Finalizing First Trip to Russia Plans

Mar 30th, 2007, 12:25 PM
  #1  
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Finalizing First Trip to Russia Plans

Hi: We leave on May 25th for Moscow for 4 days and St Petersburg for 5 days. Will the weather be rainy in May/early June (as mentioned in a previous post?) Will the fountains be on in Peterhof to warrant a visit?)Katya, thanks for mentioning not to use the Russian National Group as that is who we were going to use for Double Entry Visas. Can we hire a guide and driver at the hotels we are staying? Marriott Aurora and Raddison in STP? Should I get the ballet tickets on line and the Hermitage and Kremlin tickets online or use the guide services at the ticketbooths as mentioned in previous posts. Any last minute suggestions very greatly appreciated. Johanna
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Apr 1st, 2007, 11:58 AM
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Johanna,
1. Fountains in Peterhof will be on – so don’t miss it. The best way is to get Peterhof by hydrofoil. There are several companies operating hydrofoils in St.Pete. The central pier is exactly in front of the Hermitage so you will easily find it. It takes only 30 min. to get Peterhof by water and you can enjoy Gulf of Finland and Neva River on the way.
2. Usually end of June-beginning of May is warm and sunny, but the weather in St.Pete is absolutely unpredictable and can change twice a day. So having an umbrella or raincoat is always advised.
3. End of May is the high season so it can be a problem to hire a guide from the hotel. Radisson will probably offer you to use the hotel’s car which is more expensive that the average city rate for the private car with the driver. I would recommend you to find a guide in advance and discuss your possible itinerary before you arrive.
4. You can get ballet tickets on-line from the web-site www.mariinsky.ru, Hermitage tickets can be purchased either on-line or in the museum – no difference.
5. Couple of advices – don’t miss Catherine’s palace and smaller and less known Paul’s palace which is located near by. Yusupov palace is also in the ‘must see’ list. Boat ride along the rivers and canals of the city can become your best memory – St.Pete was planned as Venice or Amsterdam so the best way to see its beauty is to take a boat.

Enjoy your trip!!!
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Apr 1st, 2007, 12:50 PM
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Hi Johanna! I'm glad to hear I have warned you away from RNG- I would hate for them to ruin anyone's trip.

I second the thought to take the hydrofoil to Peterhof! Its a great little ride, which takes far too long by bus.

The Catherine Palace (in Tsarskoe Tselo) is lovely, has very nice park-like grounds- as well as housing the world famous Amber Room. Don't miss it!

Moscow is highly underrated, in my opinion- it has a lot going on, and is very much like a larger NYC.

Don't miss taking a ride on the metro (esp. the circle line stations) which is incredible- check out pics on metro.ru. If you click on the first link (far left) you will find a subway map, and on the link below it- pics of specific stations. Another good site is : http://tinyurl.com/363ffq

My faves are Kievskaya Station, Belorusskaya, Taganskaya...

I can't really offer guide advice, and I usually just buy my tix at the ticket booth... do you speak any Russian? Since you have a bit of time- try to learn some basic phrases. I always recommend spoonfulofrussian.com .

Have a great trip!

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Apr 2nd, 2007, 06:44 AM
  #4  
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Thank you Zhenya and Katya: The advice is excellent. We will definitely take umbrellas and raincoats. I will try to find a guide beforehand. My travel companion is quite a bit older and I don't know how much walking he can do each day, so I am hesitant to prepay until I see how each day goes
Katya: Do you have another company in the NYC area that I can go with our passports? For some reason, my companion doesn't want to do it online?
Many thanks for the language website..beginning immediately. Can the hotel make the train arrangements or can I make them online? Many, Many, thanks.. Johanna
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 03:39 PM
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Hi Johanna,

I would recommend you contact Marc David Miller at Discovering Russia- he frequents this board, and is very knowledgeable.

discoveringrussia.com

If your travel partner has mobility issues, its a good idea to take the first few days slowly. Saint Petersburg is a fairly compact city (as compared to the enormous Moscow)- and in terms of the things you will want to see. There is no question you should go to the "suburbs" (which are not at all like ours-) to see Peterhof and the Catherine Palace. But aside from those, St.Pb is usually accessable by foot/tram/taxi.

Moscow- plan on using the metro to shorten distances.

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Apr 6th, 2007, 11:06 AM
  #6  
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Thank you all for your help. I am looking forward to the trip. Do we need to dress for the opera or theatre? Or is dressy sweater set with black slacks fine? Thanks so much. Johanna
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Apr 6th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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Johanna,

casual dress is Ok - you will see - most peolpe will be dressed rather casual (slacks, jeans and so on)

Enjoy your trip!
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