Europe Russia Travel Diary

Why you should visit Moscow in winter

It was as if I was asking my husband to jump in a freezing lake for a swim, or dance naked on the streets.

I am not going with you to Moscow in December. That’s that!” He had said with such ferocity when I asked him if he would like to come with me to this beautiful city this time round.

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Sure, I knew it was going to be heading straight into winter, I knew the warnings of -15C range temperatures, but I was excited. I am loving the cold, it is still a novelty for me to be in this kind of cold, and the promise of snow was just the icing on the cake!

So merrily, I arrived back in Moscow for another week and it had been surprisingly warm. The week averaged around 0, which is warmer than November when I was here last. Remnants of snow from the previous week was still visible on Monday but has now melted away over the course of the week.

What I saw, was a wintry heaven. Light dusting of fluffy snow rested on the sidewalks, reflecting the red, blue and gold Christmas / New Years street lights that had been put up to celebrate the festive season. Despite the falling Rouble, there’s still the cheerful atmosphere, as people refused to let a bit of economic down turn dampen their spirit.

Every visit to Moscow I take a walk in the Red Square. A giant skating rink had been set up for the enjoyment of the old and the young.

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It never cease to amaze me that even though the later the night the colder it gets, the crowder the streets get too. Wrapped in their armour of beanie, scarf, thick jackets, gloves and boots, they sit in the park for a chat, or simply just stroll around the city catching on the day’s gossip.

Life is to enjoy even at the cost of a cold winter!

The Russians will celebrate the new year first, as their Christmas (the orthodox calendar) isn’t until the 7 January. However, understanding that there’s another world outside whose Christmas falls in December, there are attempts at bringing the festive season forward to please the city’s visitors.

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Christmas markets are dotted around the city. It isn’t like the German or English markets where they are concentrated around the squares. These wooden huts are pretty much built on anywhere with a bit of pedestrian footing, surrounded by fairy lights, Christmas trees, ice and street sculptures (with more lights).

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The best thing? Moscow isn’t crowded in winter. You can browse the markets in relative isolation, and enjoy the surrounds as they slowly twinkle away in the backdrop.

This is the magic of winter.

This is why you should also try to visit Moscow in winter.

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