Shareq Mowla is a hardcore football fan who also loves to travel. “Travelling always energises my soul,” he tells us. Every football fan’s dream is to watch the FIFA live, and this fan got to live his dream when he visited St. Petersburg and Moscow while the World Cup was on. With FIFA hype at its peak, a 10-day trip to Russia, where the FIFA World Cup was on, with his friends was the perfect vacation! The trip included visiting the scenic St. Petersburg located on the banks of River Neva, and the big city of Moscow. But most importantly; they got to witness the match between Brazil and Costa Rica.
“By far the highest point of my trip was watching Brazil playing a World Cup game in person! The Krestovsky Stadium in SPB is a spectacle to behold; it’s uniquely designed like a spaceship, and add to that the pulsating energy levels of Brazilian supporters – an unparalleled experience,” Shareq gushes. St. Petersburg is a Russian port city and the country’s cultural capital. “A network of canals meanders through the town. It not only adds a sense of romance, but also earns the city the title of Venice of the East. A boat ride is a must here!” Shareq adds, “The architecture of SPB is stunning. The grandeur of the Hermitage, Peter & Paul Fortress, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, and St. Isaac’s Cathedral stand out in memory.”
Moscow, on the other hand, is the nation’s cosmopolitan centre and the historic core of the Kremlin. The city is connected by its efficient metro system, as Shareq tells us, “Moscow metro stations are the prettiest and most artistic in the world, and worthy of a tour of their own!” The heart of Moscow is the Red Square, dominated by the grand Kremlin and the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral. “During the entire World Cup, the Red Square was the party zone! Cafés, souvenir shops, pubs, and the famous GUM departmental store are all lined up around this area. There were people from every corner of the world – singing and dancing through night and day! It was literally a melting pot for the world’s football lovers, and the party was on 24 hours a day!” he reminisces.
The hop-on and hop-off bus service is ideal for tourists who are short on time, as it provides a panoramic view of the city’s major attractions. The food was another highlight of Shareq’s trip. “Restaurants around Moscow offer good quality, fairly priced Russian, Georgian, and Uzbek cuisine – a must try for every tourist!” He also recommended Kremlin, Bolshoi Theatre and Revolutionary Square for anyone who plans to visit the city.
The summer nights in St. Petersburg are magical as the sun never completely sets between May and July. The festival during this time is known as the White Nights, and one comes across people up and about, soaking up the midnight sun. “It’s true when they say St. Petersburg never sleeps – how can you, when it still looks and feels like twilight even at 2 am?” Shareq exclaims. When asked about his overall impressions, he tells us, “Russia is a beautiful country, and they organised a large-scale world event like FIFA absolutely fantastically!”