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ExploRussia Guides about FIFA 2018

a stadium full of people

FIFA World Cup 2018 is over. Almost a month is left from the final whistle of the game Croatia vs France and all the foreign football fans, tourists flew back to their countries back to their everyday routine. It seems that the question “What are your impressions about the FIFA World Cup in Russia?” is the one that was on the top during the Cup and after it. FIFA president Gianni Infantino stated the World Cup in Russia has been the best World Cup so far. Just in short – the best one.

So while all media discuss What will be Russia’s World Cup legacy? According to The Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Arkady Dvorkovich, the World Cup will certainly boost the development of the tourism industry in Russia. To be honest, we are all standing up for it, for now, ExploRussia’s legacy is the stories of our tourists that will stay with us forever. As we aim at presenting the positive image of our country to the rest of the world we are now sure that our tourists are those who will Improve Image of Russia abroad to be major legacy of World Cup 2018 because they are still impressed and thank us and write reviews about their trips to Russia and some even started to plan their trips for the rest of the year.

For ExploRussia guides it was an unforgettable time of mutual love full of interaction and interesting stories. Our guides were those lucky who spent much time with the tourists during the Cup and it is no wonder that they have plenty of stories from the city tours they would like to share with you.

Russian FAN FIFA 2018

Reilya, local guide in Moscow about her guests loving Russian cuisine and having great family time:


a group of people posing for the camera

World Cup was an unforgettable opportunity to meet new and interesting people from all over the world. The most outstanding were funny sisters Emma & Laura from Australia. They spent a whole month in Russia, visited all Australian games. In the photo, they try red caviar and they liked it!


a man holding a wii remote

Christian and Christina, a beautiful couple, he is Danish, she is American but they live in Berlin, they told me that they became fans of Russian cuisine.

a group of people posing for the camera


What is nice is that for some this championship was not only about football but also about family trip, e.g. this awesome family from Mexico did there best to travel to Russia all together.

Maria, local guide in Moscow about her guests loving cool artistic districts of the capital and admiring beauty and efficiency of Moscow metro:

What I like about being a guide is that I can not only share my knowledge about my motherland but also learn some amazing things thanks to interaction with foreign guests. World Cup was that period when all my tourists impressed me so much and I always felt pity that the tour time was coming to an end so quickly.

a person standing in front of a store


Estella is an English teacher from NY, teaches in an elementary school. She is very nice and educated lady. She had a vacation and only a couple of days in Moscow. A very difficult route, then she travelled to St.Petersburg and Eastern Europe. She was not that much a football fan but got a chance to visit Russia during this event. She is interested in history, art, culture. On a Made in Moscow Tour, where we show modern districts of Moscow with young designers spots, she said that our art clusters reminded her of the New York ones. She is fond of collecting earrings, so her collection has been joined by two more pairs from the local designers. She bought a cup in the shop Naivno.Ochen’ with a quote from Exupery and his fox. Since this is a project when all the stuff is made by autistic artists, she told me about her teaching experience as she has such pupils in her class. She liked our small bohemian centers of modern art. On a food tour, she was brave to eat Salo, (cured pork fat) and she even told that she had tried it before and liked it. And what is more, she even visited Opera “Boris Godunov” in the Bolshoi theatre. I wish all the teachers could travel like Estella!

a group of people sitting at a table posing for the camera



Ash Elashy from Canada, Toronto came to Moscow for a week, first, he started to explore Moscow from our Moscow Metro Tour. Being an engineer he was interested in the details of the construction, he was impressed by the mosaics and the rich decor of the stations. What he said: “Toronto underground sucks. From now on I’ll travel there only with my eyes closed. ” He was so generous: after the Metro tour, when we had a lunch at the cafe, he also bought pies for me and his Airbnb apartment owner. On a Maid in Moscow Tour, he bought chocolate based on carob, I also got a bar. For his daughters (there are three, three sisters, as by Chekhov) he chose three identical sets of earrings – one crescent-shaped, another in the shape of a star – a reference to the Turkish roots. Such a romantic caring dad. Two daughters are members of the Olympic team in rhythmic gymnastics. The eldest speaks for Canada, the youngest wished for Turkey (the call of blood). Ash is a man – bundle of energy, I have never met such positive, athletic, sociable, romantic, enterprising and at the same time sensitive man.

