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Subject: Moscow/Nizhny Novgord/Sochi rss

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JF
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Hey everybody,

Not sure if this should be on chit-chat but I will try here first since I'm sure I will get the right audience.
I will be in Russia for the World cup and will be travelling to the above mentioned locations. I would love your recommendations on

a) boardgame store in Moscow and Sochi
b) 1 thing I must see and 1 thing I must do in each location
c) things or places i mmst eat. Pillimeni is on my list for sure. I eat about Everything and like things that are genuine and not overpriced

Have a nice day. Looking forward to the trip.
 
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MyO the HedgeFox
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a) Gaga.ru and Igroved are pretty good stores. Hobby Games is also noteworthy if you’re into minis/wargames. The closer the store to the center, the higher the chance to find one with English-speaking people on the other side of the counter.

That’s in Moscow: as for Sochi, I highly recommend to find a volunteer or a Russian-speaking student and grab yourself a good handmade Backgammon/Chess board. These will cost a pretty penny and may be somewhat hard to transport (if you buy a big one), but these will be awesome. Remember to bring paper cash if you go to the market!

In Nizhny Novgorod, buy something from the local crafts. Musical instruments or even small statues. I particularly like wooden palm massage balls (smooth or grooved) made from aromatic wood, but you do you! These all may find unusual but apt application in boardgaming.
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b) First thing first – find yourself a companion that speaks Russian! A foreign language student that can manage even mediocre English will greatly enjoy the practice, and you’ll enjoy great loyalty and interesting finds that English alone won’t get you at all (or for cheap).

In Moscow, you should probably see the Grand Maket Museum – a very good museum of miniatures. Even has a sprawling railroad. Highly recommended. =)

While in Sochi, carry a sun hat and a fan.) And consider visiting the Tisso-Samsheetovaya Roschya (“yew and boxwood grove”) in Hosta (not too far from Sochi). *Very* pretty natural botanical area, plus it’s a good walkway.

Another nice place around Sochi is Roza-Khutor / Roza-Hutor, the Olympic Village of Sochi-2014. A pretty place even in the warm season – though it may look too European to your taste. =)

In Nizhny Novgorod, just a walk through one of the local parks or historic areas should suffice. That city’s beautiful. Maybe even take a tour through the local fortress and see the churches.

But all in all, a general guided tour through either city will usually feature the classic Places You Should Visit.
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c) In Moscow, try a shawarma in a good restaurant/cafe. Yep, *that* shawarma from the Avengers -- the Russian answer to tacos. The street cafe shawarmas are alright but a bit risky, while cafe/restaurant shawarmas are slightly more expensive yet definitely better prepared. Classier places means smaller and more expensive shawarma with better ingredients – the golden median is somewhere out there, and if you have a Russian speaker at hand it’ll be easier to find!

Sochi is a popular tourist city, so there could be plenty of scams and subpar products. Still, if a restaurant/cafe looks good enough, the food there is good enough as well. If you want local delicacies, try a чурчхелла, stringed nuts dipped in layered grape/pomegranate juice (and yes, it’s pronounced like “church-hella”!). Darker means better. Try to buy these as far away from the roads as possible.

In Nizhny Novgorod, the question is not what but where. Choose a place with a good view/atmosphere and eat there – trust me, you’ll enjoy it much more than any other gourmet delicacy.
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Other than that, there’s a variety of trinkets and interesting things that may be used as player/turn markers. Again, I highly recommend you to find yourself a companion that speaks Russian: better finds, enjoyable companionship, and you’ll provide great practice and memories of a lifetime to some lucky people!

On the more tourist-popular streets of Sochi, Novgorod and Moscow there are people selling paintings or offering to draw a picture/caricature of yourself for a relatively small fee of money and sitting straight for an hour or so.
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Bill Cook
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MyOtheHedgeFox wrote:
And consider visiting the Tisso-Samsheetovaya Roschya (“yew and boxwood grove”) in Hosta (not too far from Sochi). *Very* pretty natural botanical area, plus it’s a good walkway.


Wow... mention of Hosta/Khosta/Xocta. I stayed there in 2014 for the Olympics. Absolutely charming town on the train line between the city of Sochi and Alder (where the stadium is). If you want to walk around a neat little village with approximately zero non-Russian tourists that will leave you constantly thinking "this is Russia??" I highly recommend it. There's one main street leading from the train station to the river with lots of bars and restaurants, including one beer-gradeny thing which should be an amazing place to watch a match on tv, especially if Russia is playing. For gaming, there is (was at least) a bar dedicated to chess play that over looks the children's park in the center of town.

Have fun... I'm wicked jealous.
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MyO the HedgeFox
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EMBison wrote:
MyOtheHedgeFox wrote:
And consider visiting the Tisso-Samsheetovaya Roschya (“yew and boxwood grove”) in Hosta (not too far from Sochi). *Very* pretty natural botanical area, plus it’s a good walkway.

If you want to walk around a neat little village with approximately zero non-Russian tourists that will leave you constantly thinking "this is Russia??" I highly recommend it.

Whoa, didn’t know it was that popular among the foreigners! 0_0 The more you live!
Granted, that might’ve been the case because of the international events, and I can’t blame them for booking the everloving snot out of Khosta. That place *is* beautiful. =)
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JF
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Wow, thanks for an amazing reply. I will take your tips with me. We are a group of 3-4 people so we will consider if we will look for a student guide.

MyOtheHedgeFox wrote:
If you want local delicacies, try a чурчхелла, stringed nuts dipped in layered grape/pomegranate juice (and yes, it’s pronounced like “church-hella”!). Darker means better. Try to buy these as far away from the roads as possible.


This is super cool, I was born and raised on the Island of Cyprus and we also have this delicacy called Soutzoukos. Had to check it out on wikipedia and apparently it's from what we today call Georgia. You learn something every day. Cool how local delicacies travel and are local in many places. I will have to get some and try.
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MyO the HedgeFox
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jaffawahha wrote:
Wow, thanks for an amazing reply. I will take your tips with me. We are a group of 3-4 people so we will consider if we will look for a student guide.

Oh! Then it’s much better. I assumed you were going to travel alone. Still, same tips.

Good delicacies are good everywhere, and that one is no exception. =) Other than that – look around and experiment! Popular food usually means good food.

Oh, and if you can take some tea with you back on the plane – do grab some tea. There are some amazing tea shops in Russia. And find a place where you can participate in a tea ceremony – that thing’s pretty big in Moscow, and it’s a pretty refreshing experience that will take your mind off the daily rush.
 
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