If unique and exotic figure in your shopping agenda, the mysterious yet spectacular Russian capital is your best bet. There’s no better place to buy fur than Yekaterina (ul Bolshaya Dmitrovka 11). The store has been producing shuby (fur coats) and shapky (fur hats) since 1912. You can pick from a range of trendy yet high quality furs and leathers here. Izmaylovsky Market, also known as Vernisazh market, is another hot spot for shoppers. It’s packed with just about any souvenir under the sun. Also look out for handmade products, woodwork crafts, local art, antiques pottery, Caucasian rugs and more.
We shopped for the next leg of journey, four days on a train. We stocked up enough cup noodles, bread, cheese, canned food. And tea. And then, just before midnight, we reached the Yaroslavskaya station. At 12:31 A.M. the longest running train of the world, RZD #100 - the service between Moscow and Vladivostok left the platform 3. At the edge of the platform lies the 'Zeroth' mile post, marked the Centenary 1901-2001.
Communism has gone away, paving way for a fiercely capitalistic Russia. But what remained is the ideological gap with the 'West'. It is a time when there are many sanctions imposed on Russia. There are huge tensions, not only between the governments, but also among ordinary people. We met a British traveller who divulged that getting a Russian visa is a huge task for British people now. An American backpacker said she was denied a place to stay on a Railway property because American citizens are officially not allowed to stay on government premises.
Moscow in general is a clean city. The pavements were cleaned regularly. I was warned to be careful around Moscow. I imagined that crime was rampant in the city. If it was, I did not get that impression even when we were walking around late at night.
One of the things that I have observed is how the women are in Moscow. They are well dressed! It was like I was walking in the streets of Paris. I told my husband that when I was in Paris, I felt like I was a person with very poor taste in clothing. I felt the same in Moscow even when everyone is covered in winter clothes. I just wished I was not too shy taking photos of strangers.
It is amazingly easy to get around Moscow via the underground Metro. I looked for places where suspenseful scenes in RUSSIAN RECKONING could take place. I found the Mayakovsky tube station, the Arbat (a popular shopping district), and 38 Petrovka Street (headquarters of the Moscow Criminal Police) all of which play an important part in the plot.