If you’re thinking of going to Greece this summer and haven’t booked your tickets yet, and if you’ve ever thought about visiting Russia, now’s your chance!
One of the biggest bargain flights – as of this writing available in ample quantities throughout the summer – is on Aeroflot, from JFK International Airport in New York to Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens – with a pit stop in Moscow!
Personally, I’ve never been to Russia – so please take this all with a grain of salt. Rather than a review of what it’s like to spend a few hours there, or even partake in an overnight jaunt, I merely convey this information and encourage you to do a little more exploring on your own. Talk to Americans who have been there, especially recently, and they can tell you what to expect.
According to a Delta Airlines official with whom I spoke recently, visitors can travel there and stay for 24 hours without a visa – and even longer if they’re flying on Russian aircraft, such as Aeroflot.
Because of how Russia is portrayed in the media, there is a perception that even setting foot there would get you thrown into one of President Vladimir Putin’s KGB jails and you’ll be shipped off to Siberia, never to be heard from again. Then again, people have similar notions about Greece these days – that if you visit there, you’ll likely to be hit by a Molotov cocktail thrown by an austerity protester, or trampled on by panicked Athenians rushing to the bank to withdraw what little money they have left there.
Of course, you can, and should, use your own judgment, assessed from an array of sources, about what is fact and what is fiction regarding your travels anywhere: whether Yemen or Yellowstone Park.
As for the second-biggest concern, the weather, this one’s a lot easier to pinpoint. You won’t have to worry about packing winter clothes, if your experience with Russian weather has been limited to watching the film Dr. Zhivago. The average temperatures in June, July, and August are wonderfully comfortable – in the low 70s. In fact, if you leave sweltering New York City midsummer headed toward sweltering Athens, a little cooling off in Moscow may be just the respite you need.
Finally, if you think “Moscow’s too far,” think again. Russia’s capital is actually closer from New York City than Athens is, in terms of flight distance. Sure, it’s farther East, but there’s no heading South. Remember, Athens’ latitude is closer to that of the Carolinas than to New York. So the trip from New York to Moscow is actually a little less in flight time than that to Greece – and after a break of a few hours or a night’s sleep, the flight to Athens, at about four and a half hours, seems like a hop, skip, and a jump.