Our arrival to Moscow
Moscow Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
May 17th, 2009 – by: tirsomaldonado
How did we end up going to Moscow? I got a nice promotion from Iberia and the hotel I booked it using Venere! It is quite difficult to find a decent hotel in Moscow without paying a fortune! And we are just 2 miles away from the Red Square. Although after reading so much about the city, we know that the subway is a whole experience!
The most difficult thing while organizing this trip has been to issue our VISA! In order to get it first you need to get an invitation from your hotel, and that took us for ages! They made so many mistakes that we almost didnĀ“t get our VISA on time.
This plane is so small considering such a long flight, altough our seats are quite spacious. Well folks, I will keep on writting tomorrow, now it is time to sleep!
Woaw! What an intense day! It is been a long time since I felt so disoriented in a new city! By the way, Moscow is the biggest city in Europe, has three airports, nine train stations and since 1935, subway. It is named by the river Moskva, which divides the city in two. Moscow was the Soviet Union capital until 1991, when it became federated.
We arrived to the Domodedovo aiport at 7.00am, and surprisingly, customs were not very strict. As soon as you leave customs, you find a ton of taxi drivers offering their services. We had been recommended to take the Aeroexpress which takes you to the center of the city in 45 minutes for 500 RUB, which is around 12 euros. Once you exit customs you will see signs to get there (one of a few). Anyhow, right where you take the train you also find an oficial taxi counter. We asked how much would had been (2000 RUB which is about 46 euros, which is not bad considering everything that happened to us afterwoods! āŗ ).
It is extremely difficult to find a centric hotel in the city, as they are awfully expensive. For example, Holiday InnĀ“s standard rate, three subway stops away from the city center, is 18.000 RUB (418 euros) per night, although if you call up they can go as low as 9.400 RUB (218 euros). Basically you find very good Hotels or bed&breakfasts, there are no 3 star Hotels.
I booked our bed&breakfast using Venere, not very recommendable after all. The photos published on the web were quite good and the place was very well located. Using Google Earth I calculated that it was 2 miles away from the Red Square. When we arrived to the train station we did not find any signs to take the subway, neither a Tourism Information Office. We tried to ask several people but nobody spoke English and all signs were in Russianā¦ we were totally lost! There were may taxi drivers but they did not look the oficial taxi drivers we found at the airport.
Finally we thought the only way to get to the hotel was by taxi, so we asked some people there. In no time we had 7 taxi drivers asking where we wanted to go. We showed them VenereĀ“s reservation sheet and one of them told us he knew how to get there (at least that was what we understood). We had some trouble finding the place until we finally got there. Bad news! It was a huge building and the door was locked, no signs of our Bed&Breakfast. We waited there for almost 20 minutes until we met this russian guy who spoke Spanish. It seems to be that he had worked for the Russian Embassy in Cuba! He opened up the door for us and we took the elevator to the 7th floor.
We waited outside for almost 30 minutes until a taxi driver stopped where we were. He did not speak any English, so it was quite difficult for us to understand anything he was saying and we had no idea where we had to go. Shit!!! Then he called up someone until he found out where we had to goā¦ how? DonĀ“t even ask meā¦ āŗ We got to the new address but we had no idea where it was located in the map and all street names were in Russian, so our map did not help at all.
We got to Domodedovo aiport at 7am and until 10.30 we did not get to our room! We were exhausted, frustrated and kind of angry! āŗ we took a shower and we left to have breakfast. Right around the corner we found a nice place and everything started to change! There they told us how to get to the closest subway stop (BelorrĆŗskaya), which was 5 minutes away from there.
Around 11.30am we got to our final destination and I must say the first time you see the Red Square you get paralyzed! It is breathtaking! Magnificient, something I did not expect! It is Amazing!!! With its 73.000 square metres is the biggest and most beautiful in Russia. There you find 4 buildings and the KremlinĀ“s walls. When you enter the square the first thing you find is the History Museum, a huge red building and right across the square, on the opposite side, you find Saint Basils Cathedral! The most amazing cathedral I have seen in my entire life.
On the left side of the square you find the biggest and most expensive commercial center I have ever been to. It is full of luxurious stores off all kinds, from Louis Vouiton to Armani. The building was built between 1888 and 1893 right on top of the old market. On the right side of the square you find LeninĀ“s museum and the Kremlin.
We walked around until it was time for lunch. Many people recommended us to go to Puskin CafĆ©, so we did, but it took us 80 minutes to get there! Our lonly planet map was of no use as all streets were in russian.
We had a very long lunch, so by the time we finished was already 5.30pm. I believe there are no standard hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as when we left it was still packed! āŗ After lunch we went back to the Red Square to find out how to get our tickets to Kremlin.
We were very tired so we decided to go back to the hotel. When we got to BelorrĆŗskaya stop, but when we exited the station, nothing looked familiar! Shit! We had no address, no map in Russian and people did not speak any English nor Spanish. We walked around for almost an hour until we found our way to the hotel! It seems to be that there were 3 different exits!
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