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Our 10 favourite observations about Russia

Our 10 favourite observations about Russia

Here is a round up of our favourite observations about Russia during our month there in June 2014:

1. Quirkiest Russian tourist attraction:

Our first quirky observation was the QWERTY keyboard monument in Yekaterinburg:

QWERTY monument in Yekaterinburg

QWERTY monument in Yekaterinburg

Well actually, Yekaterinburg generally had some cool attractions, including a “peace wall” with this colourful graffiti:

Posing by Yekaterinburg's Peace Wall

Posing by Yekaterinburg’s Peace Wall

2. The White Nights:

St Petersburg is famous for its White Nights in June.  This is when the sun hardly ever sets, reaching a climax around 21st June when the sun almost never sets at all.

This made our stay in St Petersburg particularly memorable for us as this was like nothing we’d ever experienced before.

The view across St Petersburg's Nevsky Prospect at midnight!

The view across St Petersburg’s Nevsky Prospect at midnight!

3. British Bakery – wtf?!!

This is a popular chain in St Petersburg.  For Sebastien (French) this was just wrong another interesting observation about Russia:

British Bakery chain in St Petersburg

British Bakery chain in St Petersburg

4. Crazy Russian car drivers:

Drivers in Russia are ccc-razy.  Unfortunately car crashes are not a rare sight:

Mad driving leads to many crashes

Mad driving leads to many crashes

5. Innovative street entertainers:

Naturally, alongside so many attractive and popular monuments, you will find a huge industry dedicated to the tourist market.

We were particularly amazed by this old man playing his saw with his violin bow:

Man playing saw with violin bow

Man playing saw with violin bow

We were also fascinated by these boys showing off their monkey and racoon in the streets:

Boys with monkey and racoon

Boys with monkey and racoon


As first timers to the Russian language, our attempts to read Pestopah (and many other words) amused locals a lot.

Actually it’s pronounced, “Restoran”, and is a favourite establishment of these two greedy boys!



7. Japanese Tourists in Russia:

Everywhere they go, regardless of age, they never fail to bring a smile to our face.

Japanese tourist posing in Moscow's Red Square

Japanese tourist posing in Moscow’s Red Square

8. Cows are free to roam:

This applies more to the wilderness in Russia such as in Olkhon island on Lake Baikal.

This particular cow made his way into our homestead munching away at everything in sight:

Cow roaming free in our homestead in Lake Baikal

Cow roaming free in our homestead in Lake Baikal

9. First McDonald’s opening in Russia:

Our friends in Moscow told us about the opening of the first McDonald’s in Russia in 1990.  After so many years of Soviet repression, people queued for hours (around 6-8 hours) to pay the equivalent of several days’ wages for Big Macs, shakes and french fries. The queues at the time were huge:

The queues outside Russia's first McDonald's in 1990

The queues outside Russia’s first McDonald’s in 1990

10. A final observation:

(well not really an observation but an excuse for Stefan to post another silly picture): 

Stef willy statue photo from Hermitage in St Petersburg

Stef willy statue photo from Hermitage in St Petersburg

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  1. I was more fascinated with the boys than the monkey and the racoon. hehehe.
    Were you guys openly gay in Russia or more cautious?

    • Ha ha ha 🙂 We were actually very careful in Russia because it was the first stop in our travels in Asia and after what we’d seen in the press, we were quite scared. But what do you mean openly gay? We didn’t pack the rainbow flat in our backpacks?

      • Like holding hands in public. Or being out when locals ask if you have a girlfriend or a wife.

        I get ask all the time.

        • Oh I see – we were tactful in Russia. At worst people thought we were brothers and we played up to this.

          • Gracias mate

  2. I have been to Petropavlovsk and St. Petersburg, Two extreme cities in Russia. East end and West end.
    Would love to see more of it. Russia is just a fascinating country.
    Thank you again.
    ps. I think that woman in green looks more Chinese than Japanese as
    Chinese tourists are everywhere these days. I mean they are EVERYWHERE !!!
    Japanese economy has been so flat for the last 20 years. Few of them still can be seen but compare to their population (130 Mil), it is quite a small number nowadays.
    Some European still assume any Asian tourist in Western countries would be Japanese?
    Not anymore!

    • Thanks buddy. They were speaking in Japanese, unless they were Chinese speaking in Japanese 🙂


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