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Thread: Russia

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    Default Russia

    Has anybody been to Russia before? I have the opportunity to go and was wondering if anybody might have some tips for me. What to see, what to do, what or where to eat... etc... I believe I'll be in Moscow. (Sorry Brady - I'll send you a t-shirt! LOL)

    Thanks -

    Carol

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    Sounds like super fun! Wish I were going-

    Cheers-
    Brady
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    dazedandconfused is offline Getting the hang of it. Copper dazedandconfused is an unknown quantity at this point
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    Default Russia Info

    I've been to Russia five or six times over the past decade, and lived in Moscow briefly in 1995. My last trip to Moscow was in the spring of 2004, so some of my info may be dated, and I'm certainly no expert. You'll want to visit Red Square. It is breathtaking with St. Basil's Cathedral at one end, and is nice to see at night as well. Lenin's mausoleum is here, and at my last visit you were still able to pass by his body as it lies in an illuminated, clear encasement.

    Red Square is adjacent to the Kremlin, and you can tour some of the buildings and cathedrals there. There is an armory with some of the crown jewels and museums, and I thought it was interesting. There is a large, relatively new and beautiful cathedral of Christ the Savior just a short distance down the Moscow River, and I always enjoyed Gorky Park. On weekends, there is a fun souvenir village at Ismailovsky Park. It is becoming more commercialized lately,but you can find just about any souvenir there. I also enjoyed the Moscow Circus. There is an old one and a new one near Moscow State University in the Sparrow Hills area. Both were good.

    The Bolshoi theatre is famous, and any performance there is worth seeing. There are many good ballets, concerts, and plays at various theatres in town. The Tretyakov Art Gallery is world famous for Russian art. It was also interesting just to tour some of the Metro stations. Many are architectural works of art in themselves.

    Moscow is quickly becoming more westernized, but can still be very confusing. It would help if you have time to learn a little of the Cyrillic alphabet and some basic words and phrases. You'll likely need help getting out of the airport. Beware of con artists there and dishonest cabbies. There are a lot of restaurants in the downtown area. Some are easier than others to navigate, but many will have people that can understand enough English for you to get by. Language and transportation (other than Metro) can be challenging.

    If you have a chance to go to St. Petersburg, take it. St. P is prettier than Moscow and the Hermitage alone make it worthwhile. Also there are a lot of smaller towns that are day trips from Moscow, and these would be interesting as well.

    The Russians can seem gruff and reserved at first, but I've found them to be loyal friends who are generally helpful if you try not to act like an "ugly American". Have a great trip. I hope it is during the summer when the weather is warm!!
    Dazed and Confused

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    Thank you!

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    Dazed - how do you get help out of the airport? Besides knowing the language, what's the best way not to get conned?

    Thanks -

    Carol

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    wow - what an opportunity - GO and enjoy! I have had the best of luck in 3 during 4 international trips in the last 6 years - not to Russia - but there are good people everywhere and you might be safer than in a lot of American cities -
    if you have time -what I have done is find good travel guides and read them - I am not a big Fodor's guide fan - but do like Lonely Planet - and never get so rigid that you can't step outside the pages - but then I wouldn't expect that you would be that rigid!
    One thing I always forget to do that I have heard is important is to make a copy of your passport and leave a xerox at home and also carry a spare copy
    I also know its important - whether they say it is or not that you notify any of your credit card companies that you might use while traveling abroad - that you will be in a foreign country and approx dates - so they don't think some kind of fraud is going on. Two of my cards I had trouble with when recently in Thailand. They called my home and when my kids said no she's not here she's traveling in Thailand - they said they needed me to call them so they would know its me using my cards - have to say it is next to impossible to call credit card companies from overseas.
    I have found internet cafes are everywhere and great to communicate - I did take my new laptop and found I could find wireless connections in places I wouldn't have thought! lol
    I also highly recommend a fair digital camera which will use double A's and use rechargeable batteries and carry a charger - also current is different in most european countries - its worthwhile to buy a fairly good converter - I paid 15$ for the one I took to Thailand and it was good - left it there at the guest house I stayed at for the next traveler that hadn't bothered to find out what current was used - never occurs to many that all plugs are not made like ours! and don't waste luggage space on a hair dryer - pack light and save room for bringing things back -
    I had to mail some of the stuff I carried over - in order to make room for t-shirts etc I brought back - (Still waiting for the box of mostly dirty laundry - lol - to arrive form Thailand)
    In general for traveling overseas - international security is tight - good always to be sure to have minimum of jewelry - metal - and wear shoes easily slipped off - several places i needed to put my shoes on the belt to run through x-ray machines.
    there are sites that give hints and pointers as to what goes through security and what does not. check them out!
    if you can - make sure you can pack all your stuff in one suitcase - then split it out into two to check - half of everything in each - so that if one is lost for awhile you can still make it through a few days without the other -
    then you have plenty of room to bring things back.
    Also a set of suitcases with rollers that piggyback are the best - often have to travel on foot far distances in airports with them - much easier to roll - I got a fairly durable set of three that all strapped together at I think it was a Kohl's - like $40. and it held up well - avoid navy or red suitcases - get something off the wall - or odd - so it is easier to identify your own when it rolls of the baggage belts.
    Hope you get many pics and keep us to date as you can when you go! I will definitely have you in my thoughts and prayers!
    em - luanne

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    Great advice, Luanne! Thanks so much.

    Carol

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    dazedandconfused is offline Getting the hang of it. Copper dazedandconfused is an unknown quantity at this point
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    You'll likely arrive at the airport called Sheremetyevo 2. Going through customs is a little unsettling, but just follow the crowd and you'll do fine. There should be a currency exchange there so you can convert into rubles. Moscow can be an expensive place, especially for Americans, so be prepared. You should probably try to get a clearly marked taxi to take you into town. It'll cost more, but in the terminal there will be a lot of men asking you if you need a ride. Some may even pick up your bags and start walking toward the door so that you'll follow them. It is OK to forcefully say no if you are not comfortable with this, and they will comply. I don't think that any harm would come to you, but you need to understand the arrangements before getting into the car. On a couple of occasions, I've had them tell me that no buses are running, the subway is down, the highway is blocked, etc. It is just a scam to make you want to use them for transportation. If you are traveling alone, don't get into a private car (many people will pick up fares in their private cars) where there are 2 people. There is an information booth and taxi desk in the terminal and they should be able to tell you the fare to where you are going.

    There are a lot of good guide books that will give you better info than I can. Also many good websites. Here's one URL I found quickly with good info on taxis from the airport.
    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/travel...g/byplane.html

    Also, when you get to your hotel, the desk may keep your passport, as they have to register your presence there. This is disturbing to Americans, and is another reason to have copies of your passport that you can keep. They may keep your passport for a day or two, then you can pick it up. I never quite got used to this, but it is common in Russia.
    Dazed and Confused

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    I'm leaving today for Russia - can't believe I'm doing this - first Frankfurt, Germany and then Moscow. I'll try to send photos and will try to write. You all have been so supportive, especially off the boards. Thanks to everybody for your encouragement.

    But first, one more load of laundry! ha ha I'm such a mom.

    I have learned so much in the past month - even some Russian - I can find our suitcases, locate a taxi, a bank, and bathrooms male or female, and I can say "I don't understand." Of course they'll pretty much know that when I start laughing at the beginning of our conversation. I doubt many Russians get a Southern accent when somebody asks a question! LOL

    Spidey

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    Have a great time! Enjoy all about your trip and make sure you post lots of pictures and tell us about all your adventures!

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