You couldn’t get anywhere holier than Sergiev Posad

Last summer around May, I couldn’t take it anymore that I went to Sergiev Posad. One of the Golden Ring cities. At that time, I was thinking to combine this trip with Pereslavl-Zalessky but the train station to there is little confusing and so, nahhh 😛 This town is rather smaller and it didn’t actually take half the day to finish the place to be honest. I don’t see the point of wasting some hundreds ruble to stay the night. You could easily hop on the train to the place and hop back on, back to Moscow. That was exactly what I did 😛 The train ticket didn’t cost much- it was just 164 rub! 🙂 It took about a couple of hour. This particular train will be slightly different than the one I took to Yaroslavl. As this smaller city is nearer to Moscow, this suburban train, elektrichka (электричка) is much more frequent so you don’t have to worry of tickets selling out. It is a little bit old but you could always pay a little bit more and board the express train. Again, I don’t mind about it so much. The cheaper the trip is, the happier I would be. Yes, I know, I am a tad of a cheapskate haha 😀

I would suggest you to not take a short nap in the train, in case of missing your stop. Plus, the train conductor will come to check your tickets to make sure you are going to wherever you paid for. And you’re a touristttt! You’re suppose to enjoy the landscape from the window! 😉 It is the best way to see the Russian countryside as it will passes by the country houses, fields, forests, church etc 🙂

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It is better to let the crowd to alight before you. You have the time of your life so don’t rush 🙂

It took about ten minutes to reach Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius Lavra. It is the main thing in this town 😉 I would say this is the most religious place in Russia, having it to be founded in 1340

As I walked towards the monastery, there is a memorial of somebody (excuse my Russians 😛 ) and a church nearby! It is like the whole town is filled with churches. Very spiritual :O As you walk towards the monastery, you will find some stalls along the way, where you can buy some souvenirs, scarfs or some religious stuff. I bought myself a beautiful magnet with the whole of monastery crafted in it for 100 rub. My friend tried bargaining with the lady but they stood strongly by the price, not even smiling..until she just gave in and bought like ten of it. And still, no discount. Booo 😛

Before you travel here, you might want to know this bit. You aren’t supposed to wear too revealing clothes to the monastery. For the ladies, bring a scarf to cover your head, in case the priests decided to think you aren’t holy enough to be on this spiritual ground. Really, I am not pulling your leg. I was just lucky that it was during one of those times where most tourists will come over for a visit. So, being an Asian, I was mistaken to be one of the tourists from China, Hong Kong, Japan blah blah that didn’t have a single clue about it (well, I do, of course) and I played along. I even went to join one of the tours and was gobsmacked by how fluent the Russian lady was with her Mandarin :O Being a Chinese, my Mandarin wasn’t even close to the primary school’s standard. I am like a banana (yellow on the outside but white in the inside). I merely speak good enough to get me through with life and that’s it, with me, silently praying that you are a banana as well.

You will have to head to a building in your right to buy the tickets. For foreigners (even though I am a full time student in Russia :/ ), it costs me 300 rub and you will have to purchase a pass for taking pictures inside the which is another 100 rub. It comes with a gift of a simple fridge magnet.

And in you go, all the magnificent churches! If you’re a Christian, you probably should bring a water bottle with you if you want to bring back some holy water or you could just sprinkle some of it like how I did! 😉

We were lucky enough to watch a mass, carried out by the priests. I am not a Chirtian myself so this is so far a new experience for me.

I read that the bakery goods and kvass are good here so I was more than excited to by them. After all, I don’t mind some delicious buns especially if they are homemade ones! I bought rather many breads and a bottle of cold kvass for 240 rub.

This is surely not to be missed- a kvass truck by an old lady. It was quite a queue to get them and honestly it tasted better than the other kvass I’ve tried. Even better so, it costs me 50 rub for a litre of goodness 🙂

Getting out, we walked around for a bit and aaah, the weather was so so goodddd 😀

Sadly, most of the museums were closed so ..maybe next time 🙂

We walked to the toy museum to capture this amazing landscape 😉 You could see like the whole of Sergiev Posad (well, probably just the churches heh 😛 )

It was just four something that we were done. It is a kinda small place so it is good for a short day trip 🙂

And oh there my “Golden Fish” pastry! 😀

You couldn’t get anywhere holier than Sergiev Posad

Joy In A Cube

I decided to drag my butt out from the house since lazing for days. Actually, you can’t really say I’m lazing. I got my reason alright 😛

And so, I made my brother to drive me all the way to Damansara to try this dessert shop that I’ve been thinking to go ever since it is opened. To be totally honest, I don’t really fancy dessert to that extent to spend more than ten bucks for a cake or something. I would rather have pizza, really 😛 Neither does my brother. Or maybe he just felt it made him less manly lol

It took about thirty minutes from my place. It was pretty far and I almost fell asleep if not for my annoying brother 😐 The parking charges 2 bucks for an hour and personally I didn’t like the place very much. It is like a small mall, Damansara Empire with cafes in it and some shop lots aren’t even rented out yet. It looked a tiny bit shady maybe it is just me.

