I am scared of new things. It is a funny thing to say for a person who was crazy enough to quit a good job and move to Russia. Although I don't claim it should take a lot of courage to do it, since Moscow is really European New York. And I don't want to sound smug, since there are many people more courageous than me and have moved to much more complicated places... But why I started this Blog with a strange confession? To show you that even big cowards can succeed in a jungle town like Moscow.
The biggest shock for me was realisation that in Moscow I will not drive a car. One reason are the traffic jams that really last all the time, but also the size of the streets and the complexity of navigation. What can I say, don't want to test myself, knowing to be bit clumsy (Blondie), trying to drive while deciphering which of the three exits I need to take in next five second. Because, if you take the wrong exit it can mean additional 40 min sightseeing of Moscow, which was not on my agenda.
So I knew from the beginning that metro will be my best buddy in Moscow. I got very fast over the language barrier, and thankfully many mobile applications help you get around and everything is translated in language I understand. I am still hooked on first metro app I downloaded Metropolitan, even if people tell me that every app with a word Yandex in it is really great and useful. First test I had on Metro usage was after being two years in Moscow. In the middle of trying to find the right exit from a station I used just once before, my phone went completely dead. But I was not giving up, especially as I was with my kids. We took one exit and found ourselfs in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, there were some maps, I thought I was saved. WRONG - the map shows such a small part of Moscow that I had no clue what I was looking at. I even couldn't find North (not surprising, my husband would comment). The station was in the centre, but centre of Moscow is like my whole home town with its suburbs!! I kept my courageous face, and since luck follows fools, I said to my kids "lets go left". How proud I was when I realised I found the other exit and managed to get where I needed. I was SO proud, partly felt like a true Moscowite!
Metro is now no longer a challenge. I was ready to take on something new. Summer was here, nice weather (more summer in autumn, but lets not split hairs). I want to grasp renting city bikes in Moscow. Fear number one - I need to give my card number in VeloBike app. Did you ever have the feeling that if you type your card number in some app it can download all money from your account and take a new loan with big interest rate and you don't have a clue that it has happened. Well I am one of the older generations who still get that feeling. Usually I fight it in a way that my husband puts all that info in the app and I use them. Easier, because if anything happens, he's the one to blame! But this time I closed my eyes, logged in, typed my card and still after a month the app has only charged me for monthly rental. Still no news of some new loan that I have never heard about. And moving around in Moscow on bikes which you can leave at any place, since these bikes are really everywhere, is amazing. I know cold wind has now started but the forecast still shows some reasonable degrees and I really recommend you to try the city bikes.
Just to finish off, a must have app for transportation around Moscow, and it has a Yandex in it, is Yandex Transport. It shows you the best possible way and recommends type of transport (bus, trolleybus, tram, marshirutka, metro...). Just don't rely on its forecasted trip duration. Seems that they measured walking time on sixty year old people, since for 300m it should take you 10min. And, unfortunately the app still needs to learn English names of metro stations in Moscow.
And if you use public transport a lot, definitely buy Troika card. Only this way you can buy 60 rides (1700rub) and cost per ride is cheapest. Or if you really like to move around a lot, pay 2000 rub on Troika and you can spend all day every day on Moscow public transport. See you in metro or on a bike or a tram, the possibilities are limitless...!!!!