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What to do with half day on arrival day?

Palmetto, Florida
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What to do with half day on arrival day?

Hi,

So we get to Moscow about noon. Have to get to Renaissance Monarch, and from reviews/posts the hotel is not in center of town. So would you have any suggestions for what we can reasonably achieve that first afternoon/night? I probably can use the time to just adjust being in Russia, but we don't have too many nights there, a shame not to "see" or experience something.

Thanks in advance.

Moscow, Russia
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1. Re: What to do with half day on arrival day?

It kind of depends on what you're into and what you have planned for following days. There's not much of interest in the immediate vicinity with the exception of Peter the Great's Road Palace which can be visited with a tour as I heard but you need to buy tickets in advance on the opposite end of Moscow so it seems to be out for your first day... There's also Gelos auction house with its antiques store, the Hippodrome with its horse racing. Vagankovo cemetery where Vysotsky is buried but I'd be surprised if you know who that was... The zoo is not that far but quite a walk already.

Moscow, Russia
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2. Re: What to do with half day on arrival day?

Found an embarassing mistake in my previous post: Peter's Road Palace (Петровский путевой дворец) was built by Catherine the Great many years after Peter the Great, in 1776—1780. Its name comes from the monastery that owned the land back then. It is the Moscow Government Reception House now, with a luxury hotel on the premises.

Auckland, New...
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3. Re: What to do with half day on arrival day?

Hi

Grab a map. 10 minutes to the the metro, then 4 to 5 stops to the centre.

This gives you a good intro to Moscow metro and idea of the centre, Kremlin location etc.

This will help you as an intro and ideas for the following few days.

Doesn't get dark till late.

Have fun

DCtheKiwi

Plymouth, Minnesota
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4. Re: What to do with half day on arrival day?

Actually, I think I read on the hotel site where they provide shuttles to the nearest Metro stops...

So, assuming you believe in this "cure" for jet lag (hit the ground running, go til end of day, collapse in exhausted heap in bed, etc), then check in (will likely be around 2PM anyway!), hop on the shuttle (or walk) to the Metro, and head on down to Red Square and just walk around a bit to get initially acquainted...grab a bite to eat, people watch, then head back...

The only good thing is this hotel is a bit out from downtown, and if you take a taxi, or airport transfer, should avoid some of the traffic hassles closer to the heart of downtown...

Moscow, Russia
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5. Re: What to do with half day on arrival day?

> I read on the hotel site where they provide shuttles to the nearest Metro stops

Not necessary and with the Moscow traffic might take longer than just crossing the street underground.

Another option is just walking straight along Leningradsky/Tverskaya all the way to the Kremlin. Will take up to an hour at a leisurely pace but will give a good idea of the "look and feel" of the city. Then can take the metro back to the hotel.

Plymouth, Minnesota
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6. Re: What to do with half day on arrival day?

RATS...just saw other post...you are coming into Domodedovo...this is actually further away (I was thinking SVO), so likely will take a bit longer to get to hotel..nonethess, think the drop your gear off and head out remains the same!

Phoenix, Arizona
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7. Re: What to do with half day on arrival day?

It will be light out very late into the eve, (around 10:00PM if I remember)? This would give you quite some time to walk Red Square, get something to eat & relax a bit before hitting the sack. AIM.

Moscow
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8. Re: What to do with half day on arrival day?

The palace Marassa mentioned is the one where all Russian czars after Catherine the Great waited on the big day before proceeding to the Kremlin to be coronated - s019.radikal.ru/i624/1205/af/f1e12e3e7e7b.jpg

It was also there that Napoleon lodged after having to flee from the Kremlin on foot when the Russian capital went on fire lest it have to formally surrender.

The palace, perhaps a 10-15 minute walk away from your hotel, is in a cozy park on Leningradsky Prospekt - a major thoroughfare linking Sheremetyevo Airport and the Kremlin.

You can see (somebody else's) pictures of the palace here -http://trassa.narod.ru/moscow/petrovpalace/petrovpalace.htm

Excursions are available, but their timing is unclear. I will report it if I happen to go by over the next week or two and see the announcements at the gate.

If your airport of arrival were Sheremetyevo, you would pass on your way to the hotel by Europe's highest apartment building - Triumph Palace - s019.radikal.ru/i606/1205/0b/4d330ef1b6a6.jpg

It has my hands down favorite fence ;) - s019.radikal.ru/i608/1205/df/6d6fd6ce0958.jpg

s48.radikal.ru/i119/1205/e5/4b37326d7822.jpg

There is a huge open space between your hotel and that high-rise.

The field is known as Khodynka. It was the site of Russia's worst pre-revolution disaster when upwards of one thousand people were trampled to death or injured in a stampede during festivities to celebrate the enthronement of the last Czar, Nicholas II.

It was later turned into an airfield (where Nazi Germany's Ribbentrop landed when he came to Moscow to sign the infamous pact with Foreign Minister Molotov). The area was closed off until recently because the runways were being apparently preserved as an exclusive emergency airport for denizens of the Kremlin which is a mere ten minutes' drive away.

The vast field hosts the city's largest new residential development, Grand Park, with some fancy buildings like s019.radikal.ru/i627/1205/d9/35fb440c9099.jpg (popularly known as "The Water Drop") or s019.radikal.ru/i636/1205/d7/1175859bf2b7.jpg (Europe's longest residential building) or i061.radikal.ru/1205/78/31e6ec98de0c.jpg (the four towers are jokingly compared by locals to a cow buried hoofed legs up).

