Moscow

Moscow Travel Blog

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Golden Apple Hotel

Arrived in Moscow on July 11th to glorious sunshine.  Walked through the arrival gate to pandamoniam.  Eventually managed to find what appeared to be the taxi rank and got Moscow's answer to Michael Schumacher.  The half hour journey in to the city centre consisted of a lot of revving at traffic lights, driving on the wrong side of the road, reversing up one way streets and a bit of tour guide action along the way too.  Pretty eventful and not for the faint hearted! Pretty relieved to arrive at the hotel in one piece but at least he didn't rip us off - apparantly quite common practice in Moscow!

The 12th was a late start to the day with lunch at Cafe Puskin - I had the best Beef Stroganoff I've ever tasted so worth a visit if you're ever in the city.

St Basil Cathedral in Red Square

Suitably refreshed, Smurf and I thought a walk around would be good to get our bearings...We strolled down a main boulevard to Gorky House, looping round to the Bolshoi theatre before heading back up a main shopping street to the hotel.  The walk took all afternoon so we were in need of a few cocktails before heading out to dinner at Seven Fridays.  Pretty cool, fun place but not as described in our guide book.  It also seemed a reasonably popular choice with the locals, but clearly locals with money because the bill burnt a bit.

Friday the 13th!  Red Square day....We took in the sites of St Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's Mausoleum, the GUM shopping mall, which used to be the city's main ration house, and the walls of the Kremlin.

Guards in Red Square
  Took loads of pictures as one would, but just as we exited our tour of the cathedral, Smurf managed to delete all the them!!! Needless to say, there was a minor strop from me but as the ground we'd covered was small enough to recapture, we set about retracing our steps of the last two days, albeit in haste!!  Not a particularly pleasureable experience, given the so called practical/comfortable lesbo sandals my mother convinced me to buy had by this stage, sliced my feet to within an inch of their life.  To add further insult to injury, the heavens then decided to open pretty spectacularly on our walk back to the hotel...  Needless to say, I was pretty happy once I'd dried off, changed my shoes and had a gin and tonic in hand!

We had dinner that night at an Armenian restaurant.

Inside GUM
  The food was pretty good, but the place was dead, surprising given our guide book had told us it was essential to book.  Either it wasn't a great guide or all the Moscovites had left the city.

We went on a walking tour on Saturday morning which was really interesting.  Our guide showed us the less obvious sites, such as the hospital where Anton Chekhov trained....Did you know he was a doctor by profession, not a writer?  I certainly didn't.  He apparantly was also a pretty decent guy - he ran a free clinic for Moscow's poor and he used his writing to supplement his meagre medical pay.

After getting a explanation of different architecture as we trundled through the back streets, our tour ended at the Moscow Music Conservatory.

Quartet at Cafe Puskin
  We decided to stop at the cafe there for lunch.  It was definitely the place to be as it was the first restaurant we'd seen busy.  The fact that we could hear someone practising the piano only added to the ambiance.

The afternoon took us to the Kremlin where we spent a short time at the Cartier diamond exhibition (not particularly Russian I know! followed by a full tour of the Armoury Collection.  The audio guide is a definite must, if a little long winded, but certainly helps to explain the various artefacts.  The exhibition included some of Catherine the Great's dresses.  My, she was a big lady!!  Definitely wouldn't have wanted to get on the wrong side of her, that's for sure!

We decided to head to Lenin's Mausoleum on our final day (15th).

Outside a scaffolding-covered Bolshoi
  We'd left a bit late and the queue was immense so we paid a guide to jump it - pretty step at $20 but we couldn't risk not getting in. It's a surreal experience to walk past a dead body - he looked kinda waxy so not too dissimiliar to heading to Madam Tussauds but perhaps a bit more sombre in atmosphere!

We went via a fab wildlife photography exhibition in one of the parks on our walk back to the hotel, and then headed to Cafe Puskin (again).  Couldn't resist the Beef Strog again but this time we ate with the accompaniment of a beautiful string quartet.  After buying some supplies for the train from one of the most fabulous shops I've seen, we went back to the hotel to get our transfer to the station to head off on the Trans Sib.

Overall, I wasn't bowled over by Moscow, but I'd like to go again but in winter.  It would be interesting to see the sites in a climate I associate more with the place.  The Russians are not the friendliest race you'll come across but you can get them to smile if you try hard enough.  Finally, make sure you have plenty to spend!  It's a ridiculously expensive city, particularly right in the centre.

 

 

 

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Golden Apple Hotel
Golden Apple Hotel
St Basil Cathedral in Red Square
St Basil Cathedral in Red Square
Guards in Red Square
Guards in Red Square
Inside GUM
Inside GUM
Quartet at Cafe Puskin
Quartet at Cafe Puskin
Outside a scaffolding-covered Bols…
Outside a scaffolding-covered Bol…
Sponge Bob & Shrek in Red Square -…
Sponge Bob & Shrek in Red Square …
GUM shopping mall in Red Square
GUM shopping mall in Red Square
Outside the Moscow Conservatory
Outside the Moscow Conservatory
Enterting the Kremlin
Enterting the Kremlin
Inside the Kremlin
Inside the Kremlin
Lenins Mausleum
Lenin's Mausleum
The fabulous store I cant remembe…
The fabulous store I can't rememb…
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Moscow
photo by: eefab