Looks like we’ve come to an end to the Traveling on Trains series! Even though this trip happened in the summer of 2013, I still remember it fondly. What an amazing time I had with my bro, Jules. To be honest, we weren’t super close before the trip but we kinda knew we both had the same attitude towards life and travel hence taking the plunge into spending 24/7 for five weeks straight. Needless to say, after the trip we’ve become buddies. I hope if you’re planning for a somewhat intense trip such as this, you go with the right travel partner, otherwise your trip may end up being kinda sucky. That said, that’s why I don’t travel that much with my hubby. Ha!
Anyway, after a month or so since we started our trip from Kuala Lumpur and approximately 15,000km later, we finally made it to Moscow! The 60 hours train ride from Shymkent was possibly our most pleasant ride. The scenery that was presented to us after we crossed into the Russian border was beautiful, calming and at times filled with post-war abandoned buildings.
We finally arrived in Moscow, and immediately tried to find our way to get to our hostel. I think we were either in Almaty or somewhere in China when we started looking out for where to stay in Moscow. No, we didn’t book just as all the previous hostels and what we’ve been staying at. We took the subway to get to the hostel and I have to share and strongly comment on how beautiful some of their subway stations are. Really! Unfortunately, I did not take much photos of the stations because well, our backpacks seemed to weigh a tonne and I couldn’t be assed to whip out my camera. I do remember though that while we were looking around for the ticket counter, we saw a group of Asian tourists in the subway, they seemed to be either Singaporeans or Malaysians, hey we can always recognize our accent kan? Turns out they were Singaporeans and were on a tour visiting the beautiful stations, see the stations are really that beautiful. One of the uncles even offered us to join in their tour. Thanks, but no thanks uncle, it was too much for us to carry on walking with the weight on our backs.
Anyway, so we kind of found our way around and got to the station near the hostel, now the trick was finding the damn hostel. We couldn’t find it for what seemed like eternity, until suddenly a stranger in his late twenties approached us and asked us if we were looking for Godzilla Hostel, which we were! He showed us the way, thank God! Turns out he used to stay there for a bit, and was headed there for reasons I can’t recall now. And yes, it is called Godzilla Hostel. Lucky for us, there was vacancy..but not so lucky because they only had private rooms left – which meant expensive rooms. Heck, it was our final destination, might as well live it up right?
It turned out to be the nicest and prettiest stay we’ve had throughout the entire trip! Even their toilets, bathrooms and kitchens were really nice. We rested for a bit in the room, admired our cute and charming little room before we headed out to jalan-jalan.
Upon laying eyes on the cathedral at this light of day, my eyes were suddenly wet. I don’t know why, but perhaps it was because it was a really bittersweet feeling. Knowing that the trip is about to end, and I felt that Moscow was really a perfect ending. Jules too suddenly said to me, “bro, i feel like crying”. I guess we both felt the same when we were looking at the cathedral. 🙂
Our second day in Moscow started rather interesting. You see, when we were sitting around watching the buskers perform the evening before, a middle-aged Russian man approached us and talked to us. We learned that he was one of the official umpire during the Russian Open years ago and het met with one of our former national badminton players, Punch Gunalan during the game. He then proceeded to ask us for a round of badminton the next day. We were both hesitant and slightly cynical about it at first, I mean who wouldn’t be? Despite our better judgment, we went a head and said yes. Our date was set early in the morning and we were to meet him at a subway stop somewhere slightly outside of town. We both agreed that if he was still dodgy to us, we’d just make a run for it at the subway, we should be safe.
He turned out to be completely legit and not the psycho-rapist killer we had imagined and he took us through the scenic route to get to our date venue. Ahh, the beauty and serenity that morning coupled with this view was just perfect. I have to say though, that I was still very alert the whole time, keeping my distance while we were walking… just in case we needed to make that run.
And well, after about a half hour walk in the beautiful morning, we finally reached our venue. Took our sweaters off and got ready for our game of badminton ! We obviously got schooled and tapaued big time. He won all sets and told us bout the rules as well as new rules. What a great morning it was. Who would’ve thought that we’d be playing badminton all the way in Moscow, when we didn’t even play it back home. What a wonderful experience! So very randomly playing badminton with a Russian umpire in Kuskovo Park.
We were extremely tired after the game because he took us for yet another long walk before heading to a station to catch a train back to our hostel. We thanked him for the wonderful time and taking us through the beautiful place which we would’ve have otherwise Not discover. Sometimes, saying yes and taking chances has its benefits, but please do practice caution at all times. I have to say that, he definitely could’ve turned out to be a psycho guy, but we were lucky and blessed that he wasn’t.
We went to the Bolshoi Theatre that evening to see if there was any show going on which we could’ve catch. To our awesome luck, Swan Lake was on and they had very affordable tickets!! Who would’ve taught that these two shabby-dressed Malaysian girls would be watching Swan Lake in the Bolshoi theatre. I think after buying our tickets, we were saying oh no, what if we were the most poorly dressed audience, seeing that we only brought a pair of jeans each and had on stinky-worn-don’t-know-how-many-times tops. It was the first time we may have suddenly become conscious about how we looked. It’s quite funny thinking about it now, because in the end who the heck cares how we dressed?!
And that my friends, is the end of the Traveling on Trains series. I do have a lot more photos taken with my phone though, will share it one of these days for sure. I have to sort it out first, and of course I also want to share how affordable this whole trip was in its entirety – inclusive of all transports and accommodations.It’s really not as costly as you would imagine a 5 weeks trip to be. Then there’s also the video I’ve yet to sit down and edit, gah!! That one is time consuming!! Till the next trip!!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read, I hope this series inspires you to stop procrastinating and to set out on an adventure already!
Read the rest of the series :