HarujuCube was located at the first floor and I didn’t have to wait for long to be served. It was pretty surprising that it was a full house with people still queuing up for seats. I was brought to a nice table with arm chairs located by the window. My heart silently thanked the waitress for the amazing spot. I am a sucker for taking nice pictures of food and the place gave a nice lighting. My brother just complained that I should thank him for driving him all the way as he did it just for me 😑

I picked a bana-toffee honey toast and butterscotch milks for the both of us. Btw, you didn’t have to order drinks as they provide unlimited complimentary fruit infused water. I actually wanted to pick the strawbelicious one instead but my brother hates strawberries 😫 The honey toast costs 26 bucks and 9 bucks for the milk. Most of the honey toast costs about 26 bucks. You would have to make your order at the counter and they will bring them to you.

It was topped with bananas and a big scoop of ice cream. It is more of less like a banana split except they are sitting on a castle of toasts. The toasts wasn’t really crunchy but it was okie..? Some are just right but some tasted just like the toasted bread I made back home. I sliced them clumsily, making them looked too sloppy. You will find golden bread cubes in it and those are the nicer ones compared to the fort ones. You are welcomed to trail even more honey over the toast if you don’t find them sweet enough to your liking.

14037763_10154086171787851_1783808778_o

Even my brother didn’t finish half of it and I had to look like a pig, finishing them up😧 Seriously, I don’t mind finishing it if it is pizza, sushi or anything else that isn’t a dessert. Sometimes food that are too sweet are just too overwhelming that they make you sick.

I would give it 7/10, mainly ‘cuz it is nicely decorated and creative. You gotta admire how they made so much money from just toasts. The whole thing just mixed so well in your mouth that you kept asking for more but you should go two or three friends. As it was just my brother and I, it was so sweet that it became overwhelming instead. Like, those kind you felt you gonna get a stomach ache and probably want to poop right after. Right now, I am getting a little bit of sore throat from this sweet toasts.😌

Trust me, if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you won’t come back for a second round. I know I won’t, mainly because it took half an hour drive to the place itself!😰 I don’t know what will happen if the traffic happened to be bad. I bet my brother will turn crazy😂

Try it for once at least 😉

Location: HarujuCube, 103 Level 1, Empire Damansara, Damansara Perdana, Jalan PJU 8/8, 47820 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Ps. Finally I caught Machop in Publika woohoo 😀

Joy In A Cube

The bear’s corner, Yaroslavl

As much as I wanted to travel the European countries or UK, I also wanted to go to all of the amazing places in Russia. Every winter break, most of my friends would fly to some European countries or UK for holidays. Anywhere but Russia. Personally, Russia is an amazing place if you minus the trailing the dirty snow to class every day during the winter. You can’t really count that as holiday when it is just walking to class. As a student, I don’t have to go through the fuss of getting an invitation to make a visa like other travelers since I already have a student visa already. So, why not make the full use of it before I graduate? 😉 Admit it, you won’t come back to Russia after graduating but anywhere else you would still go. This is a golden opportunity that I am not going to let go of it! With the ruble weakening against my country’s currency (I am from Malaysia, btw), it is even better. Now that I am living off my parents’ money and my med school fees aren’t cheap either, I would always make a budget trip instead. 🙂

I can’t say that I have traveled most of the Russia already.A friend of mine, Ashley who is from China has been to more places in Russia than me. I am more like the rookie in comparison to her. 😛

Last spring in April, Ashley told me about Golden Ring and suggested me to go there. At the time, my Internet back in my apartment was down and so I have to do all the last minute booking in a cafe. It was kinda impromptu trip.  As Golden Ring consists of Vladimir, Suzdal, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Rostov Velikiy, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy and Sergiev Posad (the classical routes), I decided to visit Yaroslavl first since I didn’t have enough time to Google the other places and plan the itinerary. Wanting to feel like a real traveler and Russian, I took a train and had to fumble in my broken Russian to buy a ticket in the booth as she couldn’t speak English. Perhaps the next trip, I might as well book it online as the official website is available in English.

