Sending things to Russian north

SeverTrans (st-msk.com) has been recommended to us by the Kandalaksha people as a cheap and reliable company that serves the northern direction (the cities covered are listed below), and today we brought 100kg of household stuff to their Mytishi (just north-east from Moscow, Yaroslavl road), and for 1000 roubles ($33) they undertook to deliver it to Kandalaksha. MORE>>

River cruises starting and returning to Moscow

boatIn connection with this recurring question I keep on running into www.turflot.ru. Offices in Moscow (Bolshaya Ordynka 21, Metro Tretyakovskaya) and St. Petersburg (Spassky pereulok 14/35, M. Sennaya Ploshad). In Moscow it is several minutes from the apartment I have available for rent. They cater to the local market but if you ask nicely, MORE>>

Inter-city bus and cruise ship schedules

Intercity buses from Moscow: www.busgo.ru. Think of $10-something per 100 miles as about the average cost. Or, if you are a large group, hiring a bus in the city will cost you $50-100 per hour, and up to $2 per mile for long hauls.

Cruise ships from Moscow: www.starflot.ru/cruise. Prices from $200 to $2000 per person per day, eg. the cheapest of the cheap one week cruises will cost you $1400.

A time capsule of old Zamoskvorechye spirit

Today I would like to present the Ostrovsky Museum in Zamoskvorechye, Malaya Ordynka 9/2. Alexander Ostrovsky is a playwright, and is considered to be the founder of the Russian theatre tradition. The Maly Theatre (to the right of Bolshoi if facing it) is Ostrovsky’s creation, and its repertoire is still based on his plays. The fat bronze man in front of Maly is Ostrovsky himself.
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The museum is in the house where Ostrovsky was born in 1823. Such an old wooden houses is rarity in Moscow today, and in itself is a historic rarety. MORE>>

Anarchist-style bookstore

Books are donated or left on consignment. Prices are from low to free. Specialization: rare and “alternative” publications.

But they are in Russian so this piece of info is probably to no interest to my target audience. I’m documenting it here for my own benefit not to lose this piece of information.

Pokrovka 6 (Metro Kitay-Gorod), from the street walk through the ark. Open 11am to 9pm every day. Tel. +7 965 179 3498

A proper and correct vodka establishment

By Alexandra
Edited by Pasha

Happy drunks are nearly extinct in the 2013 Moscow.  On seeing several old-school inebriated individuals staggering out of this basement establishment that calls itself “Rumochnaya” (“Shot-glass place”) at Ulitsa Bochkova 5, ten minutes walk from Metro Alekseevskaya, we had overcome out distaste for neon lights and other signs of glamour which are a must these days, and ventured down and in.

Although called “rumochnaya”, same as Pasha’s favourite famous Второе дыхание (Second Wind), it is on the opposite side of the spectrum. You can invite women or business partners to this one without suffering consequences.

As all proper drinking establishments, it is below street level. It took some work to get Pasha in. A promise of vodka with no nagging attached was an effective motivator.  After the first shot of “hrenovuha” (horseradish-flavoured – and very much so – vodka) his mood improved and we proceeded to celebrate what life still has to offer to old losers like us.

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Being a true alcophile (note the subtle difference from “alcoholic”), Pasha proceeded to sample garlic and pepper vodka, ginger vodka, and then anise vodka, and then vodka with such a strong flavour that even the barman issued a warning that it is but for the toughest, and our hero of course loved it even more than others.

Shots were 70 roubles for 50 grams (roughly an ounce and a half). Khamovniki beer I ordered was 90 or 100 roubles ($3).

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Snacks were just right for “rumochnaya”. Not so many as to turn choosing into work. Not too large to change focus from drinking to eating. Made with care. Priced.. No, not “cheap” but “proper”.

The bill to turn us into yet two more happy clients staggering out was 1100 roubles.

Here is the menu:

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(
click to enlarge)

Definitely recommended if you are too much of a wimp for Second Wind but want to partake in the drinking ritual.

Make a note of this establishment if renting an apartment from Alexandra. It is about 10 min.  walk.

See Neighbourhoods: Alexeyevskaya >>   and Drinking >>

Beers from Belarus

Dictatorships have their advantages. One is their near-incompatibility with progress. When it comes to things edible and drinkable the simpler is usually the better. While Russia is not exactly a liberal democracy, we have Belarus, a true old-school dictatorship, next door to supply us with good beer. Two brands can be easily found in Moscow and the rest of Russia: Alivaria and Lidskoye. About 40 roubles per bottles. I’d rate them below Khamovniki but still entirely acceptable.

beer_lidskoyebeer_alivaria

Khamovniki beer

Khamovniki is one of very few drinkable local beers. It does not leave you bloated and brains turned jelly. What’s best, quality seems to have stayed constant for years. Normal retail price in corner stores 50-55 roubles.

That was beer which which my cousin Anton welcomed me to Moscow in May 1993. That was followed by a bottle of lemon-flavoured Stolichyana and the first Russian style hangover..

PS. Made at the Moscow Brewing company that offers brewery tours on Saturdays and Sundays.