26 March 2021
by Robert Paulson
I was born and lived in Moscow until 2006, when I was in my early teens. I wasn’t able to make it back until 2021, fifteen years later. The city managed to stay the same in all regards important to me, while vastly improving infrastructure. Moscow remains my absolute favourite city.
There is absolutely no trouble getting around the city on foot. The Metro is vast; its pass system now includes above-ground transport. An unlimited transit pass for one month is currently 2700RUB (~33USD). Getting into the city from the airport involves taking an AeroExpress at a whopping 400RUB (~5$).
The Metro system has nearly doubled in the last fifteen years. Its new cars have USB ports by the seats, digital screens of upcoming stops - though, I was happy to find out that the old cars are still in rotation. Stations are announced vocally, in both Russian and English.
I’m not a lawyer, so don’t take this as any kind of legal advice, but as I understand, one can drive with an American Driver’s License. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to find the legal stipulations around international driver’s licenses: these are defined in Article 25, parts 12 through 18 of Russian Federal Law. As long as the license has the name in cyrillic or latin characters, it should suffice - otherwise a notarized translation is necessary (I got mine translated just in case, this cost 900RUB (~10USD) and took Perevod.ru just a few hours to complete).
Yes, Russian automated registers require a PIN for credit cards. It takes banks seven to ten days to mail you the PIN and, at least in my case with Citi and Chase, there doesn’t seem to be a way around it. However, if you pay in-person with a cashier, no PIN is necessary.
Ozon is the Russian version of Amazon. Within the city, one can often get 90-minute or same-day delivery on select items. That said, it keeps declining my US credit cards, I’m not yet certain why.
Tips of ten percent are expected for the usual services like waiting, moving furniture, etc.
In Russia, one may not purchase a cell phone plan or open a bank account without showing a Russian internal passport or an international passport of another country - something you wouldn’t have, for example, if you’re a Russian citizen without another citizenship who left the country before turning fourteen and hasn’t come back in fifteen years. Very odd situation (that does get resolved, but not quickly) for some.
Absolutely fantastic Georgian cuisine.
Another great Georgian place.
Good food and beer to have on Arbat st.
Great food, smaller beer selection, quiet and relatively upscale.
Excellent food - especially the duck, chicken and tartar. The lamb was underwhelming, however.
Lots of good craft beer, tasty burgers, younger crowd and live music.
Just had a beer here: quiet atmosphere, spacious and clean.
A chain of Russian fast-food restaurants. Good, healthy food, beer, juices at a minimal price.
A simple anti-cafe: you pay either for an unlimited amount of time or by the minute (400RUB or 3RUB/min, respectively) and get free tea, coffee, candy, various other sweets and access to board games. Good place to work from: though probably not the best for remote meetings. There’s also a shower available.
A net of computer parts stores with many locations to pick up orders from.