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Photos of Russia

Old Jul 17th, 2008, 07:56 PM
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Photos of Russia

http://travel.webshots.com/album/563971400NWoPRC

Please have a look at my photos from my recent trip to Russia in June 2008.

Russia was the first stop of my two week trip in Eastern Europe with Imaginative Traveller. I visited Moscow and St Petersburg and spent four and a half days over there. As usual, the research I have done here helps me a lot.

Below is the highlight of my trip.

Moscow:
- probably the most exotic destination of my journey.
- The city is huge with soviet apartment blocks. It also contains some of the most spectacular traditional Russian style architecture.
- The Kremlin onion domed Cathedrals under the blue sky are spectacular and the Red Square/ St Basil's Cathedral are unforgettable. The communist era provides another contrast - the seven sisters (especially the Moscow State University) and the Moscow Metro (especially some stations on the circle line)
- I enjoyed strolling around Kitay Gorod - a charming neighbourhood next to the Red Square and Old Arbat.

St. Petersburg
- stunning palaces, elegant churches and charming historic centre are the highlight of Russia's former imperial capital.
- Visited the Grand Palace (Peterhof), Catherine Palace (Pushkin) and Hermitage - all of them were stunning with their own strengths. Grand Palace's fountains are spectacular, the interior of Hermitage is probably the most opulent and I like the exterior of Catherine Palace the most.
- the lineup to the Hermitage was quite long!
- Love the canals, beautiful colours of the historic buildings and the exterior of the Church on Spilled Blood.
- really enjoyed the folklore show of Feel Yourself Russian in Nikolaevsky Palace.
- did not have good weather in St Petersburg as it was raining and quite cold. It was quite interesting to see greyish white sky at 11:30 pm.

Getting around was a bit challenging as language is definitely a problem. Signs are in Russian (in metro and on the streets), so learning the Cyrillic alphabet is very useful! The traffic in both cities is very bad. The metro is definitely the best way to get around in both cities. When we got back from the Grand Palace, it took three and a half hours (instead of one hour!) because of the horrendous traffic! For food, we did not have a lot of time to enjoy the restaurants, however, I enjoyed the pancakes (crepes).

None of our tour members had their document checks by the police. However, one of my tour mates did see police checking documents. Both cities can be very crowded. And I think that Russian people in these two cities dressed very well.

Overall, I really enjoyed both places and they offer a very contrasting introduction to Russia. Try to visit both cities and they are very different from each other.

Hope you enjoy the photos and this little trip report.

Thanks

Ben

Bencito is offline  
Old Jul 17th, 2008, 10:12 PM
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Absolutely beautiful photos, Ben. Thanks for sharing them. I just love all those pastel-colored palaces.
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 09:54 AM
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Thanks for your comments!

hi sshirokov, please contact me at bencito_viajero at hotmail.com to discuss further. Generally speaking it is not a problem to use my photos and thanks for asking!
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 10:59 AM
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Thank you for the beautiful pictures. It certainly brought back many fond memories of my trip.
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 11:18 AM
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Beautiful photos!
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 11:32 AM
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Beautiful photos Bencito! I'm in the beginning stages of planning a trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow in Sept. 2009 and your pictures certainly have reinforced I made a good choice of locations to visit!
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 12:51 PM
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I am going on RS trip in 2009 to Russia. Want to spend a few days in Moscow after the tour, do you have any suggestions for a private guide or where to stay?

Thanks
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 02:49 PM
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Wonderful pictures!

Bencito, on page 2, National Hotel - your comment says "Street of Tserkaya" is it "Tverskaya"?
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Old Jul 18th, 2008, 04:41 PM
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TTJL...

I'm also going on the RS trip in 2009 (Septmber) to Russia and like you plan to go to Moscow for a few days after the tour ends...small world! When are you going?

From my very preliminary research hotel prices in Moscow are pretty high. Of course I can't yet get exact prices for September 2009, but what I've seen so far as the least expensive is in the area of $300 per night.

I found a boutique hotel that looks to be in a central location (which is what I like) but the prices are starting around $600 per night. The name of the hotel is the Golden Apple Boutique Hotel. If you google that name their website comes up. I haven't done much more research since I have time and I've got a couple other trips already planned before Russia.

Bencito...sorry to have hi-jacked your thread here!
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Old Jul 19th, 2008, 04:01 PM
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Stunning shots, Bencito!
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Old Jul 19th, 2008, 06:12 PM
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thanks for the awesome photos!
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Old Jul 19th, 2008, 09:11 PM
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Hey, thanks for sharing the pics! I spent 2 weeks there, recently, and need to get my act together with photos. (no time, no time! )

Glad you enjoyed your trip. Luckily, it did not rain much in St Petersburg when I was there. I was really expecting it to, and brought 2 umbrellas and a rain jacket, lol! The night sky is amazing, isn't it?! I stayed out drinking until 4 AM one night, and I saw the sun set around 1:30, and by the time I walked home at 4, it was daylight again!!
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Old Jul 20th, 2008, 05:50 PM
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Thanks for all the wonderful comments! I appreciated them.

Faina Again – thanks for correcting my typo. The caption has been corrected.

Amp322 – I live in Edmonton, Canada, and the sun sets around 10:00 pm during summer…even for me, it is strange to see sun light at 12:00 am after coming back from our folklore show in St. Petersburg!

TTJL – unfortunately I am not too helpful regarding hotel choices and private guides. I joined the tour with Imaginative Traveller and they arