Dinaros for Rubles
Customs regulations have changed recently in Russia, and anyone that is familar with the tortuous procedures for declaring money brought into or out of Russia in the past may be pleasantly surprised.
Anyone can now bring $3000 into or out of the country without declaring anything at customs. If it is about $3000, but below $10.000 you need to declare it, but there is no problem. If you are bringing in or out more than $10.000 then you do need to show the source of such funds.
In the past, you had to declare everything; the limit was just $300; you were not allowed to bring rubles in or out; and even minor violations risked fines and or confiscation. This is a very positive step in the right direction for Russia.
I always suggest you carry some cash, just in case. There are exchange booths everywhere and their bid offer spread is better than anywhere else in the western world. However, the best way to get rubles or dollars is to use an ATM, which are also almost everywhere. And, it will be cheaper to buy your rubles onshore than at home.
If you need to use Western Union or one of their competitors to get cash, remember it will cost you up to 10% in commissions, which unless you are broke and desperate, it is much better to use your credit card. Please keep in mind that most banks are closed on the weekend, and not every bank will give a cash advance against a credit card. Naturally, you must have your passport for identification, too. Always be careful when using an ATM. Protect your password, and make sure no one is taking too great an interest in how much money you are withdrawing. I personally do not like sticking my credit card into a cash machine, just in case it gets eaten. Something to think about if you are planning to leave the country in less than a day, and you won't get your card back for several business days (if at all). A bank card is much better, as it can more easliy be cancelled, and then re-issued.
Like driving my car on a full tank, I prefer to get more cash before I run out. Cash is still universally the preferred method of payment in Moscow, although in emergencies, you will survive on credit cards.
Feast to the profit of the children of Beslan
Au niveau officiel la France a exprimé à plusieurs reprises sa solidarité avec la Russie après la tragédie de Beslan. Le 20 octobre l’Ambassade de France et l’association « L’Enfance pour la vie » ont offert aux enfants de Beslan soignés dans les hôpitaux de Moscou une petite fête.
Les élèves du Lycée français de Moscou avaient également été conviés à cette fête. Un spectacle a été organisé pour les enfants, auquel ont participé de jeunes musiciens prodiges de Russie, l’ensemble artistique Kolkhidari (Géorgie), l’ensemble de danse du centre culturel et éducatif Namous (Daguestan) et le théâtre du costume historique Nathalie. Ce spectacle a été précédé d’une représentation d’artistes de cirque fançais qui se produisent actuellement à Moscou puis suivi d’un goûter qui a réuni tous les enfants, les artistes et élèves du Lycée français. Le goûter et la représentation de cirque ont été offerts par l’Ambassade de France en Russie.
Tous les jeunes artistes ont été invités à la fête par l’association « Enfance pour la vie ». Cette association a été créée en 2000, sa devise : « Les enfants aident les enfants ». Les collaborateurs de l’association organisent des manifestations culturelles en France dont des concerts d’enfants prodiges russes. Les fonds ainsi récoltés sont destinés au traitement des enfants malades en Russie. ï To the official level France expressed its solidarity repeatedly with Russia after the tragedy of Beslan. October 20 the embassy of France and the association «The childhood for life» offered to the children of tidy Beslans in the hospitals of Moscow a small feast.
The pupils of the French High school of Moscow had also been invited to this feast. A spectacle has been organized for the children, to which participated young musicians prodigies of Russia, the whole artistic Kolkhidari (Georgia), the set of dances of the center cultural and educational Namous (Daguestan) and the theater of the costume historic Nathalie. This spectacle has been preceded of a representation of artists of the French Circus that occurs currently then in Moscow consistent of a snack that united all children, the artists and pupils of the French High school. The snack and the representation of circus have been offered by the embassy of France in Russia.
All young artists have been invited to the feast by the association «Childhood for life». This association has been created in 2000, its motto : «The children help the children». The collaborators of the association organize cultural demonstrations in France of which of the concerts of children Russian prodigies. The thus harvested funds are destined to the sick child treatment in Russia.
Chambers were built in 1653-1655 as a Kremlin residence of the Patriarch of Orthodox Church. In living rooms is a museum now. Besides chambers were a place for feasts and celebrations for foreigners and in state celebration days.
Ilya Glazunov - People's Artist
Opposite the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art there is a vividly painted turquoise and white house - you can't miss it. Once a wealthy merchant's house, and now restored to its original opulent grandeur, it houses an huge collection of the works of Ilya Glazunov, Russian best known and much-loved, if controversial, modern artist.
The collection is wide-ranging, from student works to his latest output. Portraits of friends and family, politicians, the Kings of Sweden and Spain, western film stars, notable Russians, saints and sinners hang next to landscapes, illustrations of fairy stories and enormous allegorical paintings about Russia. Works in every medium from oil and chalks to collage and etchings are on show. In a career that has lasted 50 years and continues still, Glazunov has produced more than 3000 works and still found time to work on such projects as the restoration of the Kremlin palaces. The gallery is always thronged with visitors and any new exhibition draws huge numbers. As well as the honours heaped on him by the Russian government and people, Glazunov has been honoured by UNESCO for his contribution to Russian art.
Whatever your feelings about the art on display here, and the jury is out on that, the galley is worth a visit for the light it shines on modern Russia.
Make a Wish and throw a coin
All roads in Moscow are supposed to originate from this spot. Make a wish and throw the coins, maybe the babushkas will catch them. I'm not sure where the good luck part comes in, or what the legends are associated with this, but if you go by it, you will see people throwing coins over their shoulders.
The beggar women know all languages. I told one I didn't speak English, 'Italiano!' I said, and was greeted in Italian so strongly accented I could barely make it out.
Shewas the only Italian speaker I met in the entire trip.