Considering visiting Moscow

Old Jun 26th, 2003, 12:59 AM
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Considering visiting Moscow

We may be in Moscow for a few days in September. Can anyone recommend a good hotel with a good view? We're not too restricted by cost, as it will only be a few days. Also, what would you do with, say, 2 days in Moscow, and any advice on avoiding the scams and corruption by the police that I've read about? Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 04:48 AM
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I would recommend either the Hotel Metropol (opposite the Bolshoi) or the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski which has views of Red Sq, the Kremilin and St Basil's.
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 06:31 AM
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The above recommendations are good, but the Baltschug Kempinski is in an inconvenient location unless you have a driver. The best views are from the National, but there is heavy construction for the next 18 months next door. Also, some rooms at the new Ararat have good views.

As for what to do, there are hundreds of potential activities and sights to see, all depending on your interests. Are you interested in architecture? Moscow has unique buildings, not just St. Basil's, but from 1890-1930. The buildings of that period, Style Moderne (Art Nouveau) and Constructivism are one of a kind and in many cases influential for other 20th century movements. Are you interested in music? The Scriabin Museum would be a good stop. Are you interested in Pasternak, the author of "Dr. Zhivago"? You can see the room he grew up in (in the mansion described in his novel that later became communal housing). Interested in Tolstoy? See his Moscow residence, drink beer from the factory he founded in order to wean the Russian peasants away from vodka. Interested in history? See dozens of museums, from the treasures inside the Kremlin to the museums descriping the virtues and sins of communism to the Andrei Sakharov Museum, which concentrates on making today's Russia more free and law-abiding.

Although they do have a bad reputation, the majority of Russian police officers are respectful of position as public servants. Most accounts of bribery stem from the civilian not following common rules, such as carrying identification papers at all times, or drinking excessively in public.

Note that everyone in Russia must carry state-issued identification papers, which means that foreigners must carry their passport and visa at all times and present it to police officers if asked. This can seem intimidating to people who grew up in the West but it is the law in Russia. If a police officer stops you, they normally salute you and ask for your passport and papers (generally in Russian). Hand these to them, they will look at it, hand it back and salute you.

Marc David Miller
[email protected]
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 06:51 AM
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Don't have any hotel recommendations as we stayed w/friends, but if you have 2 days -- Kremlin will take at least half/day (if you're in Moscow, you can't not go there) -- there are a number of amazing museums on the territory of Kremlin, such as an armory and a diamond collection not to be missed, not to mention churches and, of course, St.Basils. You can do a boat tour on Moscow-river, I think the whole route takes about an hour, but you can get on and get off at the stops.
A very good museum is Tretyakovskaya Gallery -- has an amazing collection of Russian art and Icons -- expect to spend at least 2 hours there.
Arbat is another touristy place -- it's a long street w/merchants selling souvenirs and some very average art, but it's a pretty famous street w/a bunch of restaurants, so I'd recommend checking it out as well.
You don't have to worry about corruption, but do expect to pay more as a foreigner for any kind of cultural activities, cabs, and souvenirs. You can also hire a private guide for 2 days w/a car -- it won't be that's expensive -- just something to consider.
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 06:58 AM
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Not sure what shape the troupe it is in these days, but we absoluetly loved seeing the circus. Yes, the circus!
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 07:54 AM
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What's to consider. Moscow is a great city. If you have a chance to visit you should do it.
I would definately concur with Mr. Miller. Cast another vote for the LeMeridien Royal National Hotel. It is located directly across the street from the entrance to Red Square. Probably not more than 5-7 minutes to walk to Red Square.
I have stayed there many times, and in fact will be there next week. September should be a great time to see Moscow.
As per Mr. Miller's advise. Make sure you carry your passport/visa with you at all times. It's almost a given if you do not look Russian you will be stopped by the police and asked to show your documents. If you have them, no problem.
Your gonna love Moscow.
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Old Aug 4th, 2003, 08:26 PM
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Authorities shut down Red Square to tourists and passers-by in mid-July. No official explanation has been given, but unofficially the word is that authorities fear a terrorist attack.

A Russian-language sign says Red Square is closed due to repairs, guards readily acknowledged that this was not so. "I was constantly being asked about what was going on. Now I've hung up this sign and am asked a lot fewer questions," said a guard at the State Historical Museum on one edge of Red Square.

