Welcome all!

First I would like to thank you for visiting my blog, I hope you will enjoy reading it! Do not hesitate to follow me!

This blog has three main objects. First, it allows me to share my impressions and to provide useful informations to people who visit or leave in Moscow.

Than across this blog, I would like to exchange on Russia and more specifically on Moscow, to discuss everyone's outlook and eventually correct some stereotypes!

At last but not least, I would like to publish contributions of foreigners and Russians living in Moscow in order to have a multitude of glance on this wonderful city

I wish you all a good reading!! (There is also a French version of this blog: http://regards-sur-la-russie.blogspot.com/)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Winter time VS summer time!

In March 2011, I wrote this article below about Winter time and summer time, three and a half year later, it was decided to change back and to keep only Winter time!
It means that in October (2014), the time difference with London will stay 3 hours. Next summer, Russia should keep the winter time and the time difference will be only 2 hours instead of 3.

After two winter with summer time, I don't know what to think, is it better to have more light on the afternoon or in the morning. I'll share my feelings this winter!!

Article published in March 2011:

In a lot of countries, each year it's the same speech, should we continue setting our clocks one hour forward or backward. There are pros and cons, and each year we can hear the same arguments. Each year you said? Not anymore in Russia as a decree from President Dmitri Medvedev stated that Russia is permanently on daylight-saving time!

It means that from October, 30th 2011 till March, 25th 2012 the time difference between Moscow and Greenwich time will be of 4 hours instead of 3 previously. So if it's 2PM in London, it will be 6PM in Moscow, and 3PM in Paris.

You might ask yourself why Russia took that decision, here are some explanations:

First a quote from the Moscow Times: "Medvedev, who has already tinkered with time by reducing the number of the country's time zones to nine from 11, has said switching clocks back and forth is bad for health. Scientific studies also show more suicides and heart attacks occur immediately after a shift to daylight-saving time, and that switching clocks back and forth causes more pollution."

Some experts also stated that depending on the region, the change would increase the amount of perceived daylight by 7 to 17 percent. However Russia's abolition of wintertime will boost annual electricity consumption by 1 billion kilowatts per hour, or 0.01 percent of total usage, since mornings will be darker and people will need to use more energy.

In ending the practice, Russia joins Japan, China, South Korea and the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Georgia in not changing clocks seasonally

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Swimming in Moscow on weekends

With summer arriving and the room-temperature increasing in Moscow, you will soon want to take your swimsuit out of the cupboard and take the plunge! As foreigners, we don’t necessarily know the best spots to freshen up, and often we don’t even know that some of them are reachable with public transportation.

Serebriany Bor is one of this few spots attainable by metro and then by bus. You have different ways to reach this place, you can take the trolleybus 20, 21, 65 or 86 at the metro Polezhaevskaya (You can take these trolleybuses at other metro stations including Belorusskaya, sokol or Begovaya but it will be longer). They stop at the entrance of the park’s territory so you’ll need to walk a bit to reach beaches 2 and 3. But the easiest and fastest solution is to get “marshrutka” 190 (small bus) from metro Polezhaevskaya.


If you look on the map, you will see a sign next to which is written “КПП”, it depicts the entrance of Serebriany Bor’s protected zone. Trolleybuses will stop at this point and you’ll have to walk further. It’s fairly quick if you go at one of the first beaches, but if you want to reach the beach n°3 (the best equipped with sport fields and the most popular), it will be better to take the marshrutka 190 as explained before. Access is free, except for “VIP” spots. The main territory is open from 9am till 9pm except for special events.


If you want to gather with friends and do a barbecue (notably with alcohol, theoretically forbidden inside the protected area), I advise you to take the path on the left of the road just after the bridge (stop at the next to last bus stop just after the bridge) and before the park’s entrance. You will find barbecues available for everyone to use (20 of them approximately, purple color on the map), it’s a 10-15 minutes walk from the bus stop. This part of the territory is not in the protected area so it never closes! Swimming is not legally authorized as it’s unsupervised in this area but water is rather clean and reaches 25°c in summer!!  

If you forgot your swimsuit, you still can go swim and relax on the beach reserved for nudists that is located between the beach n°3 and the pink zone drawn on the map!