Olga, local guide in Moscow about her guests being friendly with Russian fans and admiring Moscow Underground:

All my tourists were unique. I enjoyed the opportunity to welcome new people here, in Moscow! See some interesting stories below.


Chris Green et al. preparing food inside of it

Ash Elashy from Canada, Toronto who was on two tours with Masha also impressed me a lot. He was at that epic game Russia-Spain. When finding out that his tickets were in Russian fans sector and he was wearing Spain jersey he was surprised. He bought beer for all his neighbors with the words: “No matter what is the result, let us be friends”.

During the Food tour he was a keen bargainer, just for fun, bought black and red caviar and bargained for a discount of 1000 Rub, that is 15$. And when trying Daghestanian stuffed pancake (chudu), he immediately asked: “Is it Dagestan?” What struck me on the spot. It turned out that he personally knows the world champion in the UFC – Habib Nurmagomedov and from time to time participates with him in friendly sparringin San Diego! He said he even had a goat cap from Dagestan and has visited the Republic also.



a person sitting on a bench in front of a building


Erin Mee and her daughter Leila from NYC, USA. I was really impressed by them. The daughter visited several games with the father, Erin’s husband who combined the useful with the pleasant. During the Cup, there was his job conference and in the evenings he was a football lover. During the day Erin and Leila explored Moscow and had the Moscow Metro tour with me. They were very admired by the metro. They say that the subway does not work in NY as efficiently as it is in Moscow. Branches that go through poor areas where immigrants live are not served, are not updated. The only reconstruction undergoes for the rich areas, but it is not in demand as the wealthy ones use a taxi. Mom is very well-read, she read Chekhov, knows Lermontov and Mayakovsky. Her friend was translating them into English during the Cold War. She likes theatre and visited the memorial apartment of Stanislavsky.

Olga, co-founder in ExploRussia about their tourists coming back again:

a woman standing in front of a group of people posing for a photo


We know Socorro and Mauricio since 2014 when they decided to come over to celebrate their wedding anniversary to Russia. We organized for them a trip to Moscow, St Petersburg, and some Golden Ring cities. All very customed, very personal, in our best traditions.

Being true Mexicans already in 2014 they told us that if our freshly born company will be still alive (ha-ha) they will come to the FIFA 2018 with us. Well, it was not our plan at all to disappear, but very good motivation to keep rocking! And here they are 4 years after in Moscow sitting in my apartment at the dinner table with the bottle of tequila brought straight away from Mexico city, some chilly vodka straight from our fridge and chatting like good old friends. So many things to share while we didn’t meet. Mau and Coco like already true fans of Russia visited 2 games of the Russian team, chairing for us (of course we see that as a true secret of success of our team :)), enjoyed opening ceremony and games of the Mexican team. Together with that Socorro is always trying to make something in Russia connected with Tchaikovsky, as she is a former violin player. Visiting House of Music in Moscow and seeing his original notes was a great revelation for her. Of course, we agreed on the next visit of our beloved Mexican couple to Russia in several years (and yes we remember to make the return visit to Mexico before that). And to explore some amazing natural sights, like glamping in the Altay Mountains! Already excited 🙂

Tatiana, local guide in Moscow about optimism and multicultural atmosphere on FIFA 2018:

My tourists were the best, I fell in love with every person, because there is no other way around, right? During the championship sometimes I made a quiz about football and Russian football as well, and the winner got a mascot of the Cup – the wolf Zabivaka. They were so happy!

I remember the tourist from Singapore, called Jimmy. It’s not his real name. I’m not sure why everybody called him so, he had another name in passport. Every day he put on a T-shirt of one of the national teams, and each time his team lost. But he conquered me in heart by his optimism and love of life. He decided to make his Russian tour longer for a week more and sent fantastic pictures.


