I Spy, I Hear, I Smell, I Taste…Moscow

A young ladder, wet around the…er…rungs watches as the wise old home-made ladder demonstrates that one must ultimately lead to something.

When is a river not a river? When it’s a moat, you say? Partly right. The Neglinnaya River was once a moat around the Kremlin but has now been relegated underground and diverted along tunnels. How ignominious. The above-ground representation of the river features characters from Russian fairytales and fables.

Cat on a mossy wooden roof.

“Nostalgia for socialism now comes in all imaginable colours,” The BB notes.

Yes, these are real fur. I was also offered the pelt of an Arctic fox. It should have been running the tundra and ice floes, not hanging sad and empty from a stall railing.

With pictures, the Cyrillic alphabet is a breeze.

I bet The Batmobile doesn’t keep its snow studs in after the snow has melted. There’d be no chance of ‘stealthing’ the streets if it did. That scrunchy click is a dead giveaway even when it becomes a whir at higher speed.

“Spring has sprung.” That saying has always had a ring of the unrealistic about it. It is as if the originator had gone to sleep at the business end of the season and awoken half-way through for the colourful bit. It doesn’t tally with my experience of spring as a gradual unfolding, measured in weeks. The BB, with experience of the northern hemisphere, assured me abrupt was name of the game in these parts. So I kept an eye open.



It is a similar story with the myriad trees in the city. Wispy on Monday, with their thin branches like hair standing on end, covered in a burr of green by Friday.

Sometimes spring does come overnight (or, in this case outside the Kremlin, ‘overday’).

And they’re not the only ones hard at landscape reassignment. These students in their eye-catching plastic coats are painting outside their university. A few days earlier, we passed a gang of them picking up rubbish alongside the buildings. That’s social responsibility Russian style – or is it just free labour? Paint is one of the prevalent smells of the city – at the moment anyway. But unseen rubbish features strongly and car exhaust is a staple. The odour in the vicinity of petrol stations indicates that you’d be mad to light a match or leave your mobile turned on.

In a shopping centre extending three storeys below ground next to the Moscow central metro, we scanned the lunch menu and found ‘lemon fresh’, 50ml. We assumed that quantity was a misprint but were not sure what it would turn out to be – 500ml seemed too large. The BB ordered. To label it ‘fresh’ was no exaggeration. It was pure lemon juice. At 50 ml though, it was only going so far as a thirst quencher. My hot chocolate was exactly that – chocolate which was hot and therefore melted – such as one would prepare for a mud cake or mousse. Not a drop of milk in sight. Sure it was rich, but I spooned it up – drinking from the cup was out of the question.

My salad involved quails eggs. They were tight and felt like eating an eraser but with more taste. (This is assumption only. It’s been years since I ate one. Who knows what changes technology has brought.)

What’s going on in your neighbourhood?


7 responses to “I Spy, I Hear, I Smell, I Taste…Moscow

  1. The Adventures of Twins

    Moscow looks beautiful!

  2. Great photos, I thought hot chocolate was only served that way in Spain!

  3. Cincinnati is unusually humid! Meanwhile, love the ladder caption. 🙂 … and thanks for sharing your trip.

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