A police officer stationed nearby said laughingly that the square is undergoing "border stones"repairs, but he could not explain what a border stone was. He then said the explanation about repairs was only an excuse for curious tourists.

St. Basil's Cathedral and Lenin's Mausoleum are still open to visitors.

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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 06:35 AM
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Garfield, are you currently in Moscow? I've also heard that you can still get into the Kremlin with a guide. What about the Armoury?
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 07:43 AM
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I am not in Moscow, however I would expect that the Kremlin would still be open. The entrance and ticket office are not near Red Square and I would not think think that you would need a guide to visit. When you enter the Kremlin you pass through a security check point.
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 08:49 AM
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Someone living in Moscow told me about the need for a guide to visit the Kremlin. He also said that Lenin's mausoleum was open but said nothing about St. Basil's. I imagine this all of this could easily change before we go but it's nice to have an idea of what to expect.
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 07:01 PM
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You must now be in an organized group to visit the Kremlin. (St Petersburg paper)
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 07:53 PM
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Yay! Thank, Garfield. I was worried, but I assume the river cruise will be organized.

What's with the weather? My friend said temps were in the 80s, but I checked a couple of weather sites and it looks like rain and cool weather for the next couple of weeks.
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 07:59 PM
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Moscow
Today (Wed)
Haze
Hi: 26oC
Lo: 16oC

Thursday
Rain
13oC - 21oC

Friday
Showers
12oC - 20oC

Saturday
Rain
11oC - 17oC


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Old Aug 6th, 2003, 01:41 AM
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I loved the Hotel National -- the rooms have a ton of character, very posh but in a Russian style.

When I lived in Moscow in the '90s my favorite places included the Pushkin museum (wonderful Matisse paintings) and Tolstoy's Moscow home. It's a small manor house in the city center and really gives you a feel for life at the turn of the century. Everything is set up as if the family would arrive home at any minute. Also, there used to be an open air art fair outside Dom Khudoshnikov (House of the Artists) next to Gorky Park. If the weather is nice it can be fun to walk along and look at the art. Just for wandering, the neighborhood around Kitai Gorod (not far from the Kremlin) was wonderful too. Of course, you shouldn't miss the Kremlin. In terms of the police, I lived in Russia for a couple years and never, ever had a problem. Just remember NEVER give your passport to a stranger on the street and if anyone says he's a police officer and wants your documents/money, insist on going back to your hotel first where the concierge can sort things out and see if the "officer" is for real. We're moving to Russia again next summer and I can't wait. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Aug 6th, 2003, 09:55 AM
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LVSue - What river cruise are you going on? I am going next year and would love to hear about your trip when you get back. I go on this sight almost every day to see what else I can learn.
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Old Aug 6th, 2003, 08:29 PM
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Lolo you might want to look at the Orthodox Cruise Line site with regards to cruise in Russia.

Site is at www.cruise.ru
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Old Aug 6th, 2003, 11:34 PM
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I'm going on Peter the Great (which I think is the old Orthodox Cruise Line www.cruise.ru). You can be sure I'll keep a journal and let you know. I think it's pretty bare bones, but I'm up for everything but mosquitos. I got insect repellant today, but I couldn't bear to buy DEET because there were so many scary warnings.

Garfield, was your cruise with Orothodox?
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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 07:19 AM
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I have done a couple of cruises with Orthodox on the Litvinov, from St Petersburg to Moscow and from Moscow to Rostov on Don.

Orthodox runs cruises for a number of foreign companies among them are: Uniworld, Intrav (USA), Hapag-Lloyd, Phoenix Reisen, DER, Olympia-Reisen, Hansa Touristik, Lernidee Reisen (Germany), Saga, Harding Bros, Voyages Jules Verne, Noble Caledonia (Great Britain) and Politours (Spain).

Ships are: Andropov, Dostoevskiy, Gloushkov, Lev Tolstoy, Litvinov, Novikov Priboy, Sholokhov, Lenin, Krasin, Yesenin, Pushkin, Russ, and T. Shevchenko.

Peter the Great is a renamed ship, I forget what it's original name.

The ships are all basically the same.


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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 07:48 AM
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I will be going with Uniworld on the
Tolstoy from Moscow to St. Pete and will be taking their optional land tour thru Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania next summer. I've checked various websites and here on Fodor's for info and at this point I just want to hear of people's own experiences, even down to the itsy-bitsy details.
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