Changes at Cheap-Moscow.com
I have previously written about the Website www.cheap-moscow.com, which provided extensive information on ways to save money in what can be a very expensive and intimidating city. So when I checked the site recently, I was disappointed to discover that while the site still exists, its founder "Uncle Pasha" has left Moscow.
He has relocated to a town called Kandalaksha on the Kola Peninsula east of Murmansk. (Yes, I had to get out the atlas also) in Russia's far north. He is still in the tourism business to some extent, but now mainly for this remote area. For apartment rentals and other tourist services in Moscow, he recommends contacting his friend Olesya at www.russiangirlfriday.com.
Apparently the tourist and Website business did not prove sufficiently rewarding, and he announc3d in one blog post that he was seeking a regular job. He posts some interesting pictures and stories from his current location, and recommends that foreign visitors with any interest in the region plan to visit soon. It seems the government is considering making this a closed region for foreigners, as it was during Soviet times.
The good news about the Kola Peninsula is that there are cheap tourist options there, including a private room with bath for $25 a night. I thought the area would be extremely cold, and I suspect it is at times. But when I checked the weather, I discovered that at the moment it is pretty similar to what we have in Montreal--varying between zero and 25 degrees Fahrenheit. In summer Kola enjoys more than its share of the famous Russian mosquitoes.
It is too bad that tourism in Russia is such a tough sell to foreign tourists. I blame the media for much of the unfavourable perception many people in North America have about Russia. Even many of the media now covering the Sochi Olympics admit that they have been very pleasantly surprised by local hospitality. If only more people would travel to Russia, our view of this vast and fascinating country might start to change.
For more about how to visit Russia cheaply, consult my electronic book Budget Travel Tips for Russia, available on my Website, www.travelwriterforhire.com. Below, St. Basil's Cathedral, one of the iconic images of Moscow.