Russia!

The Moment we landed, and got off the aircraft, walking towards the passport control. We knew we had arrived and waiting for Russia & Russians to welcome us. 
At the passport control, the representative kept scanning the passport and kept looking at me, without my glasses, with my glasses and what seemed to bother him the most, I believe was my Red Yankees cap. It had been fifteen minutes both my parents were now cleared, It was only me from the family that was waiting to be cleared and I guess because it was my first visa on my new passport and that too a Russian, that bothered him way too much,I guess that he couldn’t find anything more suspicious besides my “Red Yankees” that he finally set me free. And that was my “Warm welcome to Russia” 
Moscow is the capital of Russia and is named after the river  Moscow and pronounced Moskva.
The city famous landmark includes the Redsquare -The name Red Square has nothing to do with communism but derives from the word “Krasnyi”, which meant “beautiful”.
St.Basil Cathedral that was made by Ivan the terrible one of the landmark that is recognized as Moscow. The story goes Ivan the Terrible blinded the architecture after he constructed the st. Basil Cathedral. Another interesting fact about the cathedral. It was painted white to match the colour of Kremlin, the word ‘kremlin’ is used to describe a castle or an important Russian fortified complex. But, in 1700 the colours were added. And since 1990 St.Basil Cathedral has been part of Unesco Heritage Site. Moscow’s sightseeing is all around the red square, making it accessible to walk around all the sights. 
The other beauty of this city and country lies deep down underground. “The Underground Metro station” is a sight in itself with the detailing in design to the colours and style of each metro station being different right from the ancient design to the modern design the metro stations are all worth visiting. 
The Escalator lye minimum 150ft deep to 300ft.
The St. Petersburg Admiralteyskaya metro is   2nd deepest in the world.
Russia as a country was even more challenging than Japan, As here they just couldn’t understand English one bit. 
It’s a fact there are around 11 million more women than men.
We used the local “Gett” App Uber for Russia and the drivers too couldn’t understand anything, we had to always stay stationed around hotels like Four season & St.Regis to have our drivers meet us. Else we would have been fleeced and literally being taken for a ride. Traffic in Moscow is so bad that wealthy Russians hire fake ambulances to beat the jams.
St.Petersburg after being in Moscow for the last five days, we travelled to st. Petersburg- Was once named Petrograd  ‘Peters’ city but in 1991 it was renamed to its original German name “Sankt-Peterburg” in English it’s pronounced “Saint Petersburg”, It’s also the  Cultural capital of Russia with a lot of Museum’s. 
 The hermitage museum is one of the world’s largest art museum. Where even if you spend a minute admiring each art piece, you will take eleven years to see the complete collection. 
50 cats are employed in the State Hermitage. To protect the items from rats and mice.
Saint Petersburg will remind you a lot “like Venice” “Budapest” a little like  “Prague” “Germany”  and “ Amsterdam” With the bridges and the water all around The Neva river and Fontanka River. The Kazan Cathedral is best viewed from Dom Knigi “House of Books” Singer Cafe. 
The Midnight cruise from one am to two forty am is the best way to see the city by night, you can see the drawing bridges not one but a couple of them. And enjoy the sunrise at three am.
Interesting Trivia about Russia:
  • It has more time zones (11) than any other country, but only nine are used now.
  • The first railway of Russia appeared in Petersburg
  • Christ the Saviour Construction of the temple lasted for almost 44 years: it was founded in 1839, and consecrated – in 1883. It’s a unique cathedral with a height of 103,5 meters, The temple is visible from any point of the city, its bell ringing was resounded far beyond Moscow. 
  • The Hotel Astoria in St.Petersburg is where Hitler planned to hold a huge celebratory banquet once he’d conquered the city
  • Writer Alexei Tolstoi gave the cellar its name as he and others looked for a cultural refuge in the city, saying “Why are we running around like stray dogs?” And the name stuck.“The idea of the cafe was to establish a place where young creative people, maybe not always well-known, could get together, talk to each other and become inspired to create something.”

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FIFA 2018

The 21st  Edition of the World Cup that began in 1930 had  been full of surprises and Shocks. 

It began with Realising Italy wasn’t part of this edition for the first time in 60 Years  

Then Came the Saudi Arabian side who played their first ever World Cup in the 21st edition since the championship has been taking place. 

And Iceland had became the smallest nation to qualify in this year editions and had the Support of the country people came down to Russia for their Games. 

They did give it a fight,But weren’t really as good as the teams they were grouped with. 

But,This is just the beginning for them. 

From the World class team nations like Brazil– Who were as always expected to qualify from the group stage and Qualified for the Quarters were a complete disappointment.The Country that’s been 5 times Champions Had only one team player they were dependent on – Neymar. 

Argentina captain Messi -Messed up the game

Cristiano Ronaldo proved himself by Scoring Goals,But the Team did not Qualify to the next stage of Semi’s and the Dream of Ronaldo wining the cup must have ended forever. 

Uruguay proved themselves yet again.But France  was Better then them.

Spain was utter disappointment as they seemed overconfident against the host.

Sweden was a pleasant surprise. 

Germany the Champions of 2014 just did not have luck by their side.

With the Top 4 France,Belgium, Croatia and England part of the last stage, It seemed more like a Euro league with not a single South American team qualifying this time.

Croatia seemed like the Best side in the World Cup this time.As since 1998 was  the only time they appeared in the semi’s against France and 20 years later they played England and the 5 times they have qualified they hardly progressed to the next stage.

Belgium since the last edition of the World Cup has only become a better side as this time they qualified for the Semis and had some great come backs in the games which they nearly lost.But unfortunately couldn’t make it to the finals 

It’s was hard to believe the French  hadn’t won a title again until 20 years ago.The last time they came close to victory was in Germany 12 Years ago  and were Runner up’s.

The English Team- A team that’s not won in 52 Years. A team in the last 4 World Cup that  faced challenges to even qualify to the stages closer to the final one. 

This year too,The English team failed to qualify to final and even finished 4th .The wait will Continue. 

The Croatian team had reached the finals and it was hard to believe this side had played for the first time 20 years ago in 1998 when we saw them play and  they had finished 3rd In the competition.Now 20 years later they played the team they lost to in the semifinal of 1998 FIFA World Cup and my they were unstoppable but they couldn’t really win the World Cup.France was the Best. 

France coach Dider Deschamps is only the Third Man, after Mario Zagallo from Brazil who captained his side to two successive World Cup titles (1958& 1962 ) and 1970 as a coach and Franz Beckenbauer from Germany who won the cup for the team in 1974 &  in 1990  as a coach, to winning the Cup as a captain in 1998 and as a coach for the country in 2018.