Where did you go?
What impressed you most about the architecture?
The enormous scale of just about everything from their roads, and public buildings to their underground subway system.
What was your favourite building or design feature?
The underground subway system. The subway stations are grand and impressive in a way we had never seen or experienced before. Many of the stations have been built and designed with seemingly the same care and grandeur as their Opera houses.
What would you recommend visiting while there?
Take a tour on the underground subway system. Just make sure you time your visit to be after rush hour to avoid the crowds who will push past you with the same vigour, rudeness and determination as a Londoner during rush hour! It costs just £0.50 per journey, regardless of how far you go, or which lines you jump onto as long (as you don’t exit the station).
The Kremlin & Red Square should definitely be on your list of places to visit should you visit Moscow. The place is steeped in history and offers some of the best views of the gilded dome topped towers including Ivan the Great Bell Tower.
Stops to check out: Mayakovskaya Metro, Tsvetnoy Boulevard Metro
It is also definitely worth visiting The Garage - an art gallery designed by OMA that is housed in an existing soviet era restaurant in Gorky Park.
What was particularly surprising about the customs or way of life?
The fact that there is such a thing in Moscow as Russian hipster and the beard and beanie culture is alive and well in this part of the world. We learnt that the youth is a strong force for good in Moscow, causing the government to provide significant urban improvements to Gorky park.
Given that we live and work in London, you would expect to never experience a more obvious divide in class and how the architecture of the surrounding area would capture this. But in Moscow, this was more apparent than ever. One evening we walked from Red Square and the Kremlin, through lively streets laced with designer stores and boutiques and one turn later, urban decay and quiet engulfed us.
Tom: Having a beard in Russia seemed to throw the natives off a bit as several people did try to converse with me in Russia and looked annoyed when I replied in my Scottish drawl.
How would you summarise your experience in a sentence?
Russia offers an eclectic experience that ranges from micro to macro and has something to offer everyone. Go with no expectations and you will leave with a lasting impression.