When in Moscow...

If you ever find yourself in Moscow for just one day, and if you happen to have a couple of kids with you as well, you might feel intimidated by the enormousness of the Russian capital and just decide to chill out, aka hang out at the hotel. However, as we found out, you don’t have to do it at all. You can still have lots of fun and – get that! – you can even take a peek at most of Moscow’s impressive sights and not feel horribly tired afterwards.

So if you are going to Moscow, or if you simply would like to find out what’s new up there, jump on board the plane with us and let’s fly!

Once landed, please DO NOT hire a taxi from guys who come up to you straight after you go through the Customs. It might seem like a no-brainer to you, but these guys look much more legit than they did, say, ten years ago. They are dressed in crisp white shirts and wear formal name tags, they carry neat yellow folders with taxi prices listed on letter-head stationary, they are clean-shaven and they smell nice. They will, however, rip you off shamelessly and make you wonder, “How much did I just spend on this cab?” But alas, it will be too late, because you have already paid for it and all you have to do is live with this shame for the rest of your life. The taxi from Domodedovo Airport to Novotel Hotel in the new Moscow Business Center cost us… attention - $186 US dollars. You must be thinking right now that I am not that bright. Come to think of it, you are probably right. Buy I figured that if you are like me:

- a Russian, hence firmly believing that nobody can fool me in my own country;

- a Russian who has been living abroad for quite a while, hence feeling somewhat displaced when you actually do come back to Russia;

- have your entire family with you, which makes you scatter-brained anyway – intensified tenfold when in a hectic airport environment;

- without a cell phone that works in Russia and without your usual lightning-speed addictive connection to the world-wide web;

- feeling completely frazzled by the recent changes in ruble-to-dollar rate – and yes, the prices are quoted in rubles…

… then you might want to remember this story forever and not let this happen to you!

So here we were, heading towards our chic hotel in the new Moscow-City, in the taxi that cost us more than a night at that gorgeous hotel. My husband Chris kept shooting me mortifying glares from the back seat, I was doing and re-doing frantic math in my flushed mind, and an entirely new and sun-kissed Moscow was zooming behind the window glass. We swore to each other that we would never tell anybody about it, so I decided to share the story with the whole world – just to make sure that it happens to as few people as possible.

So, if you speak Russian, click here and see the list of the taxis you can take (the list also includes phone numbers). If you don’t speak Russian, head over to the large Information Desk in the center of the lobby and ask them to call you a cab. For your reference, the transfer service from any of the airports to the city should cost you from 20 to 40 USD max, not more. It would also be helpful to have a cell phone that you can use in Russia. I bought one of these small and cheap basic phones and a local SIM card, and everything from then on was a breeze.

Stay at Novotel Hotel in Moscow-City