I tried the one with chicken and loved it. Had it in breakfast before exploring the city.
Delicious buffet breakfast at Market Place, a must try.
Kupetz Eliseevs Food Hall, is a little pricey and very fancy. You can buy small boxes of sweets and other bakery items to gift your loved ones.
Zaryadye Gastronomic Center, Moscow
This place is heaven. It is in Zaryadye Park and is heaven for any foodie. The place has dozens of cuisines to choose from.
Places to See
Saint Basil's Cathedral
The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral, is a church in Red Square in Moscow, Russia and is one of the most popular symbols of the country.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Moscow, Russia, on the northern bank of the Moskva River, a few hundred metres southwest of the Kremlin. With an overall height of 103 metres, it is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world.
The Street on the way to Req Square and the area nearby including The Gum
And here is me with some local Russian ladies in their traditional outfit. Just like me!
St. Isaacâs Cathedral, or Isaakievskiy Sobor in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city. It is the largest orthodox basilica and the fourth largest cathedral in the world.
Take the stairs all the up the dome to have a beautiful view of the city.
The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, was, from 1732 to 1917, the official residence of the Russian monarchs. Today, the restored palace forms part of a complex of buildings housing the Hermitage Museum.
An evening at Winter Palace.
The Peterhof Palace is a series of palaces and gardens located in Petergof, Saint Petersburg, Russia, laid out on the orders of Peter the Great. These palaces and gardens are sometimes referred as the "Russian Versailles". The palace-ensemble along with the city center is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Not to forget the Russian Dolls.
We went to:
Prilichnoye Mesto. All at a walking distance. I will always remember that night, to the fact how random and perfect it was.... new friends, new places and lots of beers.
Rooftop view from Kempinski Hotel. You can simply go up the rooftop restaurant for a view. Not mandatory to eat, just tag the hotel if you post a photo. They are super nice.
I feed off people's energy and emotions, their thoughts and aspirations...
What I lost and Found?
So here is the main thing. I know we all travel and see exotic places and all that. But what about those small moments and incidents that happen while you travel? I love creating content through my photography but what I actually live for are the possibilities of meeting new people. I feed off people's energy and emotions, their thoughts and aspirations...
I was lucky to meet so many amazing people on this trip. Zhenya and Tanya helped me catch my flight when I almost missed it. Vlada and Marina made my experience in Russia more special and local, it almost felt like we are old friends wandering in a city.
Moving on to the tragedies in this trip. The biggest one being losing my DJI Spark drone in St. Petersburg. Now, how the f*** did that happen? Just imagine a plastic bag being blown away by the wind into nowhere. That's exactly what happened to my drone, a strong blow of wind and there goes little sparky lost and crashed on a cold evening in Russia. To sober out from the heavy loss I planned out for that crazy Pub Crawl that night which u saw above.
The next day I forgot the one and only bank card I had, at Market Place breakfast place in St. Petersburg (see images above). George and I walked half way back when I realised I don't have my card. We rushed back and after 15 mins they showed me several other bank cards left behind and then mine. I realised it was not just me but it was crazy because I had almost no cash. But it would not have made any difference even if I had lost it forever.
Now I'll tell you why it did not make any difference. Because my card stopped working a day later anyway. Bear in mind I still have very less cash with me. It's been 2 months now and that card still does not work. FML.
So with no card, no cash I had to borrow money from my hostel to catch the slowest bus ride ever to the airport. When I realised I am about to miss my flight (given the fact that Russia gives you visa for exact days, that is up to your return flight, so if you miss your flight you pay a heavy fine!) I called up Zhenya, who then booked a cab from where I got off from the bus and helped me reach the airport just in time for my flight. (I mean I still had to cheat my way through the longest Check-in line ever, I will tell you that story when we meet).
Which brings us to the final tragedy of not being able to buy one single thing to bring back home from Russia because no cash and no card. Like an idiot I thought I'd buy things on my last day so that I don't have to carry around all that weight in my backpack. Guess what, I now buy whatever I want as soon as I see it.
Even after all these mishaps, I found such beautiful people who redefine friendship, hospitality and the way of life in general. I am blessed to have done this backpacking trip and cant wait for hundreds of more. Until next time...
Inspiring â¢ Passionate â¢ Meaningful Travels.
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