Highlights of your trip to Russia

Jun 11th, 2002, 01:20 AM
  #1  
Andrea
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Highlights of your trip to Russia

I am going with my husband to Russia for 2 weeks in August. We are travelling independently - Moscow, Vladimir, Suzdal and St Petersburg. Obviously I have done a lot of research about what to see but it's always great to hear about other people's experiences/ highlights. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Also advice about the best way to get theatre/ballet/music tickets (especially to the Bolshoi) would be great.
 
Jun 11th, 2002, 05:37 AM
  #2  
mh
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andrea -

we bought tickets to the bolshoi and mariinsky theatres through a russian travel agency, intelservice center.

think you could get the tickets on your own once you get to russia, but it might be more convenient to do it in advance. intelservice delivered the tickets to our hotels in moscow and st. petersburg.

also, i suspect you might get better seats this way because you're booking so far in advance. we had great seats in both theatres.

st. petersburg is a fantastic city, but be forewarned: many of the key attractions are under scaffolding as the city prepares for next year's tricentennial.
 
Jun 11th, 2002, 07:03 AM
  #3  
Gary
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In Suzdal try to stay at Likhonin House.
Try to visit Rostov Veliky and Novgorod Veliky. Have a look at: http://www.waytorussia.net
for information.
 
Jun 11th, 2002, 07:05 AM
  #4  
Gary
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Most of the theatre/ballet/music companies are on tour during the summer.
 
Jun 11th, 2002, 07:06 AM
  #5  
Jimbo
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The church built on Spilled Blood in St Petersburg is essential, inside and out. Inspirational.
 
Jun 11th, 2002, 07:08 AM
  #6  
Jimbo
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The other thing to bear in mind is that the Russian Consulate will take as long as they can to process your visa application, so get on with it asap or all this is theory!!
 
Jun 11th, 2002, 10:14 AM
  #7  
Marc David Miller
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I am leaving next week for my fourth trip over so you can imagine how much there is to do!

What are your primary interests (besides the performing arts)? As others mentioned most of the primary companies are touring in August.
 
Jun 11th, 2002, 04:10 PM
  #8  
Debbie
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Andrea-Make your best efforts to learn the Cyrillic alaphabet. There will be little to no English translations on anything (menus, street signs, in subway stations-which are a must see, at least in Moscow-some of them are quite fabulous, and on and on). The Izmalovsky flea market in Moscow(weekends only I believe)is not to be missed. The Kremlin/Red Square in Moscow is breathtaking, as is the Hermitage/Church of the Spilled Blood in St P. There was plenty of scaffolding in St P last year already as the city gets ready to celebrate its 300th birthday in late May.

You'll have your work cut out for you as you travel independently-please post a trip report upon your return to help others who might want to try independent vs group tour in the future. ENJOY !
 
Jun 12th, 2002, 02:13 AM
  #9  
Andrea
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Dear All
Thanks for your valuable input. I hope the scaffolding doesn't ruin things too much (I was aware of it). I'm frantically learning Cyrillic and key Russian phrases at the moment and hopefully that will see us through. We absolutely love history and art (and there'll be plenty of that to keep us busy), so I guess we'll catch any theatre/ performing arts around. But at least the visas are in place. Please carry on feeding in your thoughts/ideas - it's all a bit of an unknown quantity! I promise to tell all on my return.
 
Jun 12th, 2002, 04:47 AM
  #10  
Marc David Miller
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In St Petersburg, The Museum of Political History and the Kirov Museum (in memory of Sergei Kirov, not the theater) are great places to understand Soviet history. Ideally you could get a guide in either of those museums--I spent about three hours in the Museum of Political History last year discussing the exhibits with one of their guides (through a translator).

In Moscow try tours conducted by Patriarshy Dom. The House on the Embankment Museum, for instance, is only open two days a week, but is a great glimpse into life in the 1930's. The apartment building that contains the Apartment-Museum was the first luxury Soviet housing, and many of the party elite lived there and were removed from their during the purges.

Probably the best general purpose guide book are the Eyewitness Guides for St Petersburg and for Moscow, and the Rough Guides for both cities as well (although they are for the budget traveller and don't have color diagrams their content is quite extensive).

 
Jun 12th, 2002, 08:24 PM
  #11  
carson
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One of the highlights for me was seeing MacBeth at the Mariinskiy theatre three weeks ago with Gergiev conducting. Getting my picture taken with Pavlov's Dog and visiting the Museum of Russian Vodka was memorable too. If you go to the vodka museum, try and get Victoria to give the tour. She was awesome. Interesting spots to check out for a beverage of your choice and food are The Stray Dog and The Pregnant Spy (I am not making this up). Make sure you go see the bridges open at 2:a.m. at least one night there.
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 03:18 AM
  #12  
Andrea
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Thanks Mark & Carson
Those historical sites sound fascinating and the names of the restaurants sound unreal but then nothing seems to be quite what you'd expect in Russia! Where are they situated? Carson, how did you find the scaffolding a few weeks ago? Did it spoil your view of many of the famous buildings?
Also, has anyone gone to Vladimir/Suzdal?
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 03:47 AM
  #13  
Marc David Miller
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Carson, perhaps we could compile an album of tourists next to Pavlov's dog. Pregnent Spy is at 13 Bolshoi Konyushennaya Ulitsa.
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 06:12 AM
  #14  
Gary
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In St Petersburg try to visit some of the sights outside the city, such as Puskin or Peterhof.
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 12:05 PM
  #15  
carson
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Andrea:

In a minute I am gonna have to break down and finally do my whole Moscow-St. Petersburg 8-day trip report. I loved Russia!! My St. Petersburg experience was especially great.

I did not find the scaffolding, which is ample around the city, to be a great detraction. Yes, it would have been nicer to photograph buildings in a more pristine state. But there is such an energy and vibrancy as the city is preparing for the 300th birthday. Really, the only tragedy is that the renovation did not occur many years ago, as some of the buildings needed to be stabilized a long time before now and need a lot of work.

In addition to the guides suggested by Marc, I would suggest the Dorling-Kindersley books. You can find them at Amazon or probably other publishers. Great illustrations.

Marc: I think our ever-energetic, crazy mutual friend there should start a Pavlov's Dog photo franchise...
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 01:57 PM
  #16  
Marc David Miller
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I think the DK books are the same as Eyewitness.

Our friend has to put up with me for two weeks starting next Thursday.
 
Jun 13th, 2002, 08:35 PM
  #17  
xxxx
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The Stray Dog?! That was a famous bohemian cabaret in the beginning of last century, favorite hangout of many great names. It gave name to more than one movement in russian literature. I am wondering, did owners tried to restore this place? I think in early 90 there was some kind of museum/exibition in its location.
 
Jun 14th, 2002, 09:19 AM
  #18  
carson
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The answer is yes. The Stray Dog is back.
 

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