Moscow - Part 2 - Orlando / Florida Guide
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When to go can be a hard decision to make and will depend a lot on if you want to see any special events. Despite its freezing winters, you will find that you can get city breaks year round to Moscow. Temperatures often fall below zero ºC between Nov and Feb and this is also when snow and rain is common. In summer you tend to see temperatures in the low 20s, though it can be more crowded at this time. Autumn which is September and October is a good time to visit. That’s because it is getting colder, there are fewer tourists and the city is tinged with gold by the turning trees. The easiest way of getting there is by flying. British Airways offer direct flights from Heathrow, and Aeroflot has now launched daily non-stop services from Gatwick. You will find that many of the city breaks use these flights. There are flights from regional UK airports are available but these are normally indirect. Once there the easiest and cheapest way to get about is by Metro. You can either pay 50p for a single-trip ticket or buy a Unified (Yediniy) pass, which costs around £4 and is valid for 24 hours across the entire Metro and all buses, trolleybuses and trams. A bonus to using the Metro is seeing all the stations which are not only different but almost like palaces. I will mention more later, but just riding the Metro is a tour all of its own.
Hotels in Moscow can be expensive, which is where city breaks can help. If you want a great location on the Moscow River, just ten minutes’ walk to the main sites and with views of Red Square, try the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski. It has doubles from around £180 per night. If you want a more quirky, budget option and are not claustrophobic try Anti Hostel. This is a Japanese style capsule hotel with pods from £10 per person. Eating in Moscow is a whole set of articles on its own. So I will just say for a treat any time of the day, as its open 24 hours, go to Café Pushkin. This is an experience in itself. Be sure to try the blinis which are Russian pancakes and pelmenis which are dumplings. This is all washed down with kvas, a fizzy soft drink made by fermenting Russian black bread.
It really takes three days to get a true feel for the city so I have broken the rest of this down into things that will fit into that time frame.
Day one you need to spend in the centre and you can’t visit Moscow without seeing the famous Red Square. Head there early, before the coaches arrive, to check out the double arched Resurrection Gate, which was rebuilt in the ’90s after Stalin ordered the 17th century original destroyed to allow tanks inside this old market square. If Russian leaders are your thing, spare some time to see Lenin’s Mausoleum, a black-and-red pyramid structure where the Communist leader lies in state. Head next to The Kremlin, having pre-booked tickets earlier for about £5. Then explore the cathedral square complex behind the 2km long red walls, where gilded interiors rival the gold turrets seen externally. If you want a temporary reprieve from church and state, then pay a visit to the famous GUM, this is the Russian Revival style shopping centre. It has ornate columns and wrought iron rails, it sits on the site of the square’s old market stalls and is worth visiting for its ice cream alone. After leaving these bourgeois treats behind plan for a trip to the iconic St Basil’s Cathedral, the brightly coloured, onion-domed building was completed in 1560. Then finish the day with a stroll in Alexander Gardens before heading back to get refreshed for tomorrow.
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