The field also accommodates a big indoor ice rink where all major championships take place, and a "cemetery" of dozens of once top-secret Soviet air fighters and drones from the 1960s and the 1970s, which they have for years been promising to turn into an open-air museum - s019.radikal.ru/i608/1205/f5/4278ef667386.jpg

s019.radikal.ru/i630/1205/17/f310bee9dde6.jpg

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Khodynka is also where parade drills take place on the former runways before the soldiers go on to practice the march-pasts during nighttime on Red Square itself.

Otherwise, the surrounding area is rather unremarkable (save for the horse races place, which I am excited about, but have never been to myself).

I do not expect you to be really interested in Khodynka though, so my guess is that you would rather want to be where all the action is - the real city center. Your hotel, however, is actually pretty central itself, as it is only a very short ride away from the Kremlin.

The road that takes you there runs parallel to the lower edge of the following picture of your hotel (the last photo which is not mine) -

bsigroup.ru/upload/tour/b/0/a/b0a375eafa6b32…

The road is Leningradsky Prospekt which then goes into Tverskaya Street that ends on Red Square - so it is a straight ride of some ten minutes. I recommend that you have a taxi arranged by reception at the hotel. The ride to the beginning of Tverskaya will only take 3-5 minutes.

Once you go over the bridge (over / by the Byelorusskaya railway terminal), Tverskaya Street starts with a construction site for a business compound on the left - s58.radikal.ru/i161/1205/93/1f475403f6d2.jpg

and a little further on another new business center on the right - s43.radikal.ru/i099/1205/59/d91ffdd9982b.jpg

You disembark there to trek along Tverskaya to Red Square on foot (you have to walk Russia's most famous street, still known to the likes of me as Gorky Street and enviously dubbed "The Broadway" at the time of Khruschev, anyway).

When you see paintings on the wall - s019.radikal.ru/i626/1205/f3/a4e717737f84.jpg

don't be surprised: posting copies of works from the Tretyakov Art Gallery in the city's streets was the former mayor Yuri Luzhkov's idea of letting residents see the better Russian paintings without having to visit the museum itself.

On the way, you will pass (in addition to a plethora of exorbitantly priced boutiques and restaurants) by the two most popular venues for protest demonstrations - Triumphalnaya Plaza (with a monument to rebellious poet Vladimir Mayakovsky), which has long been turned into a semblance of a construction site - to prevent public gatherings, and Pushkinskaya Square (with a monument to another independent-minded poet, Alexander Pushkin - …radikal.ru/i611/1205/f6/2f64822fbe4e.jpg, as well as riot-control troops always on alert - http://s019.radikal.ru/i642/1205/e5/c17f85c56ffd.jpg).

Further on, don't miss the splendor of Gastronom No. 1 (formerly - Filippov's Bakery) on the left-hand side - s019.radikal.ru/i623/1205/85/ff7a0bdbc722.jpg (the well-connected director's arrest and execution were among the first signs of the coming perestroika in the Gorbachev days).

Have something to eat on the same side of the street - in one of the shady open-air cafes in Kamergersky Lane (a pedestrian precinct) - s019.radikal.ru/i627/1205/31/6a5a0980de70.jpg

The granite slabs facing the lower sides of the buildings close to Red Square came from the stocks of rock that Hitler's armies had brought in (as they closing in on the Soviet capital in the winter of 1941) so as reportedly to build a sky-high victory statue in Moscow - s44.radikal.ru/i103/1205/4e/db28dc4cdf14.jpg

You will walk by the square opposite the city council - i076.radikal.ru/1205/1d/4b284e430f32.jpg (with a monument to Moscow's founder on a steed that had its privates welded on upon express orders from Stalin who flew into a rage after seeing a predecessor mounted on a mare).

The Ritz - s019.radikal.ru/i615/1205/f1/4d18788d5048.jpg The one-way glass windows on the top floors conceal bathrooms where guests can relax in a warm tub, unseen from the outside, and watch traffic and people below.

Red Square is your destination - s019.radikal.ru/i619/1205/9e/b8994e2a3cba.jpg

s019.radikal.ru/i636/1205/ec/3b5fd6ee87fd.jpg

s019.radikal.ru/i614/1205/c4/c679b47f4f92.jpg

If you are not too tired, you can explore the metro (to see the likes of Revolution Square station - s019.radikal.ru/i624/1205/c2/f91f915cb9d8.jpg or Mayakovskaya station under Triumphalnaya Plaza on Tverskaya - http://s019.radikal.ru/i617/1205/8a/10505f63db93.jpg).

Or you can get a taxi to return by the same straight route to your hotel (no more than RUR 300-400 if my estimate is correct) or walk onto Kalininsky Avenue not far away and see the illuminations there (another Moscow highlight).

That thoroughfare ends with a view of the Russian White House, the new Moscow City cluster of skyscrapers, and Ukraine Hotel - all exceptionally beautiful at night. Could be a perfect half-day in my book. ;)

s019.radikal.ru/i606/1205/5e/7ee9e535f9b5.jpg

s019.radikal.ru/i637/1205/65/ee66de595e66.jpg

s019.radikal.ru/i635/1205/99/2dd745679231.jpg

Moscow, Russia
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9. Re: What to do with half day on arrival day?

kepi, your photo-guides are simply fantastic!

> Excursions are available, but their timing is unclear. I will report it if I happen to go by over the next week or two and see the announcements at the gate

I called them today and they say I need to come to the Moscow Museum office (in Zubovsky Blvd, NOT on the palace premises) strictly on May 14th to be able to buy tickets for the second half of May. They are not open every day but seem to have some random preallocated time slots for visiting. They need passport data to make a booking. I might actually go there as I have never been there myself and am curious.

Edited: 11 May 2012, 17:19
NY
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10. Re: What to do with half day on arrival day?

Typical Russia!