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Janaline's World Journey “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

Arriving in MOSCOW and need a cup of coffee

RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Monday, 24 September 2012 | Views [788]

My apartment block in Moscow

My apartment block in Moscow

My Russian adventure started September 2010!  The unknown, the secretiveness of this city pulled me towards it. Since I can remember I have always been interested to find out what actually goes on behind the “iron curtain”. I grabbed at the chance to work and live in Moscow and couldn’t wait to start my adventure.

I soon found out that Moscow is a city of superlatives. It boasts the most billionaires, the most expensive cups of coffee, at £4 a cup this is definitely true, and the most churches located in one city!  It is also been voted the most unfriendly city in the world, although I have to disagree with that last statement. The more I get to know the Russians, the more I realize they are actually friendly and helpful.


Not prepared for KONKOVA


I knew that I was going to be living in an old soviet flat but was still very shocked when I actually walked into my flat. The apartment complex looks like it should have been demolished years ago. It is one of 5 identical apartment blocks all a row. It’s going to be easy to get lost was one of my first thoughts. As predicted during that first week I tried to enter the wrong apartment block a couple of times!

My flat looked like something out of a horrible 60’s movie - brown wallpaper and some squishy orange stuff that covers the doors and the cupboards. The toilet was wallpapered in some yellow and blue 50’s motive that gave you a headache every time you had to go in there. I had no kettle or microwave and my fridge wasn’t working.


I definitely needed a cup of coffee to cheer me up and so my first buying adventure in Moscow started. I walked to the nearest grocery store which was about 15min away and bought some coffee and what I thought was milk and sugar. Seeing as nothing has any English written on it I had to trust that I was deciphering the pictures correctly. Nobody in the store spoke any English so I couldn’t even ask for help.

 Got home, boiled some water in a pot on the stove and discovered that I bought salt and some sour yogurt stuff. So I headed back to the store, this time I found some sugar in a clear plastic bag and bought some new “milk”. Back in the flat I proceeded to make myself another cup of coffee. I soon discovered that yet again I did not buy milk, this time it was something strawberry flavoured. I really did not understand, I picked the white carton with a cow on, you would have thought that it would have been milk.

By this time I really needed some coffee so I took the cup of black coffee and walked all the way to the store with it, then continued to ask the clerk to help me. I took her to the milk isle and then pointed at the cartons and asked which one I could pour into my coffee, she did laugh at me but at least helped me out. Third time lucky I guess. Must add that after the milk incident whenever I came into the store the clerk was standing close buy to help me, which I admit helped a lot since my Russian was nearly non existent at that time and trying to decipher what a product is from pictures does not always work.


I quickly made an effort to learn the Russian alphabet and some basic words so things got a little bit easier after my first failed shopping experience.


Tags: apartment block, coffee, janaline smalman, moscow, russia, travel

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