The weirdest apartment we’ve ever stayed in and non stop rain.
We caught the night train from St Petersburg to Moscow, our last train trip on the great train journey across Russia….
We arrived in Moscow at the main rail at about 8:30am and did our usual struggle with PT and packs and dodgy instructions from hosts. This time it involved a metro and then bus ride, we got yelled at by the bus police for not having a bus ticket which was very strange as they know we had no Russian but spent 10 minutes yelling at us anyway. Eventually they gave us a ticket and I think a small fine, I don’t really know as I lost interest and was watching out the window.
We arrived at our apartment which was in an old Soviet building and much further out of central Moscow than we had been lead to believe, it was also on the 5th floor and up over 100 stairs which let me tell you with a 14kg pack plus day pack is not what you want to discover after a night train and a dressing down from the Russian bus police.
The apartment was very very weird we had gone to the opposite spectrum to our lovely apartment in St Petersburg. This apartment had mirrors everywhere, every square inch of the bathroom was covered with mirrors, even the ceiling plus mirrors in the hall in the lounge and in the bedrooms – All I can think is the owner liked to look at themselves? Bazaar! . There were also beds or sofa beds shoved in every corner AND it took 40 minutes to get to Red Square. We spent a great deal of our time in Moscow riding the metro.
We only had 3 full days in Moscow although I have to say I am pleased we decided to spend more time in St Petersburg than Moscow.
It rained the entire time we were in Moscow so we spent many hours slogging through the rain to / from the metro and around the main sights.
We visited Red Square which really is jaw dropping.
St Basil’s Cathedral is at one end, the iconic Cathedral built by Ivan the terrible in 1555 to commemorate a great battle he had won. It is actually call Intercession Cathedral after the battle but known by all as St Basil’s.
At the other end is the State History Museum from the 19thC which houses a reasonably interesting museum which we spent an afternoon wandering around mostly to get out of the rain.
Sitting up against the Kremlin wall is Lenin’s Tomb where the preserved body of Vlad Lenin is on display. When we were there the queue stretched around the corner and we gave the whole thing a big miss.
Along the Western side are the walls of the Kremlin. The Kremlin is set on over 60 acres and dates back to the 12th C.
Buildings in the Kremlin
- Cathedral Square
- The Cathedral of the Annunciation was built in 1482, and was where the Tzars were christened and married.
- Assumption Cathedral built in 1475 is Russia’s main and most important Cathedral. It is here that the Tsars were once crowned and Church patriarch buried.
- Cathedral of the Archangel Michael built in 1505. The cathedral holds the tombs of Russia’s rulers from Ivan I (1328-41) to Tsar Ivan V (1682-96), Peter the Great’s predecessor.
- Church of the Deposition of the Robe, built in a more traditional style of the late 15th century.
- Terem Palace, with 11 clusters of Domes is the oldest structure in today’s Kremlin and was the home of Russia’s rulers until Peter the Great.
- Grand Kremlin Palace. Once the home of the Tsars and now home of the Russian president, it is very ornate and very beautiful.
- Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Once the tallest building in Russia the Ivan the Great Bell Tower has 21 bells and gold topped domes and displays some of the artillery from the Armoury,
- The Patriarch’s Palace and the Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles is now a museum showing Russian life and art from the 17th C.
- Tsars Cannon was designed in 1586 to protect the Saviours Gate and has never been fired and the Tsars Bell is the largest bell in the world and has her been rung.
- The Armoury – holds all sorts of treasures including Faberge eggs.
- Diamond Fund. Diamonds and State jewels. You pay extra to see this exhibit
Kremlin Tip; Get there early to avoid the tour bus crowds.
On the Eastern side of Red square is GUM shopping centre. Commissioned by Catherine the Great and built in an italianate style as a huge trading hall eventually housing upto 1200 traders. The Bolseviks used it as the State Department Store before Stalin turned it into offices for the committee in charge of his 5 Year .Plan. It reverted to a shopping centre in 1953 and is now the home of every upmarket and top end label one can think of. When we were there I didn’t see many shoppers just herds of Chinese tourist running around with cameras.
We also did a tour of the Moscow metro. Each metro station is a work of art with different themes and incredible architecture so we spent a happy few hours avoiding the rain getting on and off at different metro stops and admiring the art.
Our last day in Moscow saw us visiting a shopping centre to stock up on shorts and a few other much needed items for our onward travels into the hot climates of Central Asia and Turkey.
For Information on Travelling In Russia Read Our Russia Travel Guides