The word “big” just isn’t big enough to describe Moscow. In fact, very few words accurately describe it’s mass, dimensions and density.
To get an idea of what this opulent empire looks like Elena and I rode an elevator up 86 dizzying stories (ears popping the whole way) to the top of the OKO Tower. The doors opened and a guide ushered us past a restaurant and up another three set of stairs stopping to offer us a heavy parka should the wind prove too much. It was fine.
Amid a complex of several shiny new glass business buildings the OKO building is described as the highest open observation deck in Europe. Elena and I stood awestruck taking in the panoramic views. Elena is a Muscovite, she lives here, so her reaction is proof of the stunning sights.
A network of traffic buckled in every direction; rush hour never ends for a population of 20-million. (The usual external din of noise no longer audible from above and the air smelled fresher too.)
Numerous railroad terminals, trams and metro stations – making up one of the cleanest and busiest transportation systems in the world – crisscrossed the skyline.
A fleet of boats and cruisers crowded with visitors plied back and forth along the embankment of the Moskva River. The green lungs of the city breathed life into the distant garden oasis known as Gordy Park and Zaryadye Park.
Also visible, famous landmarks like the medieval city-fortress known as Red Square as well as a hint of the onion-domed church called Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
In a land of opulence and prosperity, hundreds of glitzy, new high-rises cast shadows over crumbling Stalin-era apartment buildings. (Moscow boasts some of the world’s most expensive real estate.)
We ended our roughly $25 visit with a free cup of ice cream and a short peek inside the restaurant and souvenir shop. The sign on top written in cyrillic says “Only Love is Higher” and is also their hashtag.