Going to Russia was definitely not something that I had on my travel wishlist. It was the introduction from a friend to the Indonesian Ambassador for Russia, Mr. Wahid Supriadi, that first prompted the idea. Following the months towards his new post from Dubai he planned to introduce Indonesia to Russia in a grandeur way. So he decided to hold Festival Indonesia on 20-21 August in Hermitage Garden, a public garden lying on a 6ha of land and is visited by thousands of people on a daily basis. This was around March.

Since then, it was still a go or no go situation though. It was only 2-3 weeks before the event that my friend and I were firm that we were to go.

Excited? You bet I was..!

Watching too many Holywood movies, there was bound to have a bit of curiosity of what this country looks like. On top of that, this trip is sort of a work and leisure thing, so it became double exciting.

We arrived in Russia at 08.10 through Moscow (DME Airport) by Singapore Airlines. As we were going for the festival first on top of any sightseeing, we brought a lot of Balinese handicrafts and spa products that we wanted to present in Russia. After all, the theme of the festival is Bali & Beyond. We were afraid that a lot of our things won’t go through customs as we heard a lot of participants had their products detained in custom, but luckily everything went smoothly. We were able to bring out all of our goods for the festival.

Our first stop from the airport was Red Square as we were not able to check in the hotel yet. On the way there though is quite timely as there was a lot of traffic jams. Apparently, Moscow’s roads is very busy, quite similar to Jakarta, even though the roads were very big, which can go up to 14 lanes. The buildings are also blocks of big buildings.

The Red Square is the central square of Moscow that connects Russia’s major highway. As it is the heart and soul of Moscow, this area was extremely packed with people. I find the buildings and roads in Moscow very massive. Everything is just so extremely big. We caught sight of St Basil Cathedral, an iconic church that was built around 1552 and completed by 1560 by Ivan The Terrible. The architecture of the cathedral is shaped like onions with bright and colorful colors, almost like candy to an eye. It is definitely hard to miss.

Close to the Cathedral there was this shopping complex called GUM, one of the most prestigious shopping centre in Russia. It’s architecture is very grandeur yet classic with steel framework and glass roof. This site has always been used for trading, of which at the 19th century it was the largest shopping center in Europe.

The next day the first Festival Indonesia was held at Hermitage Garden, which was this huge garden in the central area of Moscow. The decoration made by KBRI for the festival made the garden more beautiful and lively. Fery Sunarto, a prominent Indonesian designer showed his designs to the visitors of the garden using the Balinese weaving material, endek. We were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic visitors that came to the festival to enjoy a glimpse of Indonesia. We can’t help to be proud of the initiative made by Mr. Wahid Supriadi and the huge effort that was put in by the KBRI team in Moscow to make the first Indonesian Festival to promote Indonesia successful.