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Moscow on business - any advice from expats?

(7 Posts)
mrsshackleton Mon 15-Jun-09 16:17:41

Hello, I thought I'd post here rather than in travel as I think it'll be spotted more easily. I'm going to Moscow for work next week and am v excited as the last time I went I was 15 which was - ahem - a rather long time ago and Russia was somewhat different.

However, I'm also a bit scared. Is Moscow safe for a lone woman? The company I'm working for (am a freelance) are very tight and there is no way I'll be provided with a car/security/a five-star hotel, like most people I know who go on business there. I'm assuming it's a safe place to walk around by day but is there anything I should/shouldn't know? Any advice really welcome. Thank you! smile

LouLovesAeroplaneJelly Tue 16-Jun-09 09:16:54

I can't really tell you much about it but I was there about 18 months ago (alone) and never felt unsafe. Caught the trains (I love love love the Moscow metro system), wandered through Moscow alone and never had a problem. Just act confident. Carry your passport at all times (you have to be able to show ID at all times) and have a fab time.

Louise2004 Tue 16-Jun-09 16:34:05

Moscow is a safe place overall (apart from the usual scams and pick-pockets in the touristy areas), although it's always advisable to be careful, as you would in any large city. Generally I feel safer walking around here alone than I do in London, both during the day and evening/night (it's light now until late so that helps).

It has changed a lot recently, let alone over the last 15 years! There are some great restaurants and bars, as well as all the theatres etc. Whereabouts will you be staying and working? I'd be happy to recommend some places nearby for you.

A few sources of online information include:

www.inyourpocket.com/russia/city/Moscow.html - new and useful guide
www.mnweekly.ru - weekly newspaper
www.passportmagazine.ru - monthly magazine
www.themoscowtimes.ru - daily newspaper
www.redtape.ru - check the forum
www.childreninmoscow.ru - for families (from your post it doesn't seem like you're travelling with children but I've included this in case anyone does a search for Moscow information in future!)

I'm sure you'll have a great time smile

mrsshackleton Wed 17-Jun-09 19:28:36

Thank you both very much for that - I am no longer scared but excited

Travel details have not yet arrived but I think I'll be staying pretty centrally - knowing the Metro is safe is a great comfort. My main worry is getting in to town from the airport as I'll be arriving quite late. Is it best to book a taxi in advance online or are the companies at the airport OK? Also are shops open on Sunday as that will be my only real day off and the only chance to buy presents for the dcs who naturally are expecting a lot in return for their mum daring to abandon them for three days!

Louise2004 Thu 18-Jun-09 09:56:28

It's probably best to book a taxi in advance, although there is a taxi booking desk as you exit the carousel/customs area at DME (I'm not sure about SVO but they probably also have a taxi desk there). In any case, you should avoid the numerous "taxi, taxi" people as you exit the carousel/customs area and head straight for the taxi desk if you don't book one in advance. Here are some taxi companies that I've used previously (the prices should be a set rate from the airport to the centre):

Taxi Citroen +7 495 956 8956
Taxi Martex +7 495 778 8822
Woman Taxi +7 495 662 0033

There's also a good AeroExpress train link now from DME to Paveletskaya station in the centre, which is a good alternative if you don't have much luggage. Their schedule is listed on their website: www.domodedovo.ru/en/main/getting/1/aero/1/. There's also a train link now from SVO; schedule at: www.aeroexpress.ru/en/schedule/sheremetievo/.

Yes, shops are open on Sunday (Moscow is one of the very few real 24 hour cities I've been to!). How old are your dcs? I could suggest some suitable gift and shops to visit so you don't waste time visiting a whole load of different places. Izmaylovo market, for example, is good for general souvenir and gift hunting. There's also a link on the British Women's Club website of Soviet/Russian poster reprint packs for sale if you/your dcs are into this kind of thing: www.bwcmoscow.co.uk/4735.html.

mrsshackleton Thu 18-Jun-09 20:59:02

Thanks so much Louise, I've booked a taxi from the airport, although they haven't got back to my email hmm so may use the official desk as second best if nobody shows. I think the price was 1450 rubles, does that sound about right?

Arriving at Sheremetovo 2

My dcs are 4 and 2, girls, so any suggestion of somewhere to head for something girlie would be great. Poster packs also look fab but the email I sent bounced back. I am noting a theme with not getting through to Russia via email).

You are a complete star, thanks so much for all this [smile}

Louise2004 Fri 19-Jun-09 06:21:21

Generally they're not very good here on email so it's probably better to call the taxi company or, as you say, just get one on arrival. 1450 rubles sounds about right to the centre, so that's fine.

Your girls would probably like matrioshka dolls, traditional decorated wooden or ceramic toys/gifts and that kind of thing - there are plenty at Izmaylovo market if you have time to go there (it's on the Metro) or there are lots of stalls and souvenir shops along Stary Arbat. You can negotiate the price at the market and along the Arbat. They also sell these kinds of gifts at the airport but it's more expensive there (the same goes for the hotels and shops like Detsky Mir).

For the posters you could try the BWC newsletter email instead: bwc_newsletter (at) yahoo.co.uk (given on the website), which should work. They'll certainly be cheaper buying them directly than buying them from the market or shop. I know they also sometimes sell them at the expat women's groups.

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