Meet our local guide: Tanya
On how she became a tour guide
At the age of 12, I realized that I want to travel. It immediately brought me to the idea of becoming a journalist. Getting a degree in journalism made me realize that I won’t travel much and may end up writing the same news all over again. I took some time to realize what I’m the most passionate in life. I had experienced different things and had various jobs before coming to the answer – cultures and traveling! Once I tried tour guiding I felt that’s the job that makes me happy and gives energy, and makes me always work on self-development. Three years later I’m still here!
On growing up in Moscow
Moscow has changed a lot. I’m proud to have been born in the USSR. It’s not that I am a huge fan of communism, but I had a chance to see completely different countries and regimes. The nineties were a big mess. Nowadays some people romanticize that time, especially millennials who haven’t lived in that era. For instance, one of the famous designers Gosha Rubchinskiy brings back the spirits from the 90s. I really like to observe this phenomenon, to see how fast things change in Moscow.
On what makes Tanya be proud of Moscow
Moscow is a huge city with a lot of opportunities. In Russia, it is literally the center of everything. The population is officially 12 million people. The best of the best come to live in this city and you need to work hard to survive here. Some of the most interesting and intellectual people I met in Moscow were originally from other Russian cities. Like my dad, he came from a small town with a population of around 60 thousand people. He made it and he is always proud of that. Sometimes he says ‘How can you do or say this, you are from Moscow”. It means that being from Moscow brings a certain standard.
I believe that some of the things we have are the best in the world, like the Russian ballet, or Russian figure skaters. Moscow has a difficult but still very fascinating history. But more importantly, I’m proud of Moscovites (although not of all of them) They went through a lot in the last 70 years. In Russia, Russian women are famous for being very strong personalities, that’s a true landmark of Russia. Unfortunately, in most of the other countries, we are more famous for our looks. I guess a visit to Moscow can break this stereotype!
On what you should eat and drink in Moscow
My number one thing these days is the sea-buckthorn tea. To me, it is just the perfect combination of sweet and sour flavors. If you want to know what Russians drank before they got addicted to vodka try Medovukha, which is a Slavic honey-based beer, or beer-like lemonade kvass. Moscow can surprise with delicious sweets. We have great chocolate factories that were established before the revolution, like Red October or Babaevskij. My personal guilty pleasure is zefir (fruit and berry purée) by the company Sharmel. If not for my healthy diet, I would eat it every day! Another food I’m addicted to is Russian pies. They are good as a main course or as a dessert!
On a unique place that Tanya recommends
One of the most beautiful buildings outside the historical city center is the state library named after a great Russian writer Aleksandr Pushkin. The library existed since the end of the 19th century and this year it will celebrate 120 years! It’s just difficult to pass by this mansion without noticing how stunning it is. In Moscow, it’s almost impossible to enter a historical building like that, but luckily this one is even free of charge. The interior reminds me of a 19th-century mansion and the atmosphere is the same as it was several decades ago. I’m one of those dinosaurs who still visit libraries and even participates in their activities. That’s one of the best places you can go to if you’re looking for a quiet and cozy place. Plus, it’s just a 10 minutes drive from my apartment. For more places to visit and things to do in Moscow, read this post.