Farewell to Moscow

Posted by on 9, Aug 2010 in 2010 - The Caucasus, Eastern Europe, Europe, Russia

Like Napolean we left Moscow in smoke a bit earlier than planned. The smoke seemed to have booked in for the next week so we decided we’d leave two days early. We’ve seen most of what we wanted to and will hopefully get another chance to visit in the future.

So yesterday was our last day in the city and we spent it at the fascinating Museum of the revolution. There’s a helpful sheet in English for almost every room and it was really interesting to see how the revolution changed the way of life of the average Russian. We thought it was a bit too rosey eyed view of the past and it was certainly hard to beleive some of the really poor areas we have driven through used to have standards of living that the museum displayed. If they did they must have actively gone out and destroyed all the evidence of the past once communism fell. It reminded me slightly of the intourist Tours from my childhood where everything in the Soviet union was wonderful and everything outside was awful. As a couple of examples, there was a model of a glamourously dressed woman at a restaurant table with a bowl full of pineapples and other fruit and a huge cake described as a normal person eating out. When we came the only fruit you could get – even in the Beriozka shops (tourists only) was not fit for animals let alone posh restaurants. And further on the cause of WW2 was laid at the feet of the west for appeasing Hitler without a word of mention of Molotovs pact with Ribbentrop, the Russian invasion of Poland or Finland. But havings said that it was overall an excellent museum taking you through contemporary Russian history.

And apart from a quick visit to the monastery where we were camped for the last 9 days this morning, that was Moscow! We left late morning and said farewell to the french caravans that had turned up the day before and then drove 300km and we are still in the smoke! Its much clearer but there is still a very noticeable haze but fortunately no smell.

We’ve loved Moscow, it is truely beautiful city and we are sad to leave it but as for the people, we won’t miss most of them at all. Nearly all the Russians we’ve met here in the service industry are miserable, rude and grumpy. There are a few exceptions of course but generally anyone in the service industry not employed by an American company seems to go out of their way to be obnoxious. We were told this was a left over from Soviet times, but shop staff, cafés, restaurants, museums, transport staff, police almost everyone we’ve had contact with is grumpy and rude. Even our hotel this morning when checking out was so rude Linda nearly hit the girl! And that is at a Christian hotel – peace, love, understanding and @~#! off and don’t come back!

This is really odd as ALL the Russians without exception we have met outside Russia have been extremely helpful kind and generally lovely people. Perhaps it was the smog?

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