Saransk

Saransk is over 600km from Moscow and is the capital city of Mordovia. In 2018 it will be one of the host cities for the FIFA world cup. With a return flight costs less than £15 I spent one day and one night there exploring with my lovely friend Hayley.

Door to door it took 4 hours to get from Moscow to Saransk, the flight was 1.5 hours and we took a taxi from the airport to the hostel. In Saransk there is a taxi App called Maxim which seems to be a small town equivalent to Uber. Once in the town we checked early into our hostel, Hostel Klyuch. A small hostel with the most welcoming owners, they allowed us to check in early and made us feel at home straight away. The hostel is in a good location, a pleasant 15 minute walk from the town centre. The only odd thing about the hostel is that it is located on the grass common between two streets of residential flats, when arriving you do have to keep an eye out for the sign.

We made a plan to wonder into town going through the Gorodskay Park on our way. Here there is a Zoo, an amusement park and lots of interesting sculptures dotted around. A small car-train for children and adults also drives around the park.

Crossing the river at the end of the park we reached a tall staircase, once at the top you are met by the beautiful Cathedral Sobor Theodora Ushakova to the left and the memorial museum on the right.

Next we walked along Proletarskaya Ulitsa, we were then going to take a taxi to Proletarskiy Rayonnyy Sud (another Cathedral) however as we were close to a bus stop decided to brave the public bus. This proved to be incredibly easy, we waited a few minutes for the number 35, a mini bus pulled up, we jumped on, dotted around the small bus were signs saying 17rub, (this is the fixed ticket price). We then stood in the isle and held on for our lives as the bus weaved in and out of traffic, stopping occasionally to let people on and off. Eventually a seat become free and I manage to sit down. Watching google maps, it was soon to be time to get off, Hayley shouted ‘STOP’ to the driver, and sure enough, there and then he stopped. Off we got, crossed the road, walked through a small green square and reached the cathedral.

After a quick bite to eat at Leon we took a Maxim taxi for £1 to the large forest in the west of the city. The driver was reluctant to drop us off as the day before the military were in the forest training. Something worth checking out if you plan to go here. The forest was very pretty with foot paths and small streams criss-crossing through the forest. There were a few other people walking, once we had got through the initial mud and puddles we had such a lovely chilled time.

As we were quite far from the city centre by now we chose to take a bus to Ploshchad Tysyacheletiya where there is the Palace of Sports, I imagine this will be some sort of hub for the FIFA world cup.

Failing to find a roof top restaurant for dinner we settled with the Fat Pig, delicious food and a great atmosphere, we stayed here for the evening before walking back to the hostel and crashing out after a long day of sightseeing and adventuring.

The next morning we woke up bright and early the owner of our hostel kindly took us to airport, which is brand new, amazingly small and super simple. Over all it was a fantastic trip, beautiful weather made wondering around a real pleasure. I personally feel that a day in Saransk is enough time, it is a small city with super transport, beautiful architecture and great parks.

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