What happens when you go on vacation, hoping for perfect weather and lots of sunshine? Quite the opposite. This time Moscow met us with clouds so low that you could barely see in front of you; views from my grandmother's balcony looked like they belonged in a post-apocalyptic movie.
Despite all the fog and the obvious disappearance of the Sun, this year Moscow really outdid itself in its New Years decorations. After my trip last year to the capital of Christmas Markets (Germany), I can safely say that Moscow is #1 on this year's list of best decorated cities in Europe. For as long as I can remember, winters here are usually pretty gloomy, so to counteract the darkness, streets lit up with millions of lights, combined with Christmas ornaments, cheerful music, happy crowds, and carousels (for that inner kid in you ;)). As soon as we stepped out of the metro station (Ploschad Revolutsii), we were greeted by a giant ice sculpture-turned icy slide for kids. We smelt the warm cinnamon hints of Gluhwein, followed by the whiff from sweet pancakes and savoury meat pies. What completed this image was the building straight out of fairytale, the building that looked even more beautiful on the inside- GUM. No trip to Red Square should ever be completed without stepping into this magical mall. Although most people can't afford what this shopping palace sells in its luxurious, high end stores, it's always a pleasant walk and a reason to get the legendary ice-cream from its timeless ice-cream booths.
If you're looking for a quick bite and don't mind spending some money for good service and the views, I highly suggest Bosco Cafe. We sat on in the inside balcony, looking towards the GUM aisles, and since the cafe is a bit to the side and on the upper floor, we had the whole balcony to ourselves.
Another good find was the Bolshoy Restaurant. Just outside of Red Square and next to the famous Bolshoy Theatre (hence the name), you can find Russian cuisine, for affordable prices and a very nice interior.
For the first time since its opening (September 2017), my mom and I decided to visit Park Zaryadye. Impressed by the V shaped bridge that floats above Moscow river, we were sad to see the views, again, covered by fog. I do think that once the clouds clear up, it's easy to lose yourself in the views of distant Kremlin on one side and the cityscape on the other.
Above photos were taken at the Izmailovsky Kremlin, which was a spot recommended by my cousin. Not to be mistaken by the Red Square Kremlin, this is a place located outside of city centre. Although it's not ancient (only built in 2007), it was created to appear as 18th century Russian architecture. This is definitely another spot to feel like you're a character in a fairytale. Wooden churches, colourful facades, and giant Matrioshkas- a must visit when you're in Moscow, no matter the weather. Although mom and I were in a rush, you can easily spend 3-4 hours here, submerged by the different museums, as well as the flea market where you can find some well-made souvenirs.
If you're looking for a place to spend your New Years, Moscow is the best city to put you in the holiday mood, feed you delicious national food, make you feel warm and cozy and show you some amazing celebratory fireworks. Happy 2018!