A Stop in Russia on the Way to Germany

What a wild past few days! I have done so much this past week in Germany, and I have so much to tell you about everything I’ve done. But one of the biggest adventures I had this week was just getting to Germany in the first place. That is exactly what I am going to be writing about today.

My ticket for my first flight from Los Angeles to Moscow.

When I got to LAX, all I had in my mind was excitement. I was nervous of course because of the unknown, but the nervousness was not even bothering me at the time.

I got through security and waited for my first flight to Moscow, realizing these moments in the airport were my last moments in America for about a year. Even though I realized the significance of that, I was busy exchanging currency and making last-minute plans for my day trip to Moscow, which was coming up very soon.

We boarded the plane and soon we took off to Europe. The flight from Los Angeles to Moscow was 11 hours, 40 minutes long (one of the longer flights I’ve taken, but not the longest!). The plane itself was nice and the staff was friendly, not to mention the airplane food was surprisingly good.  Before I knew it, we were approaching Moscow and the plane landed at SVO airport in Russia.

Moscow. Me in Red Square, behind me is Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

After landing in Russia I got off the plane and started making my way to downtown Moscow. Customs in the airport was hella confusing; nobody really spoke English and the officer said nothing to me while stamping the visa in my passport. I got on the Aeroexpress train that takes you to Moscow, and once I was off of the train I had to take the actual Moscow metro. The metro, by the way, had some of the most beautiful stations I have ever seen (unfortunately I did not take pictures).

I was lost for about 20 minutes figuring out where I was in the city (no signs had English on them whatsoever) but I found my hostel and was able to check in.

Once I settled in, I went to go see the sight that made me want to go to Moscow in the first place: Red Square. Luckily the hostel I was staying at was only a ten minute walk to the famous square, and so it was easy figuring out where to go.

When I got there the first thing I noticed was how many tourists were at the square — it was super packed! The square itself is smaller than I thought it would be; TV makes it look way bigger than it actually is. But the buildings were remarkable, with so much detail and so much history in this tiny square in Russia. I was having the time of my life here, really taking in where I was and what I was about to do for the whole year abroad.

In front is Saint Basil’s Cathedral, to the right with the clock tower is the Kremlin in Red Square.

After visiting Red Square I went to get dinner near my hostel, and I found some fantastic dumplings and beer for under $5. I was extremely tired after dinner, and hoped I could get some rest so I could be at the airport in the morning. Luckily, I was able to get two hours of sleep that night (at that point the only time I’d slept since being in the States) and made it on time for my flight to Germany.

Now that I am here in Germany I absolutely love being here; it’s everything I’ve ever imagined it to be and more. I cannot wait to share more memories during my epic year in Germany. But until then, auf wiedersehen!

Brandon Einstoss is an applied mathematics and German junior. He is studying in Tubingen, Germany for a full academic year.

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