Today was really split into two days.
In the morning and early afternoon I was in Kiev and then after a late afternoon flight I spent the evening in Moscow.
Yes, I finally made it to Russia. This is pretty exciting seeing as how this was the country that really inspired this whole USSR Trip 2015.
But before I get to Russia, I still had a little something to take of in Kiev, Ukraine…
That damn walking tour!
Yeah, that one.
Well, I was determined to actually do this walking tour so after checking out and storing my bag for the day I headed back down to Independence Square to meet the tour.
The group today was much, much smaller than the group I joined the other day. In fact, there were only 5 of us doing the tour which is actually one of the smallest tour groups I’ve ever been apart of.
The tour itself was sadly kind of lackluster. I don’t know if it was a because there weren’t that many true landmarks in Kiev or if it was just the style of the guide. It was probably a bit of both.
I’m used to hearing alot about the history of a country when I do one of these tours (and I’ve probably done close to 20 of them now) and that was missing today.
No real mention of what life was like as part of the USSR or how they gained their independence. Just a lot of walking and looking at churches.
I kind of chuckled to myself that this was the tour I was so determined to see.
Oh well, they can’t all be winners.
By 2:30 I was heading back to the hostel as I had to leave for the airport at 3:00.
When I asked the girl at the front desk last night how much it was to take a taxi to the airport (IEV), she told me it was only 65 UAH which is about $4.
Now, normally I’m very anti-taxi but for 4 bucks I was gonna go for the convenience of not having to lug my backpack through the subway system.
The drive actually took awhile as the traffic was crazy but my fare was a set fare and there was no meter so I didn’t care.
At 3:30 I arrived at the airport, went through customs and security and soon after I was boarding a 5:30pm flight.
I’m guessing I was the only Canadian on the flight and more than likely the only English speaker on it as well.
The plane was a relatively small plane with 6 seats per row and only 21 rows.
I had the whole last row to myself so I sprawled out and watched a video as we flew east into the sunset.
At 7:00 we had arrived in Russia.
Thankfully I had the Ukraine to warm me up as far as getting around with most everything written in Cyrillic and not the Latin alphabet.
I knew what I was getting into so I took extra preparations ahead of time figuring out how I was getting from the airport to my hostel.
Not only did I have a metro map (which is a criss-cross of 10 different lines) but I also had the Cyrillic spelling of the stations I had to go to to get to my hostel.
In the end, it was actually pretty easy for me to get there.
Like almost everyone else disembarking from my flight I took the 35 minute aeroexpress train ride (450 rubles, $9) into downtown Moscow.
Getting on the train was pretty straightforward as there were ticket machines on the wall beside the luggage carousels.
After that I went down to the bottom level (level 0) and followed the signs with the train logo on it (it helped that everyone else was walking that way too).
The train is direct and only has one stop – Kiyevskaya station which is on the circle line (or brown line).
I actually only took the train one stop on that line before switching to the purple line and taking it one more stop there.
Of course, having the Cyrillic spellings of the stations I had to get off at was really helpful as I could figure out which platform to board on.
I had earlier google mapped a street view of the street my hostel was on so when I left the final subway station I knew exactly where I was going.
So, other than going up the stairs to the wrong exit (there were like six different ones) it was smooth sailing and I arrived at the hostel at just after 9pm.
After quickly dropping off my stuff I headed straight back out across the street to a cafeteria style restaurant like the one I went to over and over again in Kiev.
This place wasn’t as great and more expensive but it was nice to get some food in me.
I did the ‘ol point and choose as no English was to be found. I actually thought I was getting a chicken breast with cheese and ended up with some fish instead. Just one of the downfalls of the ‘ol point and choose – still tasted great though.
By 11pm I was done for the day. It was a long day as anytime you travel it just seems to drain you.
But anyway, here we are – I’m in Russia! Time to turn up USSR Trip 2015 to another level!