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russian visa

When you finally landed in Moscow
December 27, 2010 12:54

Earlier we have written about difficulties of getting Russian visa and necessity of filling migration cards accurately. It is a reminder that your Visitors Visa may take several weeks to arrive, so Russian journey is to be planned ahead. Now we'd like to offer you some simple tips for those who didn't refuse an idea of visiting Russian because of such difficulties and finally came to Moscow, beginning knowing of country from the capital. Book your airline tickets and accommodations, once you have your Visa.

We don't recommend you to travel alone, especially if it is your first time in Russia. You'd better to travel with a friend if you are a seasoned traveller or better join a tour if you aren't. Tour guides will be able to assist you where necessary. Unfortunately, most Russians still do not speak English (or sometimes don't want to), and their alphabet is Cyrillic, looking more like Greek, when Latin. So hire a guide, going for a walk to the city center. The guides are located at the entrance to Red Square and will also take you on tours of the Metro etc. You really will be far safer in their company, their fees are reasonable and are worth every ruble!

Russian service is something difficult to become used to: you may stand in line at the security checkpoint for half an hour to an hour. You will be closely scrutinized. Make eye contact and do not speak unless you are spoken to.

Take a registered taxi in to the city-centre of Moscow from the airport. This is still the only decent means of travel and will cost you from Seventy-five to ninety dollars, possibly more and can take an hour or even two. There is also Aeroexpress, high-speed train connecting airports with city centre. But in this case you will have to take underground, having hewed passage through crowd of Railway station. Unfortunately, traffic problems are growing every year in Moscow and the local public usually goes by metro: the only one mean of transportation, which still lets plan your time. So metro, Moscow underground, is overcrowded and messy. Stay away from illegal taxis which are called bombilas here, with their beat-up Ladas. By the way, they may speak Russian even worse than you.

Reserve a reputable hotel (or flat), down-town in the vicinity of Red Square. Unfortunately, hostel industry is not yet well-developed in Moscow, and it is still better to do like this. Most of what you will want to see will then be within walking distance. It will save your time, money and nerves. The hotel staff and waiters usually speak English, but do not expect the average Russian to. You'll have to cope as best you can. What about eating out, the safest decision for a foreigner is well-known network eateries like MacDonald's, Hard-rock Cafe, etc.

The are not cheap, but less risk. Try the Russian kvass which is very tasty. It is something like beer but almost alcohol free. Do not eat the numerous salads offered at little kiosks and restaurants. Food quality there is doubtful. Of course, you can take a quintessential dining experience if you want to spend your time here like a Muscovite. For example, Kroshka Kartoshka is a chain of potato vendors that line the streets of Moscow, usually just outside your nearest metro station. They have green signs with red letters. Typically, you order your potato (potato is big enough for a whole meal), and they pull it directly from the oven, unwrap the foil, and add butter and cheese. Then, you can choose from an average of 18 more toppings, each costing the equivalent of approximately 50 cents (U.S.). You can choose from, to name (or point at) a few, a mushroom and sour cream concoction, a wonderful goat white cheese which is mixed with dill, ham and cheese, an eggplant and vegetable medley, and a crab salad. Each adds a unique perspective to your dining palate.

Spend 3 or 4 days in Moscow. Stick to the busy streets such as Tverskaya Street, Novy Arbat, Stary Arbat,& Red Square. Don't miss every square inch of Red Square. Peep into GUM, the famous department store forming one its boundary, take picture of St.Basil's Cathedral, the various churches located on-site, visit famous museum which contains spectacular jewels and Russian artefacts. Look around square itself, where the Russians do their courting, take pictures of each other, and Russian brides come to strut their stuff, sometimes dozens at once, like so many white-clad butterflies. Have a look at Russian souvenirs market by entrance at the Red Square. Check out the Russian hats, trimmed with fox and purchase a piece or two of the gorgeous Russian blue & white porcelain and perhaps a reproduction Russian Fabergé egg. . Find out who's performing at the Concert Hall on site. Walk to the Bolshoi Theatre which is just 10 minutes from Red Square (Teatralnaya and Okhotny Ryad metro stations).

Take the underground Metro and get off here and there, to explore these amazing underground caverns with their ornate décor. The oldest ones are absolutely stunningly beautiful and each has a story to tell. Don't miss Mayakovskya, Kropotkinskaya, Avtozavodskaya, Novokuznetskaya, Novoslobodskaya and Ploshchad Revolyutsii. Visit the Seven sisters. The huge wedding cake shaped buildings created by Stalin to impress and intimidate the world, one of which is the Ukraine Hotel (now Moscow hotel of Radisson Royal), other - the main building of Moscow State University, one more contains Ministry of Foreign Affairs etc. Walk inside and around walls of Novodevichy convent, fortress and place of detention for noble women of Late Middle Ages, with it's breathtaking towers and onion-domed cathedrals, and burial sites of famous Russian scientists and poets (It is situated not far from Sportivnaya metro station). Be sure to visit "Detski Mir", the huge 5 storey children's department store; a true throw-back to the Communist years, it has not lost this quality, even re-opened after a long. It is also located a 10 minute walk from Red Square (Lubyanka metro station).

Determine, prior to your trip, the exact location of your country's Embassy and record this in addition to their phone number. We wish you don't really need it. Do not purchase any antique artifacts. They will be confiscated at the Airport, and you may find yourself at Police Headquarters. Have a good time in Moscow!


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