Guide in Moscow
Do you want to know more about your guide in Moscow? Why did we chose this job, what are our favorite places in Moscow? Below are the answers to most popular questions people ask.
Why did you choose to be a tour guide in Moscow?
"It's a sort of calling for me, and pleasure as well."
Oleg (tour guide in Moscow, English speaking)
"I love meeting people. Being an English-speaking guide in Moscow, I meet with Australians, Canadians, British, Americans and many othjer nationalies. It's like traveling and being in Moscow at the same time. Besides, guiding people helps me to learn more about my home city, each time we discover something I didn't know before"
Anna (English speaking guide in Moscow)
"Having a dialogue with tourists, viewing the Russian history and its cultural heritage through their eyes helps me to understand my country better and deeper. The interaction with tourists lets me to look at Russia from another perspective".
(Katerina, English-Speaking guide in Moscow)
"I want to share my love towards my native city with you, dear guests!.. And through this love I intend to let you know more about Moscow and understand it better. That is the reason."
Alena (tour guide in Moscow, English speaking)
What is most difficult about being a guide in Moscow?
"Moscow traffic. You never know how much time it'll take you to get to places. "
.Anna (tour guide in Moscow)
"Things that do not depend on me personally, such as weather, days off, traffic jams, prejudices..."
Alena (English speaking guide in Moscow)
What are your favorite places in Moscow? What are your favorite tours?
"Everything showing us the past; it would be Medieval Moscow (the Kremlin, Novodevichy, Kolomenskoye, etc), cloisters, but the recent past has an air too (Tverskaya, VDNKh, Kudrinskaya Square, and so on).
Oleg (Tour guide in Moscow, English speaking)"
"Moscow parks: Kolomenskoye, Tsaritsino, Kuskovo. I love watching the city from the top of high buildings (like MGU or Ostankino tower). I prefer walking tours - I think this is the best way to feel the city"
Anna (English speaking guide in Moscow)
"One of my favorite places in Moscow is Kolomenskoe. To say that it used to be a summer residence of Russian Tsars is to say nothing. For me it is more than that. The first years of my life passed there. My mum being pregnant used to come for a walk with my dad. He swam over the Moskva river (in those years it was not so dirty) to get some carrots from the kolkhoz fields. That's why I probably stick to this area. I love wandering in the blooming apple tree orchard in late spring and I admire the beauty of centuries- old oak trees in autumn.
In the childhood I was a frequent visitor of the Armoury Chamber since my dad used to work there. I could stare at beautiful carriages, tsars' thrones and outfits for long hours. As any girl I imaged myself wearing a wedding dress of Catherine the Great and heading for the ball in one of the coronation carriage . Nowadays I admire the delicate work of needlewomen, gold and silversmiths, gunsmith and other masters of the Kremlin workshops which existed for many centuries. Every time I feel like I have a trip through the centuries. I see these numerous treasures and draw some pictures of Tsars Court's lifestyle."
Katerina ( English speaking Moscow tour guide)
"There are many - and I presume it's pretty natural if you love your city. Probably most of all I like the down-town, hence my favorite tours are walking ones since it's the best way to feel the air of the city and feel its mood and character."
Alena (guide in Moscow, English speaking)
What are the most common stereotypes and misconceptions about Moscow?
"That we, Russians, are all communists waving flags, we drink vodka and fall under the table with bears, arms around each other, and we think of nothing, but how to destroy the West."
Oleg (English speaking guide in Moscow)
"Everybody says that we Russians do not know how to smile. I think this is not true. Yes, may be we're a bit reserved, but friendly as well. The young generation in Moscow is as smiling as in many Europian countries"
Anna (guide in Moscow, English)
"I presume, you, as tourists, know about the stereotypes much better then the Muscovites themselves, since it's not the Russians who create stereotypes. I guess the most awkward are our much exaggerated drinking habits, absence of good roads and presence of bears in the streets..."
Alena (Moscow tour guide)
Did you have any hilarious situations working as a guide in Moscow?
"Many. Once we undertook the 2-days trip to Yaroslavl & Uglich (the upper Volga-river), everything went excellent, the Volga's views turned to be really stunning, every corner of a church was shrouded with an air of medieval stories, ghosts, shadows of hoary past, but at the end of the tour when we came back to Moscow, my guests delicately noted, that they should have had a tour to Vladimir&Suzdal as it was scheduled, not Yaroslavl and the Volga (I felt my feet cold!), however they asked for my details to see Vladimir next time. And we did it a year later".
