In 2012 I went to Moscow. I had this strange idea that ladies would want to meet mewith the prospect of starting a relationship.  After applying for the visa via an online company, I set about locating someone to help me while I was there, just as I had done in Kharkiv.  I’d chosen an out-of-city hotel based on my weird sense of reasoning that it was on the southern side of the city, and a short taxi ride to the airport if the situation warranted a quick getaway (if things went wrong).  It

wasn’t actually a short ride by bus or taxi, but that is another story.

In my preparing for the trip, I had Google mapped the area around the hotel in street view mode and pretty much knew every road name and building. I’d worked out the route from the hotel to the centre and had memorised the details.  My experience of walking alone in Ukraine applied “pressure” to my sense of organisation and planning in the fact that I wanted a “nice” area where I felt safe and I actually knew where I was going without asking or, looking like a stupid foreigner.  The hotel had a lot of Chinese staying so I was happier about not being the only foreigner.

However, I’d been lucky, via a forum website, I had booked the services ofa guide and translator so it took some of the worry away and meant the meticulous planning was good but not essential.

The underground station was a good walk from the hotel, passing this block of shops (left) and near to another Mall on the corner intersection.  I did go into it one day, before boarding the metro, but soon came out when I saw most of the shops were high-end brands.

Red Square and the shopping mall featured in Dark Matter (although I didn’t know it until I saw the film on TV and saw the above having a plane dropped into it), Saint Basils’ famous church spires, the Kremlin (inside and outside) and Bolshoi ballet all within walking distance of each other.

ABOVE: the very popular shopping street, with a very interesting museum.

RIGHT: on the metro, this statue of a woman has a chicken at her feet that, if you rub it, brings you luck.