Day 3 on Trans-Siberian Railway: Moscow -> Kazan (11h 10min)

A quiet morning on Nikolskaya Street

A quiet morning on Nikolskaya Street

Last day in Moscow started bright and early for some of us, aka Andreas. He tried to sneak out of the room at the crack of dawn to document the beauty of Moscow without its crowds.  Now in his mind the whole operation was done very discreetly, in reality I got wide awake in a state of sleepy surprise.

Zaryadye Park resembling New York's High Line offers a beautiful panoramic view over the city

Zaryadye Park resembling New York’s High Line offers a beautiful panoramic view over the city

IMG_9531It seems that during our three days in Moscow, the roads kept leading us to Red Square. It was also hard to avoid it living kind of right next to it. It is hard to resist its glorious sight.

Red Square in all its glory

Red Square in all its glory

The square was full of joyful people and amongst hundreds of them we found these Chinese couples who were pushing the photography limits to whole new levels. It was mostly the ladies in front of the lens with and without head scarves, standing and sitting, smiling and serious. The husbands were mostly staying humbly behind and diligently carrying out the supporting roles.

The Chinese couples in the middle of a serious photoshoot

The Chinese couples in the middle of a serious photoshoot

From socialist side of Red Square you cross a few meters and voila you magically appear in the epitome of capitalistic world – GUM department store with all its shiny designer stores, glitz and glamour designed to make you spend your hard-earned €€€. We were there for one very special attraction.

The famous attraction of Gum is not all the fancy stores it is the yummy ice-cream!

The famous attraction of GUM is not all the fancy stores it is the yummy ice-cream!

The GUM ice-cream! Another childhood memory of Soviet and post-Soviet times. When asking Andreas to comment on his first Soviet ice-cream experience, his response was: “Det var surprisingly lækker.” (It was surprisingly yummy). I don’t know what else he expected.

Chocolate and cherry flavours

Chocolate and cherry flavours

From socialist-capitalist explorations, we moved out of the heart of Moscow and into Arbat, a central residential district, filled with hyggelig sidewalk winebars, coffee shops and restaurants.

Backyards of Arbat neighbourhood - loving the shade of blue

Backyards of Arbat neighbourhood – loving this shade of blue

 

Patriashki prudi

Patriarshi Rubniki

The last stop of the day before bidding farewell to Moscow is a special corner of my homeland in the center of Moscow – the Armenia store. We needed to stock up on some lavash, panir (bread and cheese) and other goodies for our long train travels.

My favourite store in all of Moscow - little Armenian corner stocking up on the Armenian food essentials

My favourite store in all of Moscow – little Armenian corner. Essential for stocking up on the Armenian food.

It is about 19:00 and time to head off to Kazan train station for catching our first ever Trans-Siberian ride from Moscow to Kazan!

Kazan Train Station in Moscow

Kazan Train Station in Moscow

Departure board - waiting for Kazan train to orient itself on the board

Departure board – waiting for Kazan train to orient itself on the board

Since it was the first train travel experience in Russia we decided to follow the official guidelines of arriving at least 45 minutes before departure time to be “ready for check-in”. Turned out that we were really in good time. The train was not there and the departure board did not get updated until about 30 minutes before departure and the doors of the train did not open until the clock hit 20:55.
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Our home for the next 11 hours - Moscow -> Kazan train, coupe 7

Our home for the next 11 hours – Moscow -> Kazan train, car 7

For the first leg of our journey we decided to go all in and splurge on a first class ticket. Very nice experience.

First class coupe Russia style with a fruit platter waiting for us - Danish DSB could learn a bit

First class coupe Russia style with a fruit platter waiting for us – Danish DSB could learn a bit

It was a really cosy and comfortable experience. With very delicious 3 course meal served on board, Wi-Fi, TV, music, A/C, nice clean sheets and towels. Everything you may need. There is even an app where you can make in-train orders, follow the journey, read books and watch movies. Such a fun experience! This was also the shortest leg in our planned journey. Hope the next 3 rides will be just as fun. Time will show.

Borsch for dinner - yum!

Borsch for dinner – yum!

After some borsch, beef stroganoff and hearty Russian black tea, it is time to bid good night, hit the bed and close eyes to the rumble of train tracks.

Cpakoynoy nochi!

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

Festival of Roses in Valbyparken

Copenhagen is just bursting with life in the summer. There is a festival galore for all kinds of senses. It is so hyggeligt attending one on a sunny Sunday in a company of good friends. Last week we met up with our Icelandic friends, Rosa and Gunni, to attend the festival of roses in Valbyparken.

Since last year I was meaning to check out this event and am glad I did get a chance finally. Copenhagen boasts many pretty parks and green areas, so you will never run out of options. Valbyparken is definitely worth putting on your list especially in the summer. For starters it is huge, but that doesn’t say much of course. How about the fact that it has 17 different themed gardens, each dedicated to a specific type of plants. See for yourself…

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This is not all. The park can’t be complete without the flower queen – roses! All 12,000 of them in various shapes and colours. It is a pretty sight.

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Every year in the beginning of August a festival of roses is being held here, where the visitors get to promenade in well manicured rose alleys and cast their vote in the contest for selecting the most beautiful rose. Just another occasion for some hygge time.

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To add extra fun to the occasion, there was also entertainment for kids of all ages. There was an area set up with different board games, and we had so much fun trying all of them. I gotta admit all these board games made me nostalgic of old times again and I wished there was more of such games in our lives. They are fun, entertaining and as an extra bonus you can actually be social while playing and look at each other instead of staring at the screens of the fancy gadgets brought to us by the wonderful technology.

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We didn’t get to see the winner of the festival but we took home our own crown beauties. There were a couple of stalls selling pretty roses and that is what our plant box was in desperate need of. Since we were away for a few weeks of vacation, our poor flowers were completely dried out, but not for long :)

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We rounded up the tour of the park with a nice long walk along the waterside. There is even a small stretch of beach where you can swim and enjoy the views over to the Sjællandsbroen. This park just has it all covered!

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The Sunday wouldn’t be complete without ice-cream and not just any but the best in Copenhagen. I am not a big fan of ice-cream, as weird as it may sound, but I just can’t resist the temptation at this little ice-cream store, Siciliansk Is in Vesterbro. If you are around, check it out, it’s soooo good!

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Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan