Moscow on a budget

Moscow is not a cheap destination for a citytrip. I went to this expensive Russian pearl because it was the start of my trip with the Trans Mongolian Express. I paid three hundred rubles, equal to seven dollars, for a cup of coffee. I decided to treat myself and buy one cup and immediately find out how I can enjoy Moscow without robbing a bank.

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Beautiful churches in Moscow

While I was walking through Moscow I kinda felt like I was in Disneyland. The pink and baby blue churches and buildings have something magical. If you think about Moscow, of course you are thinking about the famous Red Square. A must stop if you’re visiting the Russian capital! You can visit most churches in Moscow for free, but the Saint Basil Cathedral on the Red Square is an exception. The entrance fee is 350 rubles (December 2015). If you have a student card, use it. It’s always nice to get a discount, right? If the cashier has a bad day he will ask about a international student card, but most of the times a regular student card is okay. Both the inside and the outside of the Saint Basil’s Cathedral is a-ma-zing. If you climb up the towers you also have a really nice view over the square.

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The Kremlin & the Russian ballet on a budget

The Kremlin is the government center of the city. You will find here, besides some government buildings, for example museums, cathedrals, palaces and a theater. You can enter the Kremlin with a discount if you have a student card. But there is even a cheaper way to visit this beautiful place. At almost every street corner you will find booths where you can buy a ticket for a Russian ballet, theater or opera performance at the Kremlin Theater. You are allowed to enter the grounds of the Kremlin beforehand (usually two hours beforehand), so you can enjoy the amazing things you can see here before going into the theater.

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Also the Kremlin Theater is such an experience. And that for the price of a cup of coffee. If you buy your ticket last minute you usually pay five to ten dollars to attend a wonderful show. While I walked to the immense wardrobe with at least fifty employees I saw all the golden chandeliers above my head. My shoes were covered with mud, I had an really old jacket and the hat on my head was anything but chic. Quite a contrast with the people around me, who took off their coats and showed their beautiful dresses and expensive suits. Dresses and suits that probably cost more than my whole budget for Moscow. I tried to wrap my scarf as elegant as possible around me and started to walk into the beautiful gallery.

Putin makes sure everybody has a job in the Kremlin Theater. At least fifty more employees are welcoming people who are eager to enter the hall. When the doors finally open, I’m dreaming about another world. The world of One Thousand and One Nights. The lights are dimmed and the orchestra starts to play. I imagine how those Russian dancers have been drilled for years. Old ladies told them to do pliés for hours and put their legs high up in the air. But after a while I am dreaming about the magical world of Sinbad, Alladin and Ali Baba. The costumes, the decorations and the beautiful dancers are fascinating me until the end of the show. At the end I can do nothing but applaud and cheer loud.

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Free art on the Red October island

Near the magnificent Christ the Saviour cathedral you find a special district: the Red October island. You can admire all kinds of art here. Beautiful graffiti on the walls of old buildings. Creative souls like painters and designers who spend hours working in small workshops. Art in all sizes, in every corners of the district. One of my favorite museums I found here, the Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography. The exhibitions are temporary, but the pictures I’ve seen in the museum were special, beautiful and surreal. The special perspectives, colors and compositions also gave me inspiration for my own photography work.

And if you still want that cup of coffee…

An inexpensive option is to buy a pack of instant coffee. Most hostels and hotels have water boilers and within a few minutes you’ll have a cup of coffee. But let’s be honest, those cup of coffees suck. If you want a tasty and affordable cup of coffee in Moscow you have to go to Lyudi Kak Lyudi. This bistro on the Solyansky tupik is small but it’s always full. It’s hard to find a place with such good food for an affordable price. Coffee, fruit smoothies, vegetable soups and quiches: all for a nice price!

See? It’s possible to visit Moscow on a budget! Have you ever been to Moscow and do you have some extra tips? Please let them know in a comment below! By the way, have you already seen the Pretty Picture Time of the Trans Mongolian Express? A lot of pictures about an amazing train trip!

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