My Solo Female Trip To Moscow
I decided to take a trip upon impulse; A solo trip to Moscow for the weekend from London, full of Russian history, Ballet, Opera, weaponry training and a trip to Moscow Zoo! Who ever said you can’t travel alone with a full time busy job and a young child!
I was scrolling through European destinations as far to the edge of Europe as possible on BA.com, I saw Moscow and thought “Why an earth not!” It took me around 15 minutes to decide if I wanted to or not, I hit the purchase tab and paid for my ticket, Woohooo I was going to Russia. I was now a solo female traveller as this was my third trip alone this year! (Dusseldorf for business earlier in the year then a few weeks after that was my Jordan adventure).
I Paid £270 for my flight with British Airways which included check-in luggage (which I didn’t use). The price is fairly expensive especially when you add in the cost of the Russian Visa at an incredible £80! However my heart was set on visiting Moscow and I had a long weekend to myself which I just didn’t know if I would get the opportunity again soon. What I liked about this was that I knew I was spending a lot of money on the flights and Visa that I just had to make my trip worth it. You can read my guide on what I got up to during my 48 hours in the Russian Capital.
The weather was pristine, no clouds, lots of sunshine, this picture of Saint Basils Cathedral was beautiful.
Domodedovo Airport just across the road from the AeroExpress Terminal.
I had so many people ask me why an earth was I going to Russia, I just rolled my eyes and said to myself, ‘here we go again’.
“Have you seen the news!”
“There are big problems in Russia, what are you doing?”
“Cancel your flight and get some money back”
“It’s dangerous to go, don’t do it!”
I distinctly remembered the scene from Disney’s The Lion King of Simba “hahahahaaa I laugh in the face of danger!” But in truth it wasn’t dangerous and I knew that.
The list went on and on, for the people who know me, I do not have nor watch TV at all, I rarely watch the news, it’s all full of propaganda and brainwashing news bulletins… no thanks! So when people were telling me Russia was at war with Ukraine and that it’s too dangerous to go I started looking online, I read yes there are problems but there are much worse issues in other places and people still travel, I decided to ignore people scaring me into cancelling my flight. I read wonderful reports from other travellers and wanted to experience the same.
I headed to London Heathrow at 6am for my British Airways flight to Domodedovo Airport (Московский аэропорт Домоде́дово) in Moscow, Russia. Domodedovo is the largest airport in Russia and the former USSR in terms of passenger and cargo traffic (30.76 million passengers used the airport during 2013) The flight time was around 4 hours.
I landed safe and well, refreshed and relaxed.. until I went to passport control, it had such an eerie Soviet Union warlike feel to it, everything felt lifeless and looked old fashioned, I could’t wait to get out into the fresh air, after collecting my bag I headed to the exit, I had no idea which way to go, all I knew was I needed to find the Aero Express train terminal for my direct train to Paveletskaya metro station. Taxis to and from the airport cost around £60-70 each way, there was no way I was going to pay that for a weekend trip, so I checked the train times and tickets; trains run every 15 minutes and takes 50 minutes approximately from Domodedovo to Paveletskaya (Павелецкая). The ticket only cost around £4-5 for one way.
About to board the Aeroexpress train from Domodedovo Airport’s Domodedovskaya underground station to Moscow’s Paveletskaya station.
Russian Metro stations are reported as being among the Worlds finest
I chose my hotel based on budget and closeness to the main garden ring so I could see the main touristy attractions quickly and convieniently and the metro station.
On the way into Moscow City via the Aeroexpress I picked up a travel magazine from the chair in front and pulled out the Metro map, I felt bad but I really needed it! It had all the station names in Cyrillic which no other travel guide had, I was now able to match up the Cyrillic from this map and my English map to all the stations and find my way around with so much ease! (If you only have the metro station names in English you will struggle; the letters are completely different!)
Metro Super Tips!
- Moscow Metro: http://mosmetro.ru
- Moscow Metro Tips + virtual tour in English: http://guyssquared.com/moscow-metro/
I stayed at the IBIS hotel in Paveletskayait was very well priced in comparison to the other hotels within the same proximity, it was fairly new, very clean and well maintained, the closest station Paveletskaya had good links to the other Metro lines and run vertically north through the center of Moscow (not forgetting the direct link to the Airport – The green line).
For a list of Moscow Metro Lines
Getting To My Hotel
It was confusing to find my hotel initially from the Metro station so I approached a uniformed guard, he called someone to come and take me to the tourist desk back inside the station which I so conveniently missed as it so happens, the lady there gave me a really good map for free and directed me to my hotel after working together to find it on the map – Good old Anglo-Russian team work! After a 10 minute walk to my hotel I passed a church, some mini fast-food vendors and some very tall buildings, I checked in and went up to my room I was fairly impressed, it was clean, spacious, bright and had a good layout, the view from the window wasn’t bad either, I had read on Trip Advisor that it was advisable to take a room closer to the top of the building if you wanted a quiet rest so I requested that when booking; I got the 5th floor, first room on the immediate left if you wish to know 🙂
When entering my room I searched and looked around, under the bed, checked windows, lights, locks and water ect as I always do when staying at a new place, nothing worse then stripping off to realise the hot water doesn’t function, once happy I started to unpack my belongings and neatly arranging my clothes, toiletries and documents I like everything organised so when I need to get going I can do so easily without faffing around. I hadn’t slept much at all the night before, perhaps only 3 hours, I planned to sleep from 6pm to 8pm (sunset was 9pm) so I could go out and get some food and water…. I woke up and actually thought I slept right through till the next afternoon jumping out of bed thinking nooooo I only have 2 full days here I couldn’t have slept that much! I mean how terrible would that have been. I looked out the window and saw the moon was really red, It was 1am in the morning and I had read about a blood moon in the news back in London, I saw the moon was distinctively red; was it the April 2014 lunar eclipse?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_2014_lunar_eclipse
Church of Christ the Saviour
I took a lovely walk from the Church over the bridge across to Gorky Park where there are loads of kids riding thick wheeled mountain bikes and skateboards, perfect due to the many ramps and slopes available. I passed many open air art galleries with all types of pictures for sale.
Kremlin from the Red Square
Bolshoi Theatre at Dusk.
St Basil’s Cathedral in the Red Square
Monkey Madness @ Moscow Zoo
Duck Pond, Moscow Zoo
My trip to Moscow wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the local Zoo! I approached the Zoo at around 10am, no queue, no problem. I purchased my surprisingly cheap entrance ticket, couldn’t have been more than £6, I walked through to explore the animals and scenery. This was really a City Zoo unlike London Zoo which once inside you no longer feel you are in the hustle and bustle of a Major City, there were tall buildings towering overhead, the zoo even had a bridge that goes over a main road into the other side.
Zebra Enclosure smack bang in the centre
Sea lion enclosure
Timon and family
Extremely friendly Giraffe
After about 2 hours of looking around I grabbed an ice-cream and headed for the exit, It was time to travel to the shooting range…
Very busy with a long wait to get in after I left at midday.