Arbat, oh my Arbat.
Stary (old) Arbat is probably the most famous pedestrian area in Moscow. My guest house is close to other Arbat: Novy (new) Arbat that instead is just one of the big Moscow avenues, having in common with the older one only the huge amount of restaurants and cafes. On one side two streets start more or less on the same point but they don’t run in parallel since they form an angle of about 30° so on the opposite side that is closer to me, there is more or less one kilometre between them. After sleeping until late, I leave the guest house and I decide to start my second day in Moscow from the old Arbat. “Arbat, my Arbat” are the verses of a famous Russian song depicting this street as a flowing river. When you are here you can have in front of you people selling books and paintings, fake birdcages on fake trees, other people dressed in historical costumes, ready to pose for a picture with tourists or others ridiculously dressed to promoting new restaurants or new shops. And there are also several monuments, the most famous of which is the statue of Pushkin and his wife Natalia Goncharova. I keep walking until the end of the street reaching one of the two Metro stations called Arbatskaya. This is a curious story. In Moscow there are two stations both called Arbatskaya belonging to different lines (and this is not that strange) and located in different places distant roughly 800 meters. Reasons for this is that original Arbatskaya Metro station was destroyed by Nazi bombing and when the new one was rebuilt in a different location, the other one was supposed to be closed permanently but instead in the end, it was decided to rebuilt it and five years later there was a second Arbatskaya station to make all tourists confuse.
From Kitay Gorod to Red Square.
From Arbat I go to Kitay Gorod by metro. In spite of the name that literally would mean Chinese town (Kitay means China) this part of the town doesn’t have anything to do with China. There are several theories about the origin of the name and probably Kitay in this case meant “in the middle”. I love Kitay Gorod. To me is one of the most beautiful area of the town. However when I finally get out of the messy station where there are works in place by at least one year I’m not in the mood of going immediately around and I prefer first to find a place where to sit, drink a coffee and maybe work on my Mac. In the Maroseyka street where the venues turnover is always very high there is a branch of the same café where I camp yesterday morning. Only difference is that the name is written in Russian. It is really cozy and pleasant so I stay there for almost a couple of hour. When I finished I walk to the Red Square. This is probably one of the best walk you can do in Moscow. All around there are incredible churches and great buildings. The afternoon sky is clear blue and the domes are shining. When I reach the Red Square all infrastructure of the Literature festival are almost dismantled. I take a last look to Saint Basil, to the Lenin mausoleum and to this impressive square and I get out. On Revolution square there is a small fair with stalls and a little carousel. I drink a Kvas and I walk to the Guest House to catch my luggage. I have actually a lot of time but distance in Moscow are huge and I want to check the ground first and then to find a place where to eat something before to leave.
First Train to East.
Just to do something new, best place I find to eat close to the Kazan railways station is a Georgian restaurant open 24 hours. Is not as good as the one where I was yesterday but is still above the average. The waiter is 100% Georgian, she speaks also some English and she loves Italy. We end up showing each other pictures of the other’s Country. This time, due to the unavailability of second class I had to take, obtorto collo, the Lux compartment. It is really comfy. The car has two floors and I’m in the upper one. In my compartment there is another passenger that would like to sleep right after the train leaves the station then I go to drink a beer in the restaurant. Sitting there I’m wondering about Trans-Siberian railways and if this first trip can be already considered part of it. Actually the main route goes northern to Yaroslavl and Kirov but this is one of the variant so my adventure on the most famous railways in the world is officially started. When I get out of the Restaurant because is closing, I’m not sleepy even is 1:48 AM and so I sit on the stairs still writing something on my laptop. We are stop in some station and birds are singing loud in spite of darkness. The conductor, a lady as usual, ask me to type silently but in one minute from the loud speaker of the railway station there is an announcement at full volume… 🙂 It’s time to sleep. I go but you can stay few minutes more looking at my pics.