A ticket to Yaroslavl cost me about 700 rub and I was seated at the 24th carriage. The journey took about 4 hours.

Instead of sleeping, I took the time to enjoy the view while analyzing the map and read about Yaroslavl. It was my first time, traveling without my parents. Yaroslavl (Ярославль) is the second largest city in Central Russia after Moscow and got its name from Prince Yaroslavl of Kyiv. Why Bear’s corner? According to the legend, Prince Yaroslav forced local Finno-Ugric people into Christendom by axing their totem bear, which now appears on the city’s coat of arms… and I bought a miniature bear statue for my brother 😀

I checked in to Hostel Putnik which is near to the train station from Booking.com as I decided to stay for the night.

68553293
You can see the train station from here!

 

I thought the city tour will take kinda long but I was wrong. Honestly, if you want to save on the accommodation, you don’t need to stay for the night. It took like less than half a day to finish the city unless there are some events going on or you want to stay for the night life. The hostel is really clean, spacious and safe. You just need to ring up the hostel owner to open up the main door for you as it is locked most of the times. Maybe if it was peak season at that time, it won’t be locked as often. My hostel owner was a really nice Russian man who always have a smile on his face (sometimes his smile will get too creepy or maybe it is just his looks) 😛 His English wasn’t at his best but we counted on our translation app to communicate. For a twin room, it was just 1400 rub per night.

I took this pictures from the website itself as I forgotten to snap some 😛

And look what I found in the middle of the night when I wanted to go to the loo:

They even got a house cat! She was purring already as my hand was reaching out to pat her. Isn’t she just adorable? 😀

K, after checking in and all, we took the trolley bus to the city center.

A ride is about 25 rub? I have forgotten the exact price but it isn’t expensive. If you live somewhere near the city center, perhaps you won’t really need public transport. Basically you can get anywhere by foot unless you’re lazy 😛 For me, only two rides are needed- to and fro. It took like 10 minutes to reach? It isn’t really a big place to begin with.

First stop: Volga embankement

I got off from Krasnaya Ploschad stop and was on foot all the way from there. Surprisingly, the weather in Yaroslavl was a little warmer, compared to Moscow. There is a ferry that you could take to cruise along the Volga river but it was still early at that time. So, I was a little bummed that I bought myself a mint-chocolate ice cream 🙂 Nah, it was just excuse 😛

If you decided to have a bit by the river, you should probably go a little bit later. Like, 6 or 7 in the evening. I read that the food was really good and so was the price haha! 😛

Second stop: Churches and museums

See how serene the sky and the river are! 😀 I felt a little bit smarter for choosing the right season to visit. The pictures wouldn’t look too gloomy and the temperature was just right for us to walk everywhere without looking like a penguin 😀

I didn’t go to the Private Museum of Music and Time as I’ve read some reviews that it is just okie. There is a restaurant beside it called Sobranie. I went to Museum of Fine Arts instead. The ticket costs 200 rub each. The arts are beautiful. Mainly, from China, Japan, European and Russian. In Russia, there are countless of museum. So, if you’re like thinking “Should I go to this museum?”, you can choose no. Unless you’re a really big fan of arts. Again, there are so many better museums in Russia if you really want to enjoy arts. You could just skip this.

Did I mention that there are so many cathedrals and monasteries in Yaroslavl? Usually the outskirts are more conservative and religious than the big cities, like Moscow for instance. We didn’t manage to enter most of the churches. Funny that it was locked with big chains. There was even one church that we passed by, which happened to look like it didn’t been in use for decades. It looked kinda haunted that we walked past it quickly. I really don’t want to piss off any Russian poltergeists especially they are nuns.

I think I watched too much horror films lol 😛

It sucks that the Governor’s Garden Museum was closed at that time. From outside of the gate, I saw more than two fancy things already! 😦

As you go straight, you could see a park where the Russians will walk their dog, some grannies gossiping or some reading novels.

There is a two stalls at the end of the park before you cross the street. This was where I bought my souvenirs. It ranges from 50 rub to 1000+ depending on what you’re buying. I bought mine each for 200 rub. It is fair enough.

Cathedral of Assumption was rebuilt after Stalin destroyed during Soviet revolution. If you walk past this cathedral, you will find yourself heading to Strelka park, which I failed to know of. Remember I have limited Internet? 😦 You should head there k 😉 There is an observation point where you can see the Volga river.

I was happy enough that Saint Michael the Archangel Church is open to visit, or least it was for me. The interior was just like other Orthodox church in Russia. The exterior is more impressive than the interior.