For more information, you can always have a look on their official website (in Russian) http://www.s-bor.ru.

If you know any other good place near Moscow where it’s possible to swim and enjoy a barbecue, do not hesitate to share in the comments. 

Happy swimming!! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Travelling in a suburban train in Russia

Hello my dear readers, Happy New Year and my best wishes for 2012!

If you ever had to go to a small city around Moscow, you most probably took a suburban train, known in Russia as elektrichka (электричка). You probably were very surprised the first time as it’s different from our suburban trains! If you never took it, let me explain why it’s different and what you should expect!

The train itself is a normal suburban train with wooden bench seats (or plastic for the new trains), consisting of 6 to 14 cars. Most of them are electric. If you need to go to the restrooms, you will find that not every car is equipped with toilets and quite often there are only two (in the oldest ones), one on each end of the train. So far it’s almost the same as our suburban trains, more old fashioned but nothing special about it!

It’s important to know that the so-called suburban trains can link cities far from each other by more than one hundred fifty kilometers! You can even go from Moscow to St-Petersburg using only elektrichka; you’ll need to take five of them with stops at Tver, Bologoe, Okulovka and Malaya Vishera! On each popular route you’ll have some express trains, they are usually high-speed and have few stops but can be more expensive (although still very cheap), and other trains that will stop everywhere. For the example, if you take an elektrichka between Moscow and the city of Solnetchnogorsk (45 km from Moscow), it can take you between 54 minutes and 1h29 depending on the trains!

In Russia, you will have some stops in cities and villages like in all countries, but since it can be quite a long distance between two villages and that some people have a “datcha” (country house) in the middle of nowhere, they created some stops between villages or cities. You’ll have a platform with a name like “km 52” or “km 108”, and you can go out in the forest for example! It’s very popular stops for mushroom gatherers. Some of these stations won’t even have a ticket office, so you’ll have to buy your ticket directly on the train, without paying an extra fee.

This is still not very surprising, maybe a bit curious but no more! What really made the first trip interesting for me was the continuous passing of vendors and people escaping the ticket collector! It’s really funny to see these vendors selling various things to the passengers in the train. It can be toys, gadgets (useless most of the time), beauty product, products that will cure all your diseases (theoretically at least!), magazines… . Each of them enter the car, explain what the properties of their products are and then go along and wait for people to buy things. I noticed that passengers buy quite often the products that are sold, which surprised me. Some of them even have a microphone so everyone hears what they have to say.

I also mentioned people passing in the car to escape the ticket collector; this can be quite funny to watch. Lots of people using elektrichka are quite poor and some of them don’t buy tickets. If you get caught with no tickets, you just have to pay 50 Rubles (1, 25€) and you can continue your trip. The ticket collector will give you in exchange of the 50 Rubles a ticket, valid for a certain number of stops after that. You can pay 50 Rubles several times if the ticket they gave you is not valid anymore at the moment they control you again, but the total of the fines will still be less expensive than the price of the full-fare ticket. For the ones that try to avoid paying both the fine and the ticket, they move to the next car when the ticket collectors comes and when they arrive to a stop, they run to the next door where the ticket collectors already checked the tickets! The thing is that stops can be really short in time and that each car is pretty long, so they need to run fast in order to not “miss the train”, that’s why it’s for young people especially!

If you live in Russia and that you told your colleagues (Muscovite) that you took an elektrichka, they might be quite surprised as foreigners usually don’t take them. But it’s safe and usually the fastest way to reach a suburban city. You could take a bus or your car if you have one, but the risks of being stuck in traffic jam are really high, especially if you leave Moscow on Friday evening and you come back on Sunday. For example, I went at my friends’ place in their country house by elektrichka last summer, I left Moscow at 19h and arrived at 22h, at the same time as them, although they left the city centre by car at 15h! So if you don’t need a car where you go and are not too packed, prefer the train.

What else can I say about the elektrichka, maybe that it’s a way to meet modest and middle class Russians, it can change you from the image of Russian people you have living in the centre of Moscow. It’s also a good way to see the Russian countryside as it passes by traditional houses, fields, forests and agricultural lands. After that I let you “experience” it yourself!

If you have any cool anecdotes or comments, do not hesitate to share!