Oleg (guide in Moscow, English speaking)
"Many times I had funny language misunderstandings.
Once we were having breakfast in a village restaurant. One of my clients suggested collecting bread from tables to feed dogs (Actually he said /doks/, it was an Irish way to say "ducks", but i didn't know it.) I was surprised. "May be we better offer them some sausage?" The man said he didn't know that Russian "doks" prefer sausage but this is ok. We collected sausage and bacon from our tables and went outside. "So, where're the dogs?" - I asked. "In the pond!". Could you imagine a pack of dogs swimming in the pond waiting for food?
Anna (English speaking tour guide in Moscow)
How do you see your mission as tour guide in Moscow?
"It's my job (and pleasure at the same time); but if I take the guide's mission as a super-task ( following Russian stage director Stanislavsky ), it would be showing the incoming tourists Russia that was unknown to them before, and that is a bit different from the stereotyped one"
Oleg (Moscow tour guide )
"To bring Moscow closer to the souls of our guests."
Alena ( English speaking guide in Moscow)
What is most challenging about being a guide in Moscow?
May be to understand our own history? Below is the article written by one of our Moscow guides, Oleg Popov.
Moscow guide's notes
I'm a guide in Moscow, leading tourists and making tours. I'd like to tell you some more or less typical situation that could happen on guiding grounds. It concerns mostly the past ideology or its stereotypes, and as you all know you can't avoid it. Communism in Russia ended, Russian royal empire of the 19-th cent. is now a history too, though tourists as well as a guide now and then couldn't help but recall it and start arguing… Let me tell you two short stories from my experience as a guide.
One day I happened to bring my guests (from the West) to see monuments of the so-called Communist Period in the park located not far from the centre. They were the sculptures of statesmen who led the country in the 1930-70s (this park is informally called by Muscovites the Cemetery of Statues). The museum is in the open air, and it was a summer sunny day, and we enjoyed walking around, feeling a cool breeze, seeing views and drinking beer, so we got relaxed. On showing Lenin, Stalin and other late politicians I let a few remarks how the history turned sometimes to be dramatic and ruthless. Then I proceeded on talking about the 1930s, with their controversy – the repressions went together with unforgettable enthusiasm in building Socialist society, people witnessed an unbelievable breach in technologies, and also there was a specific air of Stalinist era, etc. A lady from my small group put in a word when I was spreading on that specifics of Stalin.
A challenge question, may I ask you?
I say, I'm sorry, but from your words I felt you have a bit of nostalgia, as if you miss these times, don't you?
Sure I do not, I don't feel like that,- I said hastily,- on the contrary, I think, all that Stalinism was awful, nasty and beyond any possible reason, and never will it be again.
I said what I really thought, but as to the nostalgia she'd been not too far from the truth. I don't mean Stalin of course, but the later period, the 1960-70s. Those who lived under Khrushchev and Brezhnev in the 1970s – they truly felt secure about future (free education and medical aid, steady job, etc); though when Brezhnev was criticized, there were reasons behind it.
Another case took place two weeks later. My guests came also from the West, but they were different people from those whom I led there before. They looked more informal, like old students, with that air of freedom and carelessness that I knew from the early movies with Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, Bridgette Bardeaux, - that style. It was raining, windy, we felt a bit depressed, but that time my guests had to listen to my severe criticism of any of Communist leaders. I went as far as I called the dead men to be fallen idols (the latter terms came from a brochure issued in the 90s). To my amazement, my guests didn't seem happy to hear my comments.
So, we won't see Socialism any longer here in Moscow? - asked my tourist, and I sensed a sadness in his voice.
Nobody wants it to chance again, - I replied, not being too sure.
Sorry to hear that, - he said.
A bit later his wife told me, that her husband belonged to the left movements when he was at the age of 20-30, he had dabbled in socialism and politics, that's why he even got into some trouble… He was sacked, lived not a few years on welfare, then came at some fortune, because his deceased relatives left him money. He got married and was happy, his life stabilized. And now the married couple enjoys a quiet life… However, she added, as her husband wished, they came to Moscow to see the country where socialist ideas were realized or came near to be realized. On listening how the guide in Moscow criticized Socialism to the extent of annihilation, how the ideals of his young years are destroyed this man got frustrated. That's the story…