IAS student Marisa Petrich spent two weeks in Moscow with a group of student journalists.

Moscow—I started out my first morning in Moscow navigating the subway system at rush hour. Sometimes it’s disappointing to spend so much time traveling underneath a city, but the Metro stations are a sight worth seeing all on their own.

Like the rest of the city, they’re showing their age—but in spite of being worn around the edges, the stations are incredible. Each station is decorated with Soviet-era statues or mosaics, decorative moldings, even the occasional bust of Pushkin (if you leave Moscow without being able to recognize Pushkin, you’ve done something wrong).

I scurried from train to train, at once trying to take in the bronze statues of revolutionaries in Red Square and the chandeliers centered with glowing red stars, while simultaneously trying to keep up with the group.

It’s enough to distract anyone, but watch out. The Metro cars are just as old as the stations, and if you’re not paying attention you might lose an arm as the doors snap shut behind you.

When our group of visiting Americans got to our newsroom at Moscow State University (the Faculty of Journalism there is more or less across the street from the Kremlin) we were welcomed with a lunch of “blinis” (think crepes) with sour cream and caviar, home-grown apples, and juice.

I’d never had caviar—and to be honest I’m not sure I ever will again. Let’s just say I finished the first fish-egg-covered “blini” and stuck with condensed milk as a topping for the rest of the day.

In the end, though, it doesn’t matter how long it took me to get the intensely salty, fishy flavor out of my mouth. Our lunch was a perfect introduction to Russia—because why travel if you’re not going to try anything new?

Learn more about Marisa’s travels in Russia

Read all of Marisa’s Postcards dispatches.

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