This room is in high demand and is quickly snatched up. At any given time the probability it is available is 10%. Still, those who are motivated may try. Metro Vodny Stadion, 5th floor, no elevator. Feedback has always been positive but I think it has more with Alla’s charms that with the room itself. The rate is from $25/night to $500/month plus utilities but check with her. Below is a slightly edited old description. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy to me to email@example.com. Again, the text below is from years ago, with later comments.
Room/bed/floor space in a real communal apartment (“kommunalka”) for the authenticity and history enthusiasts. For those nostalgic for the Soviet era. Only a $35 contribution to the upkeep of the household gets you into what many think as the essence of the Soviet lifestyle. Right by Metro Vodny Station, real easy access to the Sheremetyevo airport, lots of cheap shopping nearby. 30 min. Metro Ride to Teatralnaya (Red Square). Helpful and friendly hosts.
Those new to the “kommunalka” concept, viewed by many as the essence of the Soviet lifestyle, are invited to check out these Essays on communal lifestyle [Nov 14 ’12 – site gone] by Ilia Utekhin from St. Petersburg.
Part of your undiluted real-life experience will be “hospitality” by Babushka Zhanna. Alla and Sophie will do their best to protect you but do expect to be subjected to a certain amount of force-feeding. (I was explicitly asked not to use the expression “Russian food torture” in connection with Babuskka Zhanna. Let’s call it “enhanced hospitality”, by analogy with “enhanced interrogation”. [Nov. 14 ’12 – Babushka Zhanna and Alla are moving to my apartment starting Jan. 9 2012. The enhanced hospitality drama will be happening there till at least end of May. The rooms described here will still be available although without Alla being around.]
At the very least you’ll get a mattress on the floor. During holidays one whole room may be available. Sometimes even both! [Nov. 14 ’12 – Now it is more orderly and official. One room per person or couple. No more hippy style hangout.]
Sophie will give you an extended tour around the neighbourhood and will act as your guide around Moscow. In exchange you help her to get really talking in English. [Still valid and she got to be pretty good at it. Recently he had overcome some kind of a barrier and allowed me to be present when she was speaking with my clients.]
Speaking of the neighbourhood, here are some of the things you’ll find within walking distance:
- two beaches (10-20 min. walk)
- nature reserve (30 min.)
- yacht club
- North River Port from which most boat cruises start
- Sea Museum
- [add more places worth visiting]
Sophie and Alla are avid campers, travellers, cyclists, canoeists, roller skaters. They can loan their equipment to you if, of course, you’ll treat it with care. They are in the habit of visiting song and music festivals, or other “alternative” cultural events, and you are welcomed to join them. [Bikes and canoes are likely to move closer to the center of Moscow.]
The neighbours are of course a major part of the communal living experience. Not “community”, which consists of people who share certain values and lifestyle, but a “commune”, where you are together just because. Let me introduce the neighbours. The old man is a harmless alcoholic who will, when drunk, probably insist, in a somewhat obnoxious manner, on talking to you. [Nov. 14 ’12 – Sorry to day he passed away.] His wife, however, a person of the Stalin-era formation, and will openly express disappointment that these days she can’t just call the authorities to have you hauled off to the Gulag as a spy. Given the current political and social trend, she may have her wishes come true before she leaves this mortal coil but for the moment you need really be somebody to be of concern to the KGB or whatever its successor agency is called. And somebodies don’t rent $35 rooms in this world’s fourth most expensive city.. Where was I? Yes, the authenticity factor. While discomforting for many, this living situation may be of interest to travellers who want some “real life” exposure. Just like in old Soviet movies..
This offer is new and availability is thus high. [Nov. 14 ’12 – The offer is old and availability low but if you are hot about it write to Alla.] Send enquiries to me and either I will answer your questions and help you make arrangements.
This is Alla. Behind her I think is one of her guests whom she dragged out to do some canoeing. Note western influence in the form of safety jackets and helmets. Except on Alla, who is a dedicated fatalist.
To make instant friends with Alla/Sophie bring
GOOD USED BOOKS, HARD COVER, WILL BE GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED. THEIR FAVOURITE READING: AGATHA KRISTIE, HARRY POTTER, LORD OF THE RINGS.
Sophie and Alla will act as your guides and assist you with any other matters in Moscow.
Presenting your hosts:
Sophie, 13, is a 7 grade student. She speaks German and English. Her hobbies include dances. American classsics and modern literature are her favourite reading.
Her mother Alla could also use some English conversation practice. Alla is a lawyer with specialization in ecological legislation. She can answer a lot of questions related to Russian laws, or will recommend a lawyer who has the expertise you require. She is also well-connected and is a good person to talk to if you are thinking of doing any work in Russia. Apart from Moscow, her geographical area of expertise are Lipetsk and Kamchatka. Russian bride seekers: Alla knows lots of single women and can introduce you to them. Later, as a lawyer, she may be able to help you with your divorce.
[A few apartment photos]
[A few photos of the neighbourhood]
[A photo of the beach]
[Toilet with two seats]
[North River Port]
[view from the window]
An good apartment is also available for rent in the very center of
Lipetsk, on the main town square! [See www.staritsa.info/lipetsk.htm.]
Want to go to KAMCHATKA?