Recap Of Our Visit To Moscow

St. Basil’s Cathedral

We’re pretty much done with our trip to Russia and currently in Saint Petersburg. I’ve been so busy and tired that I haven’t had a chance to write about our trip so far.

Our flight to from JFK to Moscow with Delta went really well. Delta might just have some of the best infant- friendly travel policies. Due to traveling with a lap baby, we needed to go to a counter to check in and were then allowed to bypass a very long security line. Boarding was even more impressive. Families traveling with infants get to board first. I was beyond surprised that we got to even board before business class! I give Delta a BIG thumbs up for being so understanding to families traveling with babies! (Lucas, thanks you too!)
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We got to our hotel- The Radisson Royal Hotel earlier then regular check in time and got very lucky- our room was available right away. The hotel and room were beautiful. We were upgraded to a better room which had plenty of space for Lucas to crawl around in (and lots of things for Lucas to try to destroy, like an expresso machine.) The one negative would have to be the location. It was a bit of a trek to the nearest metro and we found out the hard way that the taxis that are always available and waiting at the hotel charge 25% more then the standard rate. Our second hotel, Park Inn Sadu was not as fancy as the Radisson Royal (but still very nice) however the location made it a much better place to stay for us.
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Moscow is an odd city to say the least. I can’t say that I don’t like it but it is difficult to get a true feel for it. People rarely smile and seem to be extremely pushy- literally. Getting around and communicating is also very difficult. We’ve had an easier time pretty much everywhere else in the world that we’ve visited. It was shocking to us that few locals spoke English.The weather was also much colder than expected. We figured it would be chilly but not so cold and snowy. It basically snowed the whole first three days of the trip. We were told that this was the coldest it’s been in years and the most snow they’ve had in the month of March, in years.
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On a positive note things are not as pricey as people say they are. Cheap food can be found pretty easily and sites with admission fees were reasonably priced.

We also noticed that Russia seems to love American fast food chains. We saw locations of McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and a few others around the city.

Some Highlights:
  • The Red Square
  • The Kremlin
  • The Armoury (at The Kremlin)
  • Ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent
  • Jumping All Over Moscow
  • Trying out some local food
  • Walking along Arbat 
The Red Square was an awesome site to see. The clear highlight was taking photos of St. Basil’s Cathedral (picture above). We decided not to pay the admission fee to go inside. It looked like there were lots of steps to climb which would not be ideal with Lucas. However, we did check out the cathedral from the front and back. We also liked wandering around the Red Square, stopping in the GUM shopping mall and checking out some other interesting architecture around the square.
The Kremlin
Visiting the Kremlin and Armoury are a must when visiting Moscow. To visit you need to buy a separate ticket for each site.When you visit the Kremlin you are limited in what areas you can see and where you can walk. If you go off of the designated areas the police will whistle and guide you back where to go. During a visit to the Kremlin you can see a bunch of impressive and old churches, an old canon, and a huge cracked bell that never got to be used.
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Visiting the Armoury was a bit more complicated. A limited number of tickets are sold for designated time slots. You can only buy tickets from 45 minutes before the time of your visit. It took us three tries to get tickets. A tip- even though they don’t start selling tickets until 45 minutes before- get there earlier to line up. Even in the snowy freezing weather there were tons of people wanting to visit this impressive sight. It was well worth the effort. The collection of weapons, thrones, carriages and other items was really impressive to see.

Novodevichy Convent
The Ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you have the time it is worth a visit. We spent an hour walking around the grounds and taking some photos. We weren’t interested in going inside any of the churches or buildings but enjoyed seeing the impressive architecture and high walls surrounding the premises.
Jumping with baby on board!
I jumped at many places around Moscow. The photo above was taken at what we were told is the center of Moscow. It is just outside the walls to the Red Square and was an interesting stop along the way. We saw lots of people standing on the marker, tossing small change in the air. Soon after an elderly women would quickly walk by to collect the coins from the floor. Maybe she figured their wishes were already granted.
Blini
We tried a bunch of different Russian foods during our visit. Some favorites were pelmeni- similar to a meat filled dumpling, shashlyk- similar to shish kebab and my favorite blini- which is a Russian style crepe which can be made with various fillings. I highly recommend getting one with chocolate inside.
Arbat Street
Walking along Arbat is a must visit. It’s more or less a pedestrian only street although we did see a couple of cars slowly drive by. I would’ve liked to have had some more time there but it was fun either way. There are lots of restaurants, cafes, shops and street artists around. I had fun checking out some of the shops and haggling for a couple of little toys for Lucas.
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This is just a quick recap of some of the things we did in Moscow.
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Don’t forget to keep checking back for more details about some of these highlights and others from our trip to Russia including our visit to Saint Petersburg!

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