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A few days before I took off for Russia I Tweeted asking for recommendations/must see’s while I was away. I expected to be told to visit the Kremlin, Red Square and the Hermitage, but what I didn’t expect was to be told to use the metro.
‘You must visit a metro station in Moscow’
‘Make sure you use the metro’
‘The metro is amazing’
OK, so it was safe to say that I was somewhat intrigued. During my trip to Russia, I would most certainly be making an effort to factor in a journey on the metro.
In the UK taking the tube is an experience I avoid enduring if possible. After layering up to brace the UK winter, you then descend into the tropically hot and stuffy underground where you are pushed, shoved and rubbed up against by fat, sweaty tourists and commuters. You watch people push their way into the already overcrowded carriage, trapping their scarves in the doors as they go because they cannot possibly wait the 1 minute 30 seconds until the next train arrives. The lights flicker on and off giving the journey a kind of horror movie effect, your foot is trampled on by the clumsy guy who refuses to hold on and you come into contact with such toxic levels of germs and bacteria that you can almost feel your nose begin to tingle with the cold that you are about to get. After being thrown to and fro for the past minute or two you finally reach the next stop where the doors will open just long enough for you to take in a breath of fresh air and then the process begins all over again.
Well in Russia the scene is very different.
With a much more laid back feel and reasonable temperature, the Russian metro was a surprisingly pleasant experience. Although rather difficult to navigate as a result of the language barrier (a difficulty I faced throughout the duration of my time in Russia), it was smooth, simple and luxurious!
Luxurious… not a word you would typically expect to associate with a public underground transport system. But chandeliers, exquisite décor and grand hallways certainly did give this metro a luxurious feel about it.
When travelling, sometimes it’s the little things, the unexpected things and the quirky things that stick with you, and for me, this was one of them. If I ever see a Tweet asking about things to do in Russia, I too will reply ‘Use the metro!’.