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Old 10-08-2007, 10:33 AM   #1
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okay so with the whole monet vandalsim at the d'orsay in paris (see my thread) has revived my dream to make the trek to moscow and see my favorite monet painting which is at the pushkin. with the change of my leave dates from spring to mid-summer I will have to shit-can my trip to the galapagos/ecuador (the place I had reservations at is booked then), so I have been looking for somewhere else to go. I hear it's pretty expensive to go to, which makes the timing perfect as this may be the only time in my life for awhile that I have a good amount of money saved...

a few questions before I get too excited. if I go I will probably spend like 8-10 days in russia. how accessible is st. petersburg from moscow? I'd like to do both if time allows it. just how expensive are we talking about? I am pretty thrifty and good at cuting corners (just because I will have the money to go doesn't mean I want to blow all my deployment money on travel).

what are some things I MUST see at either? how is mass transit? any comments/suggestions?

it will be beginning of july/mid july when I go which I know is peak... is it completely overrun with people at that time?? I hear it rains in the summer a lot.

anyhoo, yeah. any comments/suggestions would be appreciated
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:53 AM   #2
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Looks like 5-8ish hours depending on which train you book b/w the two.

http://www.waytorussia.net/Transport...etersburg.html

That is DEFINITELY a trip I would love to hear about! Expect encouragement from me!
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:14 AM   #3
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I think I am 99.9% convinced this is what I am going to do. the pushkin is apparently known for the impressionism gallery which really excites me besides my prize monet being there. I've been on the horn to my best friend who more or less told me "if you're going to have the money... fuck it... GO!"

I like the way she thinks. :D
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Old 10-08-2007, 06:11 PM   #4
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there is an overnight train between st petersburg and moscow which we affectionately dubbed 'the party train' as it is awesome fun to bring lots of beer (or vodka in a water bottle as you are not allowed to bring spirits) and mingle with other people in the carriage. Arriving in moscow hungover is not one of my best memories but its still a memory all the same. When I was researching russia I ended up putting the whole thing in the too hard basket and booked a tour with On The Go tours - they have a pretty big range of russian tours and it's mainly young people so it's fun. We did a 6-day tour of just St Petersburg and Moscow which was $800 australian dollars for accommodation, breakfasts, a few bus trips, the overnight train etc. The tour company has 'add-on' activities you can choose from so you usually end up paying more but the other option is not to choose them and this leaves you with lots of free time instead of being forced to go on a tour to a place you have no interest in.
Even if you didn't go for a tour (we ended up choosing it just because it made the visas so easy), I don't think russia is too expensive at all. It's a great place and you should definitely go! in the link in my signature theres a few entries about my time in russia.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:39 AM   #5
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sweet thanks I will check it out. do they speak a lot of english in moscow/st.petersburg? I read that the subway system is all i nrussion and you have to count your stops or else you will get lost. I ordered 2 lonely planet guides to read so hopefully those will get here soon. yay I am excited!
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:41 AM   #6
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also the visa seems very difficult. do I have to have a referral from a hotel or something???
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:58 AM   #7
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Isn't there a website that issues visas? Sorry, I'll see if I can retrieve it somewhere in my email. In St. Petersburg you'll probably have an opportunity to see entire exhibitions of Russian artists..I've heard good things about their art museums in Russia...also a place you may want to stop is Novgorod..spelling?

You're picking an awesome destination for art and culture.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:37 AM   #8
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I found the app in word document form from a website but from that site it seemed you had to have hotel or travel guide sponsorship, so is this as simple as making a reservation and putting the people down as a reference so they can see you have a reservation? they make it sound so difficult to get a visa... ugh. I just want to see a damn painting, I'm not trying to go to russia to be a hellraiser.... well not entirely. :D
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:00 PM   #9
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you have to have an 'invitation' to get a visa. so when you make your reservations, let them know that you need this and they will send you an invitation that you send with your visa application. There was not a whole lot of english from what I gathered, and most signs are in cyrillic which can be incredibly confusing if you're looking for the english spelling of place names. take some time on the trip over to get to know the cyrillic alphabet, or at least translate the names and words you think you'll need, so you can look out for signs. The moscow metro is pretty awesome and I wouldn't be scared about using it! count the stops and it shouldn't be a problem. once again maybe write down the cyrillic spelling of the station you need so you can look out for it.
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:22 PM   #10
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i have not been to russia yet but i have been to ukraine, they are pretty similar so i can tell you some general things about the region

copy the letters by hand onto a sheet of paper (dont print it out, for learning purposes ya know) and keep it in your pocket. better yet practise a little beforehand. my decision to go to ukraine was so last minute i didnt have time to do this so i had to learn it all on the spot

in general, everything is cheap except for rent, which is why you pay $30 for a hostel bed in central moscow...no joke

as mentioned they have the metro, but another form of transport is marshrutkas. its a route taxi, so you just hold out your hand to stop it and tell the driver when you wanna get off. it probably costs no more then 50 cent to ride in moscow and st pete. in kyiv there is layout of the metro in cyrillic and latin alphabet, the problem is that it gets so crowded you cant see it! you could print a map off the internet which has both names. thats what i did for the kyiv metro bc i was still in the process of learning the letters.

