The fastest way to get here from Saint Petersburg is to travel by fast train called Sapsan (less than 4hrs). The totally opposite alternative is an overnight train in platzkart class (hostel carriage) that was chosen by us to get an extra day in St Petersburg and save up on accommodation, but first of all to do a trial ride before starting the Trans – Siberian route.
After visiting St Petersburg our expectations were very high and in the end we must say we didn’t get disappointed and enjoyed 3 days in this vibrant capital. Below are the highlights of our stay.
For a start, make friends with metro. It’s less user friendly than the one in Saint Petersburg as the stations are only written in Russian, there are more levels, exits and lines plus it gets totally crazy in rush hours, but the beautiful marble stations decorated with chandeliers and historical mosaics compensate the initial hassle. If you want to admire them, you can ride the Circle (brown) line hopping on and off.
Every city has its own charm, and so does Moscow. In our opinion, the city has it especially by night. We loved when the splendid Red Square got less busy and finally we could enjoy taking pics of the square and the famous landmark St Basil’s Cathedral without the crowds. During the day, it is still impressive though. We began our tour in Kremlin that came out to be a huge park-like complex of cathedrals and some administrative buildings, where we hung out easily for a few hours. Many people mention the problems with long queues to buy the tickets, but we skipped the lines for counters and bought the tickets directly from the machines where (to our surprise) was nobody, then we passed smooth security check and that’s it.
Right on the square there is also an exclusive shopping mall called GUM, usually we don’t do sightseeing in the malls, but this one is worth to pay at least a short visit for the XIX century architecture, budget lunch at stolovaya (canteen style cafeteria) and traditional Russian ice cream. It seems that most of the people follow the same pathJ. If you ever want to see the ballet at Bolshoi theatre, make your decision in advance otherwise the tickets are sold out or very expensive. Instead of going for a play we wanted to take the theatre tour in English to visit this historical building and catch the free rehearsal 😉 But the tickets can be only bought on the day of the tour and the group is max of 20 people, so unfortunately in the end we couldn’t make it due to too many people in the queue. If you want to do it, come much earlier than the time mentioned on the web to reserve your spots. First come first served.
Last but not least, a walking distance spot from Red Square that we found very cool is observatory deck at Central Children’s Department Store where we saw the city panorama with one of the most famous (and impossible to be missed) buildings in Moscow called Seven Sisters or Stalin Skyscrapers (sisters to Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw). Another place we discovered for an amazing view was Patriarchal Bridge connecting the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour with Red October former Chocolate Factory, now an urban area with restaurants and pubs, good place to finish a day.
GUM shopping mall
PS: Thanks Olga for meeting us. It was a great time to catch up and see a bit of Moscow together. Till next time!