Long time no see! While I realize it’s been a long while since my last update, this will be the first post in a series of very exciting travel updates. First thing’s first: Moscow.
After waiting nearly half of my study abroad experience, I finally got my passport back with my visa extension and multi-entry visa. For those unfamiliar with visa-lingo this means that I was finally able to travel outside of St. Petersburg! While I absolutely love my current city, I am thrilled to finally be able to explore other parts of Russia and Eastern Europe. The first stop of my exploration was the capital of Russia: Moscow.
The people of St. Petersburg and Moscovites are notoriously competing against one another, each insisting that their way of life and their city is the best that Russia has to offer. Well, I am here to settle that debate once and for all. While Moscow is a beautiful, diverse, fun city with aspects that you certainly can’t find in St. Petersburg, there is no competition; St. Petersburg has my heart all the way. That being said, when visiting Russia one must visit Moscow in order to get the full Russian experience, as it is a much more “Russian” city than St. Petersburg and contains many must-see Russian sights, just make sure to not let Moscow be your only Russian experience.
Here are my top suggestions for a trip to Moscow:
Certainly the historical and political center of Moscow, this is a must see for any visitor. The square contains the absolutely beautiful and gigantic department store GUM, multiple museums, a side of the Kremlin, Lenin’s tomb, and my personal favorite, St. Basil’s Cathedral. If you go in one place on this square, even if you are not a church person, go to St. Basil’s! I have been to the Vatican and Westminster Abbey, but this is by far the most interesting and elaborate church that I have ever been to. Do it!
How can you go to Moscow and not visit the Kremlin? Being behind the walls of Russia’s political epicenter, steps away from where Putin works is an experience in itself. Don’t just wander the inside of the fortress though, be sure to check out the various churches and the armory. If you thought Russians were extra before this visit you will be blown away by the exhibits contained within the armory.
Quite different from the aforementioned sights, Arbat Street is a pedestrian-only street filled with souvenir shops, street art, and hipster hangouts. Here I was lucky enough to find a Shake Shack to fulfill my cheese fry craving, take pictures at a real life Krusty Krab (Spongebob included!), and see a side of Moscow that is not often publicized, one that looks surprisingly western, fun, and inclusive.
While Moscow was certainly a valuable and amazing experience, don’t let it be your only Russian experience, as there is much more to Russia than can be found in the bustling capital.