It is almost summer and I can’t help thinking where am I going to spend the season, especially because last year I had the opportunity to visit an incredible destination, Russia. It was that great that it is going to be difficult to find a cooler place to go!
It is kind of funny that every time that I mention that I went there, people would stare at me amazed and curious at the same time, as if I had mentioned something out of this world. And well, Russia is indeed unreal, but that’s what makes it so special and one of the main reasons to visit.
If you are European or North American, you may not have known that you need a visa to go to Russia. Well, it is not the case for Colombians. Let’s say that being Colombian has a lot of advantages and this one is one of them 😉
My parents and I decided to take a tour to go to Russia, since most of my friends warned me that only a few people speak English. We arrived to the Russian border after spending a couple of days in the magic city of Tallinn. As soon as we stepped on Russian soil, the tourist guide told us not to smile or try to fool around in migration. She said that Russian people are very serious and don’t tend to smile very often. I am not sure whether she was telling us this because she knew that most of the people on the tour were Latinos – and we tend to be fun and noisy – or just because it is a simple fact.
Our first destination is Saint Petersburg. We stay at the Holiday Inn – Moskovskye V. Hotel. It is well located: just beside a small supermarket and less than a block away from the metro station.
Saint Petersburg is breath-taking. A beautiful city surrounded by majestic buildings and the Baltic Sea. It is really easy to wander around. The metro stations have their names written with the Latin alphabet so you cannot get lost easily – however I highly advise you to get off in Nevskiy Prospect and lose yourself! This metro stop is a good starting point since it takes you directly to the top sights of the city, as for example, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.
Not that far from Saint Petersburg, in the small town of Tsarskoye Selo, there is Catherine Palace, which is a majestic light blue and white palace built in late baroque style. The ballroom is incredible, full of mirrors, gold walls and chandeliers. Definitely, you cannot miss the chance to go!
After spending 4 incredible days in Saint Petersburg we head to Moscow. We stay at the Crowne Plaza – World Trade Center.
Being in Moscow, I couldn’t help to feel like a complete stranger in this city. I have been in so many places in Europe and believe me, nothing compares with it. Huge highways packed with luxury cars, buildings out of proportion and strict surveillance everywhere you go (even McDonalds). The city is gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, it is just that it can make you feel overwhelmed sometimes.
Anyways, when you go to Moscow there is a place that you MUST go: The Red Square. Yeah, I know that it is kind of obvious! But believe me, it is worth the visit. If you are in love with Russian architecture as I am, this place is going to be just pure magic for you! Each building is unique. You have there the best spots in the city: Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, State Historical Museum and a super fancy department store: GUM. Besides, you are just a few steps away from the Kremlin, which is pretty interesting to visit if you want to get a closer look at the Russian culture.
Inside the Kremlin there’s the Cathedral square and as its name reveals, there you can find three cathedrals; among them is the Cathedral of the Dormition, the most famous one. Also, you can see administrative buildings and the well-known Troitskaya Tower.
The metro is on my list of MUSTS as well. I know that it can sound kind of crazy, but Moscow’s metro stations are not exactly what you have in mind. Each station looks like something taken from a princess movie, and there’s a reason. They were built in that opulent way in order to show people that they can have their own palace. That everyone is equal, which is pretty cool. One thing, it is difficult to go on the metro by yourself, since everything is indicated in Russian and the Cyrillic alphabet. It is better to take a tour. Believe me, you don’t want to be lost in this massive city.
Finally, one thing that is pretty nice to do in Moscow, especially on a sunny day, is to take a cruise in the Moskva River. We booked it with the Radisson Royal and it was incredible. We got to see the city from a different angle. I highly recommend it.