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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Messages 1 2 

Russia by juniorff on 25 September 2006 7:04pm
Planning a trip to Russia, hopefully catch the night train from Finland. But was just wondering how easy this would be and what visa experiences any has had?
Re: Russia by din kvite russer on 25 September 2006 10:08pm
Being a Russian, I haven't had any experience of getting a Russian visa :), but I know several people who have. Just like any other bureaucracy here, the process is quite slow and needs a lot of papers, so allow several months for it. One thing you'll need is either an invitation from someone in Russia with whom you're going to stay, or a document from a travel agency...

Where are you planning to go to - Moscow, St. Petersburgh, other places? I think I could recommend some things to see :)
Re: Russia by juniorff on 26 September 2006 7:18pm
Thank you for that, we are hoping to go in Jan Feb time, as we went to the Ice Hotel last year but didn't think it was cold enough!

Hopefully we'll catch the train from Finland, spend a few days in St Petersburgh before moving on to Moscow, any information you have would be fantastic!

Re: Russia by din kvite russer on 27 September 2006 4:16pm
Hehe, last year it was below -30 Celsius in January here for a couple of weeks :) But that's pretty rare, most likely it'll be around -5, snowy and sunny if you're lucky, slushy and wet if not.

I hope you're not expecting to see bears out in the streets ;)

Too bad that you're going to St.Petersburgh during winter, 'cause one of the best ways to see the city is by boat and I don't think they run boat trips during winter... But there's enough things to see to fill a week anyway :) (I've only been there for a total of two weeks.)

As for Moscow, it's really a mix of everything... A lot like any other Western city, expensive and polluted. There is a standard tourist set of sights - the Kremlin, the Tretyakov Russian Art gallery, etc. etc.; it's what a normal tour company will offer. Ballet is usually part of it; the famous Bolshoi theatre basically works for tourists now, there are theatres less show-offy and less expensive.
What to see depends on your interest. There's plenty of places and museums related to Russian literature and history. There are a few remaining estates which used to belong to the richest of the novelty. There are zillions of Russian Orthodox churches, some Catholic ones (where they hold beautiful concerts) and mosques and a sinagogue. There's a flourishing underground culture. There's a garden where they dump most of the dismantled Soviet monuments. There are beautiful metro stations. There are non-self-service shops :) (and dozens of huge shopping malls just like anywhere else.) And so on... I mean, I can go on like this forever, but it's better if I know what you're more interested in hearing about :))

For the more official part of Moscow, here's the tourist information centre site, they have a decent listing of museums etc.. http://www.moscow-city.ru/?&;lang_char_id=en
Re: Russia by juniorff on 2 October 2006 4:41pm

we are hoping to spend about 2 or 3 days in both St Petersburg and Moscow, obviously we want to see the main sights, as thats one of the reasons of going. But we would like to see things from a different perspective, those gardens that you mentioned of the old statues sound fantastic.

We just want a good Russian experience and would like to see things that normal tourists wouldn't!
Re: Russia by christophertravels on 14 October 2006 7:19pm
Last summer, I took the train from Helsinki to St Pete's. About 5-6 hours during the day, including the one hour at the border. Yes, the visa is a problem and you have to have one.

You'll need a travel agent who can arrange the visa, because you actually need to be "invited". A hotel booking is usually all you need. You'll send in your passport and invitation to the embassy in your country, and they will return it to you with a stamped visa, a migration card, an entry card and an exit card. The migration card will be stamped by every hotel in every town you visit.

I stayed one week in St Pete's, one day in Novgorod, then the overnight train to Moscow, a side trip to Yaraslavl, then I returned to the "real world" with an overnight trip to Riga.
Re: Russia by pluimj on 15 October 2006 10:03am
I am American, so I don't know if the criteria are the same, but I use http://www.russiahouse.com/ they usually take care of all the paperwork
Re: Russia by CarlT on 26 November 2006 1:52pm
I am going to Russia next May, and you really do have to go through a travel agent for them to sort it out for you.

My plans are similar and looking forward to the overnight train between Moscow and St Petersburg
Re: Russia by christophertravels on 28 November 2006 3:32am
Have a travel agent do the work for you. There is a lot of paper work, travel documents etc.
Re: Russia by simon1287 on 18 December 2006 7:18pm
I got Real Russia in Islington to get my visa for me as I'd left it until the last minute due to other plans (not advised as things can go wrong).
However, £135 later and I got it within 24 hours!
If you can pay an agent, it's worth it.
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