Top-10 unexpected things for foreigners in Russia
Whenever we go somewhere we always have expectations. It’s not Middle Ages, we have Internet and Google and Blogs and Wikipedia etc. We always anticipate what we are going to see or experience, and more often than not we are right. But there are still places like Russia that can surprise you in different ways. So to have you prepared to what you might see in Russia, we’ve gathered top-10 unexpected things that foreigners were astonished by and that Wikipedia won’t tell you right away.
#1. Moscow Traffic
This won’t be surprising at all if you come from New Delhi or LA. But if you’ve come here from a quiet European city you may be shocked by the traffic amount. If you don’t feel like driving the congested streets stay at home during the rush hours.
#2. The Poor and the Rich
A multi-storeyed building in Moscow can be inhabited by people living very modest lives from the financial point of view. In a moment a luxurious BMW of their neighbor will be parked next to that very building. This country has people living on the verge of poverty and it is also a home to a bunch of millionaires. It’s a huge market for Mercedes-Benz and for Ferrari.
#3. Palaces in St Petersburg
Even the worldly-wise travellers show the reverence when they take a walk in St Petersburg. Paris, Rome, London – most of the cities you’ve been to by now fade when you come to see these palaces. The architecture, the interiors, the art pieces and the historical spirit combined will make you gasp. The dominant thought when you walk there is that you have too little time to enjoy it, and it doesn’t matter how many days you plan to spend here.
#4. Natural wonders
If you are not enchanted by churches and castles but are very keen on natural wonders and sceneries, you’ll be astonished by the variety of climatic zones in Russia. If you want to see the forests, the deserts, the seas, the steppe and the valleys covered with snow, the volcanoes – you will only need one visa for all. By the way, the deepest lake in the world with the unique ecosystem – the Baikal lake – is also located in Russia.
#5. Indigenous Peoples
More than a hundred minor nations live in Russia besides actually Russians. Many of them have preserved the culture and the traditions of their ancestors, some even have their own language. Circassians, Nenets, and Komi people – you would never expect Russian culture can be so various.
#6. Two New Year Eves
It’s odd but a very religious country like Russia pays more attention to celebrating New Year than celebrating Christmas. They actually love that so much that they have a bonus New Year Eve – on 13th-14th of January. It’s called “an Old New Year” and it’s due to the calendar changes that took place centuries ago.
#7. Parades in Russia
It’s not the Soviet Union anymore, but the love for the parades in Russia lives on. If you happen to visit Moscow or any other big city on the 9th of May – which is the Victory Day in Russia – you will experience something like going decades back in time. It is better to see these spectacular military parades with all the artillery and aviation with your own eyes – there is no cameraman that could depict it as remarkably as it is. By the way, the fact they celebrate the V-E Day on 9th of May instead of the 8th like all the Europe does is surprising too.
#8. Dressed Up People in Stores
Russian women always look at the top of their attractiveness. It sometimes seems they put a little makeup even when they are simply going to take the trash out of the house. So it is very likely that having entered an ordinary grocery store you will be surprised to see all those well-dressed ladies buying some beetroots and parsley for the dinner.
#9. No Smiling
Russians very seldom smile to people they are not acquainted with. If foreigners in Russia smile at them without any particular reason they may catch a couple of “weirdo” looks. But when you get closer with some of them, you will see how different the sincere smiles are from the polite ones you get on the bus or at the post office in your country.
#10. The Rugs on the Walls
Don’t be surprised to see an ordinary rug on the wall if you come to visit some old fashioned family. Modern interior designers fight this Soviet trend, but it’s not that easy – many people find it very practical as it reinforces the sound isolation, improves the thermal insulation and covers the wall defects.
One of the foreign bloggers compared Russia to a matryoshka doll. Indeed, you never get bored by having seen everything – there’s always another doll inside. We are sure that the list is not even remotely complete, so you are welcome to share your in the comments section here: https://www.facebook.com/businessRussianCourses/
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