From Russia with Love! Egyptian Citizen Describes Trip to FIFA World Cup as “Tourist”

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Before FIFA World Cup 2018 kicked off in Russia, nearly no one thought of the hosting country as a touristic attraction, where people could spend their vacations and enjoy their leisurely breaks, especially here in Egypt. But after millions of people watched the most popular championship around the globe, Russia turned into a retreat destination where they can spend their coming vacations.

Russia, being the largest country in the world, covers more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, spanning Eastern Europe and northern Asia. The country became one of the most coveted destinations on Google Search after flawlessly organizing the most popular sports event ever known in soccer history: FIFA World Cup 2018.

To know more about Russia, we had a chit chat with one of the Egyptian fans who accompanied the Egyptian national team to Russia in his first visit; we spoke with Omar Ezz-Eldin about his impression about Russia as a tourist, in order to give you a full realistic overview for a new possible holiday destination.

Tell us everything about the trip! What was the cost of the trip to Russia? Including the price of the residency and movements, excluding the fees of booking tickets for the games?

Booking hotels are a little bit expensive, though you can book at a nice hostel at a cost range from 10 $ to 50$ per day; the best mode of transportation there is the Metro, as you can book 3 days in Moscow’s metro for 400 rubles = 7 $. The metro ticket called Troika enables you to move via both Metro & Bus. To cut it short, 500$ to 1000$ as pocket money would be enough for you to visit Russia for 2 weeks!

What is the destination in Russia you wanted to see before traveling? And have you found it as you pictured it in mind?

Before traveling to Russia, I dreamt of visiting the famous Red Square and St. Basil church, and I found it as fantastic as I’d pictured it! It is located in the center of Moscow and I had a good chance because my hostel was close by.

Which cities have you visited in Russia?

I visited Moscow first, then Yekaterinburg where the Egypt & Uruguay match was held, then Nizhny Novgorod, which is about 491 km from Moscow; I later visited Grozny the capital city of the Chechen Republic & finally St. Petersburg. St, which I think is the most beautiful city I have ever visited.

And how did you find Russia as a tourist. Does it have attraction spots like museums or monuments?

Yes of course, Russia is a historical modern country, it contains a lot of historical churches and mosques like St. Basil in Moscow and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, and Moscow’s Cathedral Mosque, there are also Modern landscapes, including a few sky scrapers in Moscow city.

What about the transportation network? Did you find it suitable and helpful enough for you as a tourist?

Yes it is suitable for any tourist, at first you must have a map of the city that you can grab from the airport, you can also upload the city map on your smartphone that informs you with all the Metro lines you can move through.

What about Russians, are they friendly people? And do they speak a second language other than Russian?

Russians are very friendly with Egyptians and I guess with every nationality, but I felt that they like Egyptians very much, as they helped me and my friends in many situations.

Russian food, is there something that distinguishes it and what is the most famous meal there?

Russian food recipes are great but they contain lots of calories due to the cold weather, they are famous for Bakeries too, and their most famous food is “Borshch”, which is a Russian soup.

From a scale 1- 10 Rate your trip to Russia... Have you enjoyed it as a tourist destination? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

I would rate my trip to Russia a solid 9/10, actually it was the most amazing trip I have ever had in my life, even though there are a few cons to the cities in terms of distance and the time it takes a to move from one city to another, like for example, it took me 26 hours by train & 3 hours by plane to get from Moscow to Katzenberg. Other than that, my trip was again fantastic.

Do you recommend others to travel to Russia for their vacations?

Yes if you have a low budget you can go to Russia, it is a great country and living there is not considered expensive.

Would you think about visiting Russia again as a touristic destination only?

Of course, I would be happy to travel again to Russia as a tourist in the near future.

What advice would you give to those who decide to visit Russia soon?

My advice to anyone who wants to travel to Russia is to learn a little bit of Russian, definitely take some heavy clothes with you as well, since the weather can get very cold. Surprisingly, it may also rain in the summer. You should also take your medication with you since it’s a little expensive there… Other than that, I’m sure that you’ll love Russia just as much as I did!