Check out our first episode of Street Level to get a small glimpse at what Russia currently has to offer its visitors.
Moscow, Russia has a past that spans half the world and over a thousand years. But with the current drop in the value of the Russian Ruble, what was considered one of the worlds most expensive cities could finally be in your budget (if the cost of flying doesn’t make you wince).
For me, traveling there was a concern. I was uneasy about a country and people I knew little about — outside of history books, television dashboard cameras, and movies like James Bond. I guess these did well for establishing stereotypes in us ‘Westerners’ but I guess that’s what Cali-fornication does to a degree. But once in Moscow my fears subsided as my experiences grew — I met people and explored the main areas and outlying districts of Russia’s capital city.
The city is a contradiction of sorts, a place of beauty and decay where an old political ideology and way of life has been left asunder to a new form of capitalism (to put it lightly). Of course nothing happened during my trip to make me believe any negative stereotypes were true. Russia is just a different place (and yes, a little wild), but for many reasons that cannot be explained simply. It’s also the biggest country in the world, and albeit, one that I have yet to fully experience. However, no matter where you go fear and stereotypes are always an issue with travel — it’s the anxiety of going somewhere unknown, somewhere you’re ignorant about, somewhere where you are the foreigner that scares you. But this is why you need to travel.
In brief, Moscow is home to numerous heritage sites like Saint Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin, and Red Square while also boasting things like the highest skyscraper in Europe in its Business District. Also, with numerous Estates and Palaces waiting to be rediscovered in various districts of the city, it makes anyone’s inner child become dazed in wonderment. How did I not know some of these places, people, and stories ever existed? How? And to be honest, I still can’t properly explain what kind of foods they eat. It’s where Slavic dishes mesh with Asian I suppose. It’s crazy.
Russian history and culture have deep roots, making its society what you can experience today — in my opinion, looking past stereotypes and politicians is half the battle. But now with redevelopments happening in Moscow in recent years in places such as Gorky Central Park, coupled with the rebuilding of the once lost historic sites (The Temple of Christ Our Savior and the wooden Palace of Tsar Alexi the First at Kolomenskoye), Moscow is hoping to keep its past alive while re-imagining its future. And this means even more to take advantage of for the traveler, if you can afford to make the journey.
Basically, by the numbers, if you book ahead, tickets could be as low as $900-1000CAD in the summer (Momondo.com, Skyscanner.com) And with hostels and other inexpensive options opening up (Airbnb, Booking.com, Tripadvisor), Moscow is now a better destination for cheaper travelers. *Remember you’ll need a VISA ($300-400CAD) to get into Russia, so apply far ahead of when you plan to travel* So yes, getting to Moscow is still expensive, but how many people do you know who’ve been to Russia?