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Autumn in Beautiful Moscow

Hello dear friends! I hope all is well with you in this wide and wonderful world. today I will talk about Autumn in Moscow.

When some think of autumn, they think of crisp bright days and changing leaves. I love the change of seasons, but when I think of autumn, I think of ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre in the beautiful city of Moscow.

One of the most photographed Cathedrals – St Basils in Red Square

Moscow is massive! It has 13.2 Million citizens within the city limits and the surrounding areas increase that number to 17 Million. It is, by far, the largest city in Europe. Its massive size means Moscow has something for everyone. Moscow started as a small settlement about 1100 AD and there is no historical reference to the village prior to 1147 AD. Since that time, however, is has become the largest and one of the most important metropolises in Europe.

The spiritual heart of the city is in Red Square, a beautiful and important public space dominated by the Kremlin, the fortified palace which is the seat of government of the Russian Federation. Red Square is a great place for you to begin your exploration of this famous city.

Here’s a pro-tip: Reaching Red Square is simple from anywhere in Moscow because of the excellent underground subway system. Each of the underground stations is beautiful with grand architecture built on an epic scale. Spend time studying the structures and artworks in these functional monuments.

There are so many cool sights to see in and around Red Square. Of course, the Kremlin is an imposing and grand site right on the square. Just in front of the Kremlin in the centre of the square is Lenin’s Mausoleum. I find it a bit macabre but there is always a queue to see the embalmed body of the first leader of the Soviet Union. Directly across the square from Lenin’s tomb is the GUM shopping centre. Once a monument to Soviet-made goods, it is now a high-fashion mall with the most expensive goods that Capitalism has envisioned!

Artwork in the domes of the Kazan Cathedral

At the east end of Red Square is the iconic Saint Basil’s Cathedral. This beautiful and colourful church with its onion-shaped domes is a must-see. It is directly opposite the State Historical Museum with its impressive collection of artefacts that explain the heritage of Russia. To the north of Museum is the Kazan Cathedral and this is the entrance to the redeveloped area on the north side of GUM that houses impressive art galleries, cool cafes and pedestrian walkways.

There is more to Moscow than Red Square, however. The city is full of interesting sites, beautiful parks and public spaces. One fun and nostalgic point of interest is Stalin’s Bunker in the Izmaylovo district right underneath the Stadium. Guides will tell you that Stalin never actually used the bunker even though  it was finished just prior to his death. It is a cool monument to Cold War paranoia and classic Soviet propaganda. Historic Gorky Park is a beautiful place to visit during any season and the Modern Art Museum in the park is world-class.

nightlife

Nightfall in Gorky Park

A night at the Bolshoi Theatre

If you are able to buy difficult to acquire tickets, I highly recommend attending the incredible Bolshoi Ballet in its newly renovated theatre. The show is breath-taking in its grace and beauty regardless of the ballet being staged. The acoustics in the theatre are magnificent and there is not a bad seat in this grand structure.

Here’s another pro-tip: Reaching Moscow requires a bit of preparation. Many countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States and much of Europe require visas to enter Russia. Visas can be arranged by express services and through a pre-paid voucher with a  hotel that you will be using, but it may be quicker if you obtain a visa from the local Russian embassy or consulate near your home.

There are two large international airports serving Moscow. The older one (although nearly constantly under renovation) is Sheremetyevo – A.S. Pushkin International Airport. Aeroflot and many other international airlines use this airport which is quite far north of the city. Domodedovo Moscow Airport is the other international airport which is situated south of the city. It is a bit newer than its sister airport. Note: many international airlines use both airports. It is completely possible that you will arrive at one airport and depart from the other. So, it is very important that you are aware of your departure airport and allow plenty of time to reach it. The train is the easiest way to travel to and from the city from either airport. Street traffic in Moscow can be daunting.

These little ladies come in numbers – The Matryoshka

The underground is excellent for travel within Moscow and there are numerous ride-sharing services. In the ‘old days’ almost every car was a ride-sharing service. All you had to do was hold up Rubles and cars would stop and take you wherever you wanted to go! Russians would cheerfully go out of their way in order to provide you a ride for a small consideration.

All major hotel chains have landmark properties in Moscow. My favourites include the Ritz-Carlton which is conveniently located close to Red Square and the Savoy Hotel with its historical grandeur. There are less expensive properties, however, including several owned by Marriott. All hotels offer a high level of service and guest relations personnel speak excellent English and can address any matters that you require.

When in Russia drink VODKA!

Moscow is also a culinary destination. There are fabulous restaurants offering from lavish to simple fare to address the dietary requirements of the most discerning traveller. I love to have champagne, caviar and smoked sturgeon fillets at Bosco Café in GUM on warm afternoons. It is a bit extravagant but a real treat! For upscale Russian specialties, I really enjoy Café Pushkin right off Pushkin Square. Wherever you eat, you’ll find distinctly Russian flavours mixed with fresh produce, meats and fish.

If you want to visit Moscow, bundle up and visit soon. It is one of the world’s coolest cities!

Love,

Isabella

 

Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: So much to see in Moscow, I suggest starting in Red Square: Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Saint Basils Cathedral, State Historical Museum, Kazan Cathedral, Gorky Park & Modern Art Museum to name but a few highlights (https://eng.russia.travel/moskva/)

Where to stay: Ritz Carlton, Savoy Hotel or the Marriot chain has many locations for a good stay (https://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/europe/moscow, https://eng.savoy.ru/, https://www.marriott.co.uk/search/findHotels.mi)  

Where to party: There are many clubs in Moscow for all party goers or you can try The Time Out bar at the very top of the Pekin Hotel which was formerly the building owned by the KGB (https://www.myguidemoscow.com/nightlife/time-out-bar)

Where to eat: Bosco Café in GUM and Café Pushkin are two of my favourites. (https://cafe-pushkin.ru/en/, https://boscofamily.ru/en/brands/bosco-cafe.html)

What to buy: Matryoshka Dolls, Caviar, Vodka & Ushanka Hats

Stop Russian around – take your time!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: So much to see in Moscow, I suggest starting in Red Square: Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Saint Basils Cathedral, State Historical Museum, Kazan Cathedral, Gorky Park & Modern Art Museum to name but a few highlights (https://eng.russia.travel/moskva/)

Where to stay: Ritz Carlton, Savoy Hotel or the Marriot chain has many locations for a good stay (https://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/europe/moscow, https://eng.savoy.ru/, https://www.marriott.co.uk/search/findHotels.mi)  

Where to party: There are many clubs in Moscow for all party goers or you can try The Time Out bar at the very top of the Pekin Hotel which was formerly the building owned by the KGB (https://www.myguidemoscow.com/nightlife/time-out-bar)

Where to eat: Bosco Café in GUM and Café Pushkin are two of my favourites. (https://cafe-pushkin.ru/en/, https://boscofamily.ru/en/brands/bosco-cafe.html)

What to buy: Matryoshka Dolls, Caviar, Vodka & Ushanka Hats

Stop Russian around – take your time!

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