Polina, local guide in Moscow with Russian food stories and with real stories about magic in Moscow:

During the FIFA 2018 I rediscovered myself that Moscow is a fantastic city worth visiting a million times! Happy shining eyes of our tourists are the best reward for me. Here are some curious stories about some of my tourists.

a group of people posing for the camera


I had cute friends Kitty and Peggy from the USA on a food tour. Kitty has a twitter account on behalf of her toy-hedgehog travelling the world. In Russia, he always eats and visits football matches. They tried gooseberry and black currant, wood garlic, caviar for the first time. The atmosphere of the tour was very friendly with them.


a man wearing a costume

One more tourist that I cannot but mention is Sumendra from India. He visited Moscow and Rostov. And visited several football games also. A fabulous story with him has happened during the Moscow Metro tour. The station “Ploshchad Revolyutsii” is decorated with a number of bronze sculptures. Muscovites believe that some of them can bring you luck, money or love depending on what you will rub. The story is that a statue of a woman with a rooster is in charge of finances. Sumendra rubbed the rooster and in an hour there was a phone call about his approved career promotion. That’s amazing! The magical power of Russia in action!

Nikolai, local guide in Moscow about Japanese guest visiting Moscow again after 20 years:

During the FIFA 2018 every tourist expressed their joy and excitement regarding Russia and the World Cup. But the one who impressed me most of all was a Japanese tourist Haru. She supported the Japanese national team. And arrived in Moscow at the beginning of the Cup. It was not her first time in Russia, she got the education in the 90s and it was her last visit. It is not a secret that Russia and Moscow, in particular, have changed a lot. So after Moscow, she travelled a lot, visiting St.Petersburg. After returning to Japan she wrote a message to me that she was going to come back to Russia for the final games because she would like to enter into the spirit once again as she missed those experience.

a group of people posing for the camera


Alexandra, local guide in Moscow about amazing spirit of the FIFA 2018 appreciated by guests:

World Cup was a holiday for everybody, I met so many interesting people and there are some that still stay in touch with me.


a couple of people that are sitting on a sidewalk

Ramon is originally from Mexico but live in the USA now. Just see what he wrote to me one day when he left Moscow and spend the second part of his trip in St.Petersburg:

“The really neat thing about these tournaments is how everyone feels as one for at least a few weeks. Strangers talk to strangers and everybody is all smiles. Thankfully everyone knows at least a few words of English and can at least express their good will. My guess is that at least half of them don’t even care that much about futbol. Ray Hansen (my former boss) used to travel to these tournaments without a single ticket to any match. He knew a good thing when he saw it.”

Valentina, local guide in Moscow about friendly and supportive Peruvian fans:

a group of people standing in a room

For me, the most memorable tourist was Misael. He and his two friends came from Peru to support their national team. Unfortunately, it was not possible to talk properly in such a large group (there were 13 people), but the most striking thing was that he was on crutches. Despite this complexity, he joined the Moscow Metro Tour. He did not worry about escalators, stairs, but I was terrified when it was time to use escalators etc. Not only his two friends but all the other tourists helped him on the way. Nevertheless, for the entire FIFA 2018 period, he was the most attentive, curious and positive tourist. Another interesting detail about them and in general about the fans from Peru that when they saw fans from their country on the opposite side of the street they started to shout and cheer up, which admires me very much. On the Belorusskaya metro station, they gave an interview to one of our TV companies about the metro.

Only Misael spoke good English, and he translated to his friends. Such an awesome friendship I think!


Anna, local guide in Moscow about a mixture of cultures and countries during the championship:

As for me what I liked during FIFA 2018 is that my tours were always a mixture of cultures and countries. People are so different and there was no one “typical” representative of the country. All my vision of the countries changed a lot. E.g. the more I met tourists from Brazil the more I was surprised at how different they are.


a group of people standing in a room

I remember on the Food tour there was Helmut from Germany and Abi from Saudi Arabia. They were so genteel and educated, concerned, asked interesting questions. And I was so happy that ExploRussia and the event made it real to feel how countries unite, people meet together because they have common interests and share their ideas and good vibes.

a group of people walking down a street
One family from Argentina also impressed me so much. It was a family, mother father and their adult son. Those couple showed such a caring gentle attitude to each other. It was a role-model for me.

Again a million thanks to ExploRussia guides and team and to the tourists, and we are waiting for all of the tourists back to Russia. Russia is huge, bigger than you can imagine with never-ending impressions. Watch the video about FIFA 2018 impressions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that allows entering Russia without visas by December 31, 2018, for those who have FAN-IDs of the World Cup 2018. The official information on the site of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Welcome to Russia!