When a wedding came up earlier in the year with a Moscow destination I was in between two minds about going….. for about three seconds!! I just knew in my heart this was going to be such an adventure and I was so excited at the prospect of going somewhere I knew very little about and didn’t know anyone who had been there before. The gadabout in me was doing summersaults!
* I flew directly from Nice in France after my holidays there. There are currently no direct flights to Moscow from Dublin so on my return, I flew Lufthansa with a connection in Frankfurt and it worked a breeze. But the good news is Aerofloat who are the Russian national airline are starting direct flights to Dublin from October 2018!
* The Visa… oh dear the visa! Prepare to put some work in here. For a tourist visa into Russian you must
* 1. Get the hotel you are staying in to give you a voucher for the days you stay in the country. (You must be staying in the hotel to get the voucher so AirB&B would prove difficult. Days in Country MUST equal days staying in Hotel. A voucher shows that the hotel simply ‘couch’ for you while in the country.
* Apply for you visa online at the Russian Federation Embassy here. This is a little tricky… contact you hotel to find out their trading name as this is the name the government look for. For example: I stayed in the Four Seasons Moscow. In my visa I had to put ForSe Ltd and their address. Be sure to be in good contact with the hotel for any questions.
* Be sure to pay extra for the fast track processing. The embassy holds your passport while processing you visa so with fastrack you can receive your visa as quickly as 2/3 days, in contrast without it is around 6 weeks.
* When applying to the Embassy, have a copy of your travel insurance to prove you have health cover while in Russia.
* Passport photo
* The fee must be in the form of a postal order you can get from any An Post.
* Once you can get over the visa hump, you’re away in a hack!
Where we Stayed:
* As I mentioned above we stayed in the Four Seasons in Red Square as that was where the wedding was being held but couldn’t recommend it enough. Really accommodating and friendly staff and being located right beside the Kremlin the location couldn’t be better.
A Russian Wedding:
*it was probably one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to and the entertainment was non stop from the moment the vows were made. We were literally dancing before the main course arrived and I felt like I was front row at the Eurovision! So. much. fun!!
Things to do:
* Visit the Kremlin. This is an enclosed complex where all the historical buildings such as palaces and cathedrals are situated. You will need tickets to enter so buy them in advance OR our concierge organized them for an extra fee. I’m pretty sure they paid someone to stand and queue for an hour for tickets for us by hey that’s Russia for you. Fun Fact Putin lives in there and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
* The Armoury is definitely the best museum to check out as it has all the Crown Jewels, tabernacle eggs, royal carriages, thrones and clothing. The Russians took royalty to the next level as its truly fascinating.
* Visit St. Basils Catherdral. This is the colourful real life Disney castle and stands as the iconic symbol of Russia. It was a church built in 1554 (HOW in that era? So impressive!) and is now mainly a museum. It’s an absolute must and the real highlight for me.
* For mealtime go for brunch on the rooftop of the ritz Carlton as it has the most spectacular views over the kremlin. I went for an omelette and freshly squeezed orange juice.
As we only went to Moscow for the weekend and squeezed the wedding in too I would love to return and do more. I went to Moscow not knowing what to expect and with almost low expectations but I was genuinely so impressed by the what I saw and learnt. I would love an opportunity to visit again in the future!