also something you may find handy are intercity marshrutkas. they will be cheaper than regular bus although undoubtedly more uncomfortable. the only intercity marshrutka i have rode was one from the polish border to lviv (about 3 hours) and it was not crowded but i suspect thats a rarity. anyway i cant wait to go back and ride more. you'd probably think im crazy for wanting to do that lol, but i have a great passion for this region of the world

on the visa: napoleon hostel, which seems to be a pretty popular moscow hotel is partnered w/ these guys: https://www.getrussian.com/ for visa invites. I will probably use them.

so if you enjoy russia, you should definately check out ukraine. its like you have the whole country to yourself, but it wont be like that after 2012. poland and ukraine are hosting this football thing and everyone will discover how great it is and it will all be over.

if the travel gods smile on me i will be in russia in february or march. if im still around in the summer maybe we can meetup
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:44 PM   #11
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Sounds like an awesome trip....can't wait for the details!


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Old 10-11-2007, 03:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizz View Post
so if you enjoy russia, you should definately check out ukraine. its like you have the whole country to yourself, but it wont be like that after 2012. poland and ukraine are hosting this football thing and everyone will discover how great it is and it will all be over.

if the travel gods smile on me i will be in russia in february or march. if im still around in the summer maybe we can meetup
um yes definately on the meetup if you're there!!

I think it's funny that you like the ukraine so much only because my stepdad is ukranian (and fluent in their crazy language might I add!), he grew up in the ukie village in chicago and we used to go down there a lot. his dad is very old world ukie and is fluent in like 30975439875 languages (no kidding!). anyway, my stepdad hasn't been to the ukraine in several years but flew his dad out there to see some family 2 years ago and on the first day there he called roman (my stepdad) and was like "get me the hell out of here!" so I have always had this impression that the ukraine was some crazy place, even though the only reason he was scared was because he's an 80 year old man who hasn't been back to the ukraine in 20 years and i'm positive a LOT has changed.

but really, I would love to get over to the ukraine. my stepdad taught me how to say the worst curse phrase ever in ukrainian. it apparently is like something that can get people killed in some parts. I can't even spell it to put it on here, but loosely translate he told me in english it means "may the duck kick you"

hehe
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Old 10-16-2007, 11:50 AM   #13
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as a small update I got in my guidebooks to moscow & st. petersburg today! (I ordered the lonely planet guides), so I am super excited to get started into those. I am nervous about the whole cryllic alphabet thing and being just lost in general all the time over there. the guidebooks, from what I read anyway, seem in insinuate that it will be difficult to find folks who speak english besides upscale restaurants and hotels, which is contradictory to what I've heard. ahhh frustrating.

it makes me nervous because every where I've ever traveled, they've either spoken english or spanish, and of course I'm a native english speaker and took 7 years of spanish so I am good to go there. so this is kind of uncharted territory for me. but you know, folks do it every day and I'll figure something out.
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Old 10-16-2007, 03:30 PM   #14
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yeah, the books are right about the english thing. of course like any country you might have some luck with younger people - I'm not sure if its compulsory for them to learn but they are definitely more likely to have learnt. you'll get lost and possibly really stressed but I spent half my week in russia being lost and I still have fond memories! haha
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:56 PM   #15
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My only experience is two days in St. Petersburg. I had no problems getting around, nor with language (I speak no Russian other than da, nyet...). My guess is you'll be fine. I do hear that hotels are outrageously priced in Moscva, though...

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Old 10-19-2007, 04:47 PM   #16
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I learned the Russian word for "kiss" from an Uzbek, though I don't know whether or not you're planning on needing it...
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Old 10-19-2007, 05:36 PM   #17
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haha you never know when I might need that!

as for everything else, I think I'm just going to jump in head first. I'm going to try to learn the cryllic alphabet and a few key phrases (though they have them in the lonely planet guides I have and I can't even pronounce them in the pronunciation key... slavic languages intimidate me!:eek: )

oh well. the main reason I am going is for the painting, and I don't need to know russian to look at art.
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