So when the cat’s away, where does the mouse play? Somewhere that never sleeps? Answer….Moscow!

I went with Olga and JK to experience Russias 7th Jet Expo held at Vnokovo 3 the VIP Private Jet Airport for a few days to see some of our favourite private jet operators, visit the static display, see whats new in the aviation market and generally get invited to the best after parties in town.

With more than 100 exhibiting companies to visit and 50 business aircraft to view, we had our work cut out.  Several aircraft were making debut appearances in Russia, including Bombardier’s new Global 6000, stylish and beautiful, and an Airbus ACJ319 with an exclusive interior designed by Alberto Pinto which quite simply was stunningly elegant. Thanks for showing us Andy, how exciting to use this aircraft for our very special clients.

FYI, The most popular aircraft types in Russia today are the Embraer Legacy 600, Bombardier’s Challenger 300 and the Challenger 604/605.

The first evening event was held by Pioneer a luxury lifestyle magazine for the VIP set.

We were invited along, so obviously Olga and I got our glad rags on enjoyed the party, and I have to say the Hennesy cocktails slipped down a treat and were quite delicious!

Thursday was more of the same at the exhibition with an end of day party thrown by Altitudes Magazine a fantastic resource for both aviation enthusiasts and the business aviation industry. The party was planned to start at the Lotte Hotel kick off at 7.30pm.  Thanks to the ‘traffic situation’ in Moscow (think London on the busiest day ever in your life) we arrived at Kalina a gourmet restaurant on the 21st floor nearer 9.30pm.  (Here is a pic of Kalina before the party kicked off) a sea of calm tranquility…believe me it didn’t look like that when the party started…and even less like that when the party finished).

Lotte Hotel is a fairly new hotel in Moscow situated at the intersection of New Arbat Avenue and Novinsky Boulevard. The hotel is the first oversea project of South Korean “Lotte Hotels & Resorts” hotel chain.  It incorporates a designer brand shopping centre and the fabulous Kalina Restaurant with roof top views of the City.  Needless to say, ‘always the party girl’ I loved it.

After the party we decided to head on to La Cantina a super cosy Mexican bar.

I found this crazy little Mexican bar the last time that Olga and I visited Moscow.  It feels like it’s full even when it’s half-empty. Maybe it’s something to do with the amount of tex-mex clutter that covers the place – flags, old adverts for Corona and sombreros abound.

In addition, the tables get nearer and nearer to each other as the night wears on into party mode. It’s a wonderful combination of live bands and delicious cocktails, (I seriously commend them on their Margarita), combine that with a clock above the bar that ticks backward, it can lead to inebriated confusion… especially with the lovely Lilia our Tequila Shot Girl hovering in attendance at the slightest glance in her direction.

Dangerous!!

But the night was young and we were not far from the famous 02 Sky Bar at the world famous Ritz Carlton Hotel, (obviously had to be tried before the night ended) and who should we find there but our friend Carlo from Ambeo.

Good to see you my friend 🙂 Never drink alone!

The 02 Lounge has a funky interior with a domed glass and steel roof and striking Faberge chairs, but it is the views out across the Red Square and the Kremlin that make this one of the best bars in Moscow.

It is a lively club venue at night. Take my advice and try the Red Square cocktail, a blend of citron vodka, rosemary, raspberry, lime juice, and vanilla syrup. Patsy darling, you can keep your Champagne, this is just absolutely fabulous!  4am saw us all weave our way home so its true what they say…Moscow never sleeps!

Many of our clients who travel from Moscow by private jet, request that their on board catering comes from Pushkin Restaurant, so while in Moscow, we thought we should go sample the cuisine and see what all the fuss is about.

I don’t often feel compelled to take pictures of my food but hey, this was quite special.  Chicken cooked to succulent perfection on a bed of roasted vegetables (with compulsory Russian pickles, still can’t quite get my head around that one) in a perfect pastry platter.  Fab colour combo, beautiful presentation, attentive staff and not really that expensive. Totally get it.

The café, which is really a five-star restaurant, is open 24 hours a day and is situated in a building that was renovated to look exactly like a Russian aristocrat’s home circa 1825. You’ll want to get the blinchiki (Russian pancakes) with black caviar, borscht and pelmeni (dumplings), before moving on to the famous Tsar’s Sturgeon and, of course, one of Pushkin’s many, many desserts.  They treat you like you’re a member of the landed gentry here, and you know what? That feels really good. 🙂

So the show finished on Saturday and it was all good.  Lots of good new contacts, lots of networking and lots of new friends.  That’s what its all about.  PS I love you Andre of Lux Aviation, you are my kinda guy!!

