A co-worker sent out an email to see if anyone was interested in Moscow...in January. And I said "yes." But to make the flight worth it, I decided to visit a friend in Stockholm for a week before meeting the rest of the crew in Moscow. The trip was very fun, but very cold. Go figure.
I was able to talk a friend from Atlanta who works for Delta to spend all of $17 on a first class ticket to travel with me. We spent 8 days in Södertälje, Sweden, about a 40 minute train ride from Stockholm city, with a friend from school in his flat. The highlight museum was the Vasa, displaying a ship that sank in 1628, lost over the centuries, found and recovered in the 1960s, and restored in the years thereafter. One of the nights, we caught a hockey game at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. Tried to go on an cross country skiing or dog sledding expedition, but it turned out that everything was booked about a year in advance...so much for last minute planning. Gamla Stan (Old Town) was also a great spot to walk around and shop in during the day, and go out in at night.
Stockholm was wet and cold, around -7 C (20 F). Lots of ice and snow-melt. Moscow on the other hand was colder, but much more dry. It was around -15 C (5 F) the entire time but not nearly as much snow.
Moscow was also the less touristy of the two cities. Everything opens at 10 and closes at 5, so it was a little more difficult. Being with coworkers, we cashed in a couple thousand Starwood points to put ourselves up at the Hotel National, a 5-star hotel in the middle of Moscow, across from Red Square. Possibly the nicest hotel I've stayed in at that point in time. We visited Saint Basil's Cathedral and of course the Red Square, along with the Kremlin. We were only there for 4 days, so time was crunched. Getting around to the outskirts of Moscow was more or less impossible...the colors don't really mean anything on the metro, and not one person speaks any English. Luckily, there was plenty to do in downtown, and we were in the middle of it all. And about the metro...probably the most decorative I've ever been in. They were used for wartime meetings back in the day and were dressed up elaborately for the elite. A little different than MARTA.