For anyone visiting Russia, Moscow is a must-see, even though the city is not really representative of the whole country. We have visited a number of capitals on our trip and they tend to come with certain pluses and minuses.
+ Plenty of other tourists We met more people from the UK here than on the rest of our journey. Despite it being the off season, our hostel was full of other travellers, from Germany, Chile and India among others. However, Russian tourists far outnumbered the people coming from abroad.
- Crowded The main attractions are guaranteed to be busy, though they were not at the point of overcrowding. Traffic was also a constant presence, with the roads full of queuing cars. Photographing the metro stations on our self-organised tour of some of the best was frustated by the many busy commuters, or did we frustrate them?
+ Plenty to see and do There are always some key architectural landmarks that are worth seeing in the metropolis and in Moscow the highlight was Saint Basil's Cathedral. It's one of the most recognisable churches in the world, but we were still awestruck when standing in front of it. We also explored a lot of the city parks, one which featured many different sculptures and another designed to feature landscapes representing the entirety of Russia. There was far more than we could fit in, with a museum of Arcade machines, space museum and the Kremlin all going on the list of things we'll have to do another time.
- Expensive This was particularly true when it came to food. The majority of supermarkets in the central area were vastly overpriced and did not contain sufficient to create a decent meal yourself. They mainly offered ready meals for the same price as eating out, or so we thought. When we ate out in the mall, we found that the affordable price advertised came close to extortionate when the hidden extras were added.
+ Good transport links In addition to the fact that the city is easy to navigate thanks to a simple metro system, there are good links to other cities too. We arrived by sleeper from Saint Petersburg and really enjoyed it. The beds are comfortable, though possibly not for anyone much taller than us and the train is clean. There is a custom of using the hot water available to drink tea in a glass and we found the community spirit very welcoming.