Just Three Months!
- By Michele A. Berdy
- Jun. 09 2015 00:00
Summer in the capital cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg may seem a bit grim this year. News on the political and economic fronts is depressing, and the poor exchange rates have kept many people from taking vacations abroad. In fact, a lot of people are too stressed, or too worried about money, to even take a vacation in Russia.
But here at The Moscow Times, we say: Come on, stop whining!† Summer in Russia is just three months! Just three short months of green lawns, comfortable sandals, locally grown fruits and vegetables… just 90 days of outdoor concerts and film festivals and bike rides… just one fourth of the year for playing outdoors with your kids!
To help you make the best of it, we've gathered together recommendations for summer dining, frolicking in parks, entertaining your kids, enjoying staycations, and taking some "me" time in the country's spas and wellness centers.
We checked out hotels, especially some new ones, and came away with the conviction that Moscow and St. Petersburg are second to none in the variety, level of service, and sheer beauty of their hotels. We also happily realized that since not many people have figured this out, hotels have dropped their prices to bring in new clientele. That means: weekend getaways! Check out the summer promotions and book a reservation in one of the capital cities.
Despite the various sanctions on food imports, the summer menus at our favorite restaurants and cafes seem to have only gotten better. If anyone's offering buckwheat groats, they're stuffed in roasted ducks or turned into a delectable risotto. Summer dining is light, fresh and creative — and comes along with summer's best cocktails and fruity drinks. Leave the car at home, and bask in the ambiance of courtyard and rooftop terraces!
If you need more pampering, we have put together our list of favorite spas — for this year, anyway — which range from modest to sublime, and include treatments and techniques from all over the world. And since summer is a good time for tune-ups of any kind, we've also given some tips on wellness centers.†
If there is one aspect of life that is getting better in the two capital cities, it's the parks. They are cleaner, better cared for, greener and lusher. Most of the old honky-tonk has been torn down and replaced with …nothing — just grass and fields and trees. These peaceful settings now host dozens of events, classes, festivals, and activities both healthy and cultural. Best of all — many of them are free! Get our your sunscreen and hit the beach!
This year parents won't be eager to send their kids out of the city to summer camps and dachas.† Parks, museums, cafes, theaters, concert halls and festivals are all rolling out the red carpet for little visitors. There are dozens of activities that expand the minds and bodies of little people, serving up knowledge and skills with a big dollop of fun. Check out our suggestions and follow the links to online resources for up-to-date calendar information.
So dig in! Take a break from your everyday lives and enjoy the summer riches of Moscow and St. Petersburg. They won't last long!
Michele A. Berdy