So with free time to go till our flight back Sunday, we became sightseers, and why not?  We went crazy and fitted in so much I don’t know how we even managed.

We went to the Bolshoi Circus on Saturday night.  Now if any of you have ever been to see a sad old circus in England, let me assure you the Russian Circus is absolutely nothing like this. This is Showtime!

We had wild horses galloping at great speed with strapping ripped Muscavite men, spinning, jumping, tumbling under, over and upside down (I literally was holding my breath).  The acrobatic turns, were all Olympic championship contenders, again, all without the aid of a safety net I could hardly breathe in my state of constant edge of my chair apoplexy.  ‘Jesus Olga’ I said ‘can’t you look for me, you Russians must have nerves of steel’ but when I looked at her, she was covering her eyes too!

The stage then turned into an ice rink and we were treated to an incredibly intelligent Sea Lion followed by 4 Polar bears who formed an Orchestra.  A ballet tutu wearing Kangaroo who was hilarious, camels, leopards not to forget the amazing black and white performing dogs…and the grand finale….drum roll please….the ice rink disappeared and became a swimming pool with lily pads and fountains, beautiful flower clad synchronised swimmers, acrobats in frog suits doing crazy flip out stunts and twirling ladies hanging in impossible shapes from somewhere near the top of the tent!  A-ma-zing.  You need to go see it.  This is not just a Circus…this is a Moscow State Circus…the like of which you could not possibly imagine.  Result!

Oh, I forgot to tell you about the Circle of Light Festival.  We headed down to Red Square to see what it was all about.

The second International Circle of Light festival will color Moscow’s embankments, monuments and buildings for five days. The world’s best masters of lasers and light are presenting their skills for all to see. This year, the repertoire features more than 800 different presentations in over 20 different locations.

The main events are being held in and around Russia’s famous Red Square, featuring space-light installations and audio-visual shows (it was crowded, let me assure you, and even a bit spooky and strange to a foreigner)

More than three million people are expected to watch the performances and see the installations this year – that is 10 times more than last year (well I did say it was crowded! Were they all in Red Square?)

Organizers said ‘numerous light shows will make it possible for residents and guests of the Russian capital to get acquainted with state of the art light technology’.  Well I don’t know about that, I just think it made it possible for residents and guests to go out and have a fabulous evening culminating in a massive firework display on 2nd October.  Sorry I wasn’t there for that!

So finally on our last morning, we all went shopping at that fabulous department store that is a bit like the Harrods of Moscow, GUM pronounced GOOM, I’m sure it means something positively lovely when translated! What does it mean Olga?

It’s directly opposite the Mausoleum on the Eastern side of the square and is Moscow’s most famous department store.  It’s the address of choice for top Western retailers.

It is rather lovely, set over three floors and stuffed with haute couture, perfume shops, jewellers that you can’t really even afford to look in and the most wonderful delicatessen store which smells like Bliss! A sort of cheesy, smoked meaty, roasted coffee beany, chocolaty heaven.

I could actually live there and be quite happy for the rest of my life.  I think Olga agrees.  She’s as mental about smoked sausage as I am about stinky cheese!  Well it’s a kind of sisterhood thing that has sprung up between us out of our love of all things deli.

Here’s a picture of it by night just so you get my drift.  Harrods eat your heart out!

 

And finally we did the Kremlin before we left.  Well you’ve got to really haven’t you.  I’m going to post all our Russian trip pics on our Facebook page, because quite honestly I’d be blogging all night.

But we did the Annunciation Cathedral which is pretty amazing, built in 1484.  It was the home church of Moscow Great Princes and later Russian Tsars.   Directly opposite is the Archangel’s Cathedral constructed in 1505 and used as a burial vault for Moscow Great Princes.

Here I am stood by the Tsar Cannon cast in 1586 it’s 5.34 mtrs in length and weighs 40 tons. Pretty awesome! And the huge Tsar Bell cast in 1733 with a height of 6.14 mtrs and a diameter of 6.6 mtrs weighing in 200 tons, it surely has to be the biggest bell ever.  And guess what, it has a big broken piece, I wouldn’t like to have been the one that broke it.

 

But before I left I did make a new best friend….and you know me, I don’t like to name drop…but here is me and my NBF Vladimir, gosh he’s lovely.

Bye Moscow I’m going to miss you.