The US-based magazine Travel + Leisure has recently revealed the results of its survey, where they asked their readers to rank 266 cities on everything from their value to the friendliness of their people:
Moscow found itself at the top of the world’s unfriendliest cities list, as the readers “didn’t find Muscovites to be particularly helpful.”
“We suspect the city’s notoriously bad traffic and general 'aloofness' of the people contributed to its low ranking, as well as its culinary scene, which was also ranked dead last in this year’s poll,” the magazine explained.
However, the British newspaper The Independent has published another opinion, saying that, instead, that a trip to Moscow is a “sequence of great experiences in the company of friendly people.”
Its reporter Simon Calder, however, reprimanded Russia for its visa process, claiming that “red tape involved in organizing a trip to Russia’s capital is even more tangled than it was before the collapse of communism a quarter-century ago”. However, he found many positive differences as well.
He noted the advantages of the capital step-by-step following his arrival.
Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, where he landed, “is the gateway of choice, with a fast rail link into the city,” he said.
And with the current exchange rate of the ruble, “the budget-minded traveler can enjoy the city with the lowest prices this century.”
The city’s transport system is easy to navigate.
“Getting around the city is also not a big problem, as compared with the wayward street networks that prevail in Western Europe, Moscow is a dream to get around.”
“Navigating the world’s most beautiful Metro system is easy (including a circle line that is a real circle). […] Above ground, almost anything that moves constitutes a potential taxi.”
And the old streets in the city center have retained the atmosphere of old times.
“Agreed, Moscow is not exactly a city on a human scale — but walking along Old Arbat Street between Arbatskaya Metro station and the towering, Stalin-era Foreign Ministry gives you some sense of the city before the ideologues and bulldozers moved in.”
Subtract the buskers and hustlers, and you could be back in the era of Alexander Pushkin — who wrote in Eugene Onegin: “Moscow… how many strains are fusing in that one sound, for Russian hearts! What store of riches it imparts!”