And guess what, it was the Transfiguration Cathedral!! 😀 I was ecstatic because it is listed among UNESCO World Heritage Sites! As like others, I couldn’t visit it 😦 So much for the anticipation.

Stomach started to grumble after walking for quite some time. Of course 😛

This restaurant, Pivovar is like a tourist kinda place. Which is exactly why I was there to start with. It is quirky but hey it is Russia! That was exactly what I felt when I placed my first step in the restaurant. There is a theater and hotel beside it too. The hotel is Russian fairy themed. How much Russian more can this place even be? However this hotel is value for the money in my opinion in consideration of its location.

The restaurant was a little dark but as the waitresses saw us with our cameras, she turned them on for us. The waitresses are dressed in the typical Russian costume dress. It looks cute on them 🙂 The waitress can’t speak much English but it was all good as she provided us with an English menu. The beer and kvas are supposed to be the best so we ordered a glass of kvas and red barley beer. There is a wide range of beers to choose from. Initially I didn’t which to choose but I just chose red barley as it sounds special. I had the restaurant’s special, green zucchini dumplings stuffed with salmon soup topped with salmon roe while my friend had a pork chop. Both of the beer and kvas cost about 340 rub while my dumplings are 390 rub. Sometimes, being on a budget trip doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try their local foods. It will be such a waste, really. Plus it was a one time thing. Eat the best one so you wouldn’t have to come back to try an even better when you’re just too particular about the price instead of what you actually wanted. You could have one or two meals at some local restaurants, where you will be spending slightly more. The rest of the meals, you could eat somewhere cheaper like fast food or you could just survive on sandwiches or instant noodles.

Then we decided to walk around the city some more as it was still early. I couldn’t get to St. John Baptist Church as there wasn’t any zebra crossing to get over there. If you have a grand ruble note, you will see this church on the note! 😉

As it was too early, there wasn’t much happenings on the Deputskaya street. In this street, you will find some stalls selling souvenirs as well. The price will be more or less the same as before.

It was said that you shouldn’t miss this theater. Russia State Academics Theater was the Russia’s first official theater and since I had some time to kill, I decided to watch any show that was available at that day, even if it is in Russian. The lady in the cashier suggested золотой теленок (literally translated “Golden calf”) and it was just 400 rub! 😀 I’ve always wanted to watch ballets, opera or shows in Russian theater so with that price, please, lady just take my money! I was seated at the second floor, second row in the middle. which was just splendid 🙂 Although I couldn’t understand half of what the actors/actresses said, I had a great time, laughing at their funny expressions and acts.

This marks the end of my trip for today and took a bus back to my hostel. Mind you, you should bring a jacket as it gets really chilly at night. I was shivering while waiting for the bus.

This trip was amazing but I skipped some of the places 😦

Hmmph, next summer, I will visit here with my brother again 😉 and this time it won’t be just Yaroslavl but the whole Golden Ring cities 😀

Now, it’s time to work on another budget plan again! 😀

Charmaine ❤

 

The bear’s corner, Yaroslavl

Why McDonald Russia don’t sell apple pie?

Yep, that’s one of the questions that I will be nonstop wondering whenever I step into McDonald.

Seriously, why?? 😦

All I’ve ever eaten are ones that filled with cranberries or raspberries. It is nice but it is too sweet after a couple of bites.

The apple pic that I’ve eaten in Malaysia is so rich with aroma. There’s a hint of cinnamon and it isn’t too sweet either. Also, now for 4 bucks you can two of them! 😀

 

There’s even banana pie but I’ve yet to try them. I think it will taste weird or so.. :/

So, oh Russia McDonald, why don’t you sell apple pie too?

Why McDonald Russia don’t sell apple pie?

Things I have missed in Moscow

  1. I’ve been back for weeks and I find myself missing these stuff, perhaps a little hehe 😀
    1. Autumn- Ever since I am back, I am literally roasting under the scorching sun. I rather like the not-too-cold-and-not-too-warm weather. I still get to wear some nice cardigan too without being overwhelmed by the weather 🙂
    2. My cats, Zeus and Artemis- Cuz they are too adorable and seeing the stray cats here made the aching worst 😦
    3. My study place in my room?- Well, I kinda love how I made it so cozy and simple 😀
    4. Cherries- I didn’t know it is freaking expensive back in KL and made my dad spend a lot for them :/
    5. Some local beauty products when they are on sale maybe?

    Uhhhh, besides all these I couldn’t think of any more

    Can’t blame myself for it though 😛

    Also, I am not anxious to go back too, of course.

    Charmaine Siew ❤

Things I have missed in Moscow