Best way to travel from Moscow to St.Petersburg

Best way to travel from Moscow to St.Petersburg

Share Button

There are many ways to travel from Moscow to St. Petersburg. You can go by car (slow, uncomfortable, …), by plane (expensive but fast) or by train. I’d recommend this last option because you save time (departs at 23:55 and arrives at 7am), it’s cheap (you save the price of the hotel for that night) and you feel like if you were in the movie “Doctor Zhivago”.

Amongst all, the best is the Red Arrow that started its first regular service in 1921 and even has its own theme song that plays as it departs from Leningradsky Station (Komsomolskaya Metro Station, the most beautiful in Moscow). You won’t see any tourists (just locals), you’ll get a great night’s sleep (trust me…)… and its exciting! I went with my wife. At the beginning she wasn’t very convinced, but in the end she finally loved it!

The official web site for the train system of Russia and the CIS
More info here, here and here.

These are some of the highest ranked books in Amazon about Moscow, one of the best places in the world:

Click on the images to enlarge
[nggallery id=”17″]

Share Button
Guatemala's best lakes and lagoons

Guatemala’s best lakes and lagoons

Share Button

Guatemala is full of volcanoes, some of them feature turquoise lagoons, which fill their craters and stand 2,700 meters above sea level. Many of them are considered sacred by locals. I went there in 1993. I Especially liked Semuc Champey (natural pools), Ayarza (sleeping overnight at its shore is unforgettable) or Atitlan (the bigger and most popular, where I had the chance of doing water skiing in between the volcanoes!!). My friend Norma from Guatemala told me I missed Chicabal Lagoon and Lachua (the sky’s mirror) 🙂

Lakes and Lagoons, Semuc Champey, Atitlan

Click on images to enlarge[nggallery id=”16″]

Share Button
Jack’s Camp. Amazing experience in Botswana

Jack’s Camp. Amazing experience in Botswana

Share Button

While on a trapping expedition in the Makgadikgadi Pans during the 60’s, Jack Bousfield stumbled upon a site that so captured his imagination, he set up camp under an acacia with the unshakeable expectation that others would feel the same.

This place is called “Jack’s Camp” and it was considered in 2009 the Best Safari Camp in Africa. Located in Makgadikgadi, one of the largest salt pans in the world, in the middle of the dry savanna of north-eastern Botswana, the camp and the salt pan are, probably, the most unbelievable places I have ever been to.

Luxurious tents with en-suite bathrooms and outdoor showers, fashioned in classical style with Persian rugs and cool cotton sheets, are set in a palm grove creating an oasis of civilization in contrast with the rugged wilderness viewed from the comfort of one’s own verandah.

There are many amazing activities to do there: meet the Meerkats (Suricate), learn from the Bushmen to hunt and make fire, ride a quad bike along the salt pan and enjoy one of the most fascinating sunsets in your life.

If you can afford it and you want to experience something absolutely different, go there. It will certainly be a major highlight in your life!

UPDATE: People ask me if there is any special equipment you should wear or bring to the bush. Although you really don’t need it, I’d recommend to take a compass with you, good boots, good photographic equipment that protects your camera from dust… I usually buy stuff in this website that has a great selection of gifts.

Jack’s Camp website
Trip organized by Patricia Gallo
Photo credits: Pedro Sagüés

Click on the images to enlarge[nggallery id=”14″]

Share Button
Holbox Island. Paradise in Mexico

Holbox Island. The best places in Mexico

Holbox Island. Paradise in Mexico

Share Button

Just a 2 hour drive from Cancun you’ll find this paradise considered to be “Mexico’s best kept secret” and, in my opinion, one of the best places in the world. On the North coast of the Yucatan Peninsula with tiny and smart hotels, few tourists and no cars you’ll have the perfect vacation and the chance of swimming with the whale sharks. One of the best trips in my life!
www.holboxisland.com/

Click on the images to enlarge[nggallery id=13]

Share Button
Probably the best place for shopping in the world

Best places in Tokyo

Probably the best place for shopping in the world

Share Button

Apart from Amazon.com, Tokyo is the best place for shopping in the world. A World’s Shopping Paradise where you can find almost everything you need in just one square mile. Starting in Harajuku Metro Station go down the pedestrian street Takeshita Dori (where you’ll find the cutting edge of teenage fashion in Tokyo). At the end of the street, cross Meiji Dori and you’ll enter Harajuku (Jingumae) with plenty of second hand and young designers shops (personally, my favorite part). 5 blocks away is Omotesando street which is home to some of the world’s best fashion designers. I recommend visiting the Prada shop (on the other side of Aoyama Dori).
Takeshita Street
Omotesando Street

Click on the images to enlarge[nggallery id=”15″]

Share Button
Best metro/subway stations in Moscow

Best metro/subway stations in Moscow

Share Button

I lived in Moscow for almost a year from 1998 to 1999. One of the things I liked the most was visiting the different metro stations. In this post I want to share the ones I liked the most, those I consider the best metro/subway stations in Moscow.

First, let’s start with some facts: Moscow metro is the world’s second most heavily used with an average of 6.6 million users a day. Besides its beauty, the Moscow Metro works efficiently and the trains run very frequently and very fast. The original plan for building a metro system in Moscow dates back to the times of the Russian Empire, but had to be postponed because of World War I, the October Revolution and the Russian Civil War. In 1931 Stalin finally decided to start the construction of “the people’s palaces”, a display of the best Soviet architecture and design. During World War II many of the larger stations were used for important political meetings. During the Cold War, Arbat line stations were planned as shelters in the event of nuclear war with the United States.

Many of Moscow’s metro stations are elegant architectural masterpieces, with sculptures, giant chandeliers and mosaics. The ones I like the most are:

  • Ploschad Revolutsii: opened in 1938, the station features 76 magnificent bronze statues of soldiers and workers who defended the Soviet nation. This is the best station for visiting the Red Square.
  • Mayakovskaya: Impressive, elegant and large station with glistening chrome columns and vaults adorned with mosaic panels.
  • Komsomolskaya: Designed in the 50s, this is the most popular station in Moscow. A beautiful Baroque style palace adorned with arched yellow ceiling decorated with intricate medallions, giant chandeliers and large mosaics.
  • Other amazing stations are: Arbatskaya, Belorusskaya and Kievskaya. Among the new ones and far from the center, you´ll find beautiful stations such as Dostoyevskaya or Strogino. On your way to Ismailosky Park’s Market, which I imagine you’ll visit in your first time to Moscow, stop by Eletrozavodskaya. I loved that one too.

I recommend getting a cyrillic and phonetic metro map so you can compare the symbols, it will help you get around.

Did I miss any special station?

Is there a station that should definitely be listed in this post and I have forgotten? Have you got any suggestion to improve this blog? If so, please place a comment 🙂

Interesting links about the Moscow Metro, definitely the most impressive metro in the world:
Official website
Interactive evolution of Moscow Metro
Map in two languages (really useful)

Click on the images to enlarge[nggallery id=12]

Share Button