I have been playing basketball in Russia for the past three years so you would think that I would have explored Moscow on multiple occasions, right? Wrong! It wasn't until the end of this season that I wasn’t just in a vehicle passing through, but finally got to see all the beauty that Moscow holds…
While in Vidnoje I was trying to order food for delivery on this cool free app my teammate introduced me to. As I was scrolling through the different restaurants I noticed a baked goods section. It was there that I discovered Magnolia Bakery! Magnolia Bakery makes all of the American style baked goods, that I had been deprived of or had had to make from scratch while I was there. Naturally, I immediately tried to order from them. Unfortunately, there ended up being a huge miscommunication (because I did not speak Russian) which led to them stating that they would not deliver to me since I did not reside in Moscow. When I expressed this disappointment to my teammate, she offered to take me there on our next day off.
The day of our trip to Magnolia Bakery, we met at the metro station. We boarded the train and settled in for the 38 minute ride to our destination. During the train ride, my teammate reminisced about growing up in Moscow and all the memories she shared there with her family. It was then that I informed her that I had never really experienced all of Moscow, like Red Square, the Kremlin, or the parks as I'd only ever driven through. My teammate, being the gracious and lovely person that she is, offered to show me around. Below are some of the pictures we took throughout the day.
First stop, Magnolia Bakery!
As soon as we arrived in Moscow, our first stop was to Magnolia Bakery. We walked into the store front, and I fell into bakery heaven. It was as if all my favorite goodies were transported from North America, right to Moscow just for me! They had a wide variety of sweets, including: cakes, cheesecakes, pies, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, and more. My personal favorites were: their brownies (the chocolate chunk brownie and the cheesecake chocolate brownie), their chocolate chip cookies, their chocolate chip and caramel with sea salt cookies and their caramel cheesecake. Yes, I did in fact buy all of those things, and yes I did eat them all (although not all in one day).
Next stop, Red Square!
Red Square is the city square/plaza in Moscow and is arguably the heart and soul of the city. It was full of architecture and history dating back to the 16th century that was just absolutely incredible to see. I have said this many times before, but I am always drawn to the details in the architecture. From the shapes and patterns, to the colors and materials, to the staggering heights, it always takes my breath away. And the buildings in the Red Square did not cease to amaze me. We also lucked out because, despite the perfect weather, it wasn't yet the tourist season so there were few crowds.
After walking around and admiring the buildings, my teammate and I decided that we wanted to venture into Saint Basil's Cathedral. Inside, like most historic buildings, it was set up much like a museum. The Cathedral featured many artifacts, pieces of art and prominent people on display along with the history behind each item. While we were allowed to snap some photos, pictures never really capture the full beauty like seeing it in person.
Up next, the Alexander Garden!
Awww, they named a garden after me. Just kidding (bad joke, I know, sorry)! The Alexander Garden was a beautiful public park that consisted of three separate gardens. Unfortunately ,since we were visiting in April there wasn't much greenery to see. Regardless it was still a great walk with a lovely view.
Located in the Alexander Garden at the Kremlin Wall is a memorial dedicated to the Soviet soldiers who were killed during World War II. In the memorial, there is a polished rock slab in the shape of a five pointed star that contains the Eternal Flame in the center. The inscription reads, "Your name is unknown, your deed is immortal."
Another cool sight to see was the Guard of Honors who stand and protect the war memorial of these unknown fallen soldiers. The Guards stand motionless in the same position while guarding the memorial, and blow their whistle as a warning when tourists get to close. There is one Guard who moves every fifteen minutes to check on the two Guards who are standing closest to the Eternal Flame. Every hour, on the hour, there is a Changing of the Guard Ceremony where the Guards are rotated out.
Last stop, Moscow River!
Since it was still early in the day, we decided to hop on the metro for a few more stops to visit the Moscow River before returning to Vidnoje.
Once there, we walked over a large bridge and then into an expansive area with a bustling atmosphere. There were people of all ages skateboarding, scootering, biking and rollerblading (which brought back so many great childhood memories). Everywhere you turned there were pedestrians walking, talking and just enjoying the beautiful weather. In the distance, we saw an area filled with carnival rides for young kids, and plenty of booths selling corn, cotton candy, and a variety of other foods. On the river you could see a couple of massive carry boats filled with people dining and enjoying the view as they slowly cruised by. There was also an area that had basketball courts, perfect for outdoor summer basketball tournaments. We spend over an hour just walking, talking, enjoy the sights, and, of course, munching on a few treats along the way.
All in all it was a great day! Moscow is absolutely BEAUTIFUL and I'm ashamed that it took me three years to discover its beauty. If you ever get the chance tovisit Moscow, make sure you do some sight seeing; you will not be disappointed!
Below I added a few more photos from the day. For more pictures and awesome awkward videos, check out my personal Instagram here.
Thanks for stopping by and God bless,