Yae Tamaoki / Marubeni Corporation Moscow Office
* In this column, Marubeni Group staff provide a glimpse of the cities in which they are living and working.
According to my friend who has been in Moscow for 10 years, a date with a Russian means taking a walk. It is not only couples, Russians really do love strolling and chatting on a bench. So for this article, I’m introducing recommended walking spots for your free time.
The 350-hectare nature reserve is located along the Moscow River at a half an hour’s metro ride from the central city area. Tsars have built villas and lived here. With wooden churches and other structures from the 14-17th century, the site is included in the World Heritage List. The oldest Church of the Ascension (1532) has a unique white rocket-like form. The Honey Fair is held in the park from late summer to fall, and you can buy delicious natural honey in various flavors such as lime, acacia, and buckwheat. And of course, you can try the samples.
In the city, there are parks such as Kuskovo and Ostankino Palaces, which are former aristocratic estates turned into museums, and the area is spacious and lush with greenery. For travelling in the city, the prepaid Troika Card is really convenient for riding the metro, bus, or tram. Since troika means a three-horse carriage or sledge, the naming is ever so Russian.
The city is an hour-and-a-half from Moscow by train. The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, a World Heritage Site, is at the center of the city. It is the largest monastery in Russia built in the 14-18th century with an assembly of beautiful churches. There is always a long line of worshippers at the Holy Trinity Cathedral (1423) where Russia’s most respected saint Sergius of Radonezh is buried, but you can go in from the side if you mention you are a tourist at the entrance. Andrei Rublev’s famous icon The Trinity (Troitsa) was originally laid over Sergius of Radonezh’s tomb.
After a long walk, it’s tea time. You should really try the Russian-style tea ceremony. With the platok (traditional large scarf) table cloth, the silver samovar, cowberry aperitif, salmon roe blini (Russian crepe), and home-made cakes, it will be a highlight of your trip. After a refreshment of delicious tea and cakes, how about going to the theater or a concert?
I believe Russia is one of the countries that has changed the most in the last 25 years. It’s also a country with the largest gap between that reality and the image people have in Japan. Travel preparations for Russia such as getting your visa takes a bit of work, but if you get off the tourist bus and take a walk, I’m sure you will discover all sorts of things.
Marubeni Group communication site “MS+ (MS Plus)” (July 1, 2016)