TOP 5 for Moscow
- Basil’s Cathedral – straight out of a fantasyland. So gorgeous.
- Red Square
- Try some of the excellent and varied cuisine – the distinct cultures of neighboring countries are embraced here.
- Stroll through Gorki park
- Check out a museum or theater performance.
Courtyard by Marriot Moscow City Center – within a 10-minute walk to red square this location can’t be beat. The onsite restaurant serves local dishes and the breakfast buffet is extensive. Rooms are a bit old and shabby but clean.
Holiday Inn Tverskaya – Pros: Clean, large rooms, great location. Cons: Rude staff, noisy street below.
To be honest, Moscow was relatively low on my travel bucket list. However having been twice now, I can say that it is a city of breathtaking architecture, fascinating history, unexpected beauty, and definitely worth a visit for a good dose of culture.
I landed in June in the city to brilliant blue skies and a balmy 30 degrees. Coming in from the airport was like a journey back in time – a sea of rather morose modern era apartment buildings and strip malls gave way to spectacular sparkling architectural marvels, preserved to an amazing standard and winking with gold accents. The city center is beautiful. The hotel staff however were icy as hell and ridiculously unhelpful. Alas. I was due to meet a colleague in half an hour for a tour around the city, so I made a quick change and then we set off. First we wandered directly from my hotel to Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral – really an unbelievable place to be.
We snapped some pics and crossed through the square, Alexander gardens, and over the bridge, eventually making it to Gorki park. As it was such a gorgeous sunny day the park was full of fellow walkers, joggers, cyclists, and picnickers. We crossed over another bridge, forging a roundabout and leisurely path to finally end at Arbat street – the quintessential shopping/restaurant street of Moscow.
On the way we passed many monuments and museums – it’s clear you could spend a fair amount of time here checking out these historical sites. However, by this time it was 8 pm, we had been walking for hours, and were ready for some hydration and eats. We stopped into an Azerbaijani restaurant – recommended to us by another colleague. The food was fantastic – similar to Turkish cuisine. We were served some wonderful fresh flatbread, ordered some salads of tomatoes, parsley, olives, and cucumber, and sizzling salty grilled kebabs of lamb and beef. I really recommend trying some of the ethnic cuisines here – so interesting and delicious. And of course- typical Russian dishes! The second night I tried the famous Russian cold soup – Okroshka, a mix of finely-chopped raw vegetables added to boiled potatoes, beef/lamb, and hard-cooked eggs with a fermented Russian liquid, garnished with sour cream. It may sound strange but on a hot day it is just what the doctor ordered.
Moscow is a city rich in culture, history, and beautiful architecture. I can now say it’s one of the more interesting cities I’ve been to, despite the difficulties of understanding signs and the language!