"The capital of an amazing and colossal country" Moscow by jorgejuansanchez
Moscow Travel Guide: 4,070 reviews and 9,282 photos
You can get easily a Russian visa contacting the Russian youth hostel organizations by email. In December 2004 I got my Russian visa through one of these associations inside the hotel Asia. They sent me an invitation by fax, then I showed it to the Russian consulate in my city, and after 8 days (you can get it in the same day if you pay more), I got one month tourist visa. Then, upon my arrival in the hotel Asia (they were waiting for me) I paid the visa support fee, around 25 euros, plus 30 euros for a single room that night. They registered my passport in the OVIR (visa registration department for foreigners), and next day I was free to travel during the rest of my visa wherever I wanted in Russia without any hotel reservation or booked tour.
If you arrive in Moscow by plane, do not take a taxi in the Sheremetevo airport, because it is expensive, especially for a foreigner. Better board a minibus, which costs less than 1 euro, until the Metro station Rechnoy Voksal, and then buy a ticket for a few roubles to your destination.
The Moscow Metro is the most fantastic and artistic in the whole world. Pay special attention to the stations Ploshad Revoliutsii (my favourite), Komsomolskaya, Kievskaya, Mayakovskaya and Novokusnietskaya.
Moscow, with a population over 10 million souls, is a very expensive town. But you can still eat for little, and not only in the Mc Donalds. Check the “stolovaya” or restaurants were the Russians themselves go for business lunch from 4 to 6 euros. Most of the inhabitants of Moscow have a very low salary compared with Western Europe, and they survive.
If you are Spanish, then you should visit the Spanish centre, in the Red Cross building, in front of the metro station Kuznetski Most. They can give you advice. The people in charge are the “children” who were sent to Soviet Union during the Spanish civil war. Now, the survivors, about 300, are very old, but they still keep the Spanish language and traditions, and their granddaughters dance flamenco. They will appreciate your visit.
Pushkin square is a good place to make purchases. In the shop Armenia, just in the corner of that square, you can buy good Georgian wine and Armenian delicatessen. Have a look at the beautiful shop called Yelisey, in the Tverkaya ulitsa (street), which looks like a palace.
If you visit the Kremlin complex (UNESCO monument), the Saint Basil temple in the Red Square, the Novodevichi monastery (with lots of old icons), the pedestrian street Arbat (with many souvenirs shops), the museum Pushkin and Tretyakov gallery, then you can proudly say that you know Moscow better than many of their citizens.
Near Moscow, I advise you to spend a few days visiting the Golden Ring cities. Unless you have a lot of time, I suggest you to visit only three, in my opinion the most beautiful: Sergei Posad, Vladimir and Souzdal.
Finally, a good internet café where you can spend the night while on line, is the one inside the Detski Mir store, near Kuznetski Most metro station, which is open 24 hours a day.
I visited Moscow for the first time in 1981, in Soviet Union times, and the change of guards in the mausoleum of Lenin was a tourist attraction among the many tourists who visited the Red Square, day and night.
I remember that after having dinner in our hotel (I travelled to Moscow with a group of Spanish tourists, since individually was forbidden), we, all the Spanish tourist, took the Metro to watch the change of guard in the Red Square.
The visit to the interior of the Kremlin was made with a local guide speaking your national language (Spanish in my case).
I remember how impressed we were by the circumspect faces of the soldiers and personal inside the Kremlin, and by the formal atmosphere. For us it was a historical journey because during Franco times (he had died a few years earlier, in 1975) visiting Soviet Union was not allowed for the Spaniards.
We found everything most interesting.
In those times the GUM was completely different than these days. It was more authentic, with only Russian products and souvenirs, while today all the European companies are represented. It was much better in the Soviet Union times.
Young people in the Red Square proposed to the foreigners (they were very clever and they identified the tourists very easy by the clothes or photo cameras) to change US Dollars giving you a much higher exchange rate than in the banks. They also were interested in buying trousers jeans and other objects from the Western world.
I have been in Moscow in recent years, but I have not returned to visit the interior of the Kremlin. I do not want to change (spoil) my first feelings.
New Jerusalem is not far from Moscow. You have to take an elektrichki, or local train to Istra, and ask for New Jerusalem. Then walk one kilometer or so and you will discover an amazing monastery. Entrance is free, but the museums inside are paying. Patriarch Nikon is buried there.
I travelled for the first time to Sergiev Posad in the year 1985, in Soviet times, when the town was called as Zagorsk. We reached there after one hour or so by bus of the company Intourist.
In those times you had to travel with a local guide (speaking Spanish), as was my case together with a group of Spanish tourists. Zagorsk was part of a facultative excursion. Not all the tourists of my group joined because it was not cheap.
I loved the monastery Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius even from the outside. Behind the walls I could see the characteristic Russian churches domes with different shining colors.
The bus waited outside of the monastery within the same city of Zagorsk, and then we entered the monastery. Our guide, Tatiana, gave us a lot of information regarding that holy place and came with us all the time explaining the history of the place and the meaning of the frescoes. She told us about the tomb of the Czar Boris Godunov in the monastery premises, and showed us the icons of the famous artists and saint Andrei Rubliov.
The whole excursion to that magnificent monastery was a wonder, a real treasure.
Lunch was included in a restaurant in the city, not far from the monastery, where we went after the visit. And then we were sent to a Beryoska, or souvenirs shop for tourists, where they did not accept Russian rubles, but US Dollars. Some of the Spanish tourists bought matryoshkas, or Russian dolls.
Those who decided to go were much exulted for that visit. When we explained the visit to the companions of our group that had not joined, they regretted their decision it very much.
- Pros:from Moscow you can travel to discover a fantastic country
- Cons:is becoming dangerous
- In a nutshell:do not waste too much time in Moscow and go East
The first time that I visited the Novodevichi Monastir (Nuns Convent) was in the year 1981, in USSR times, together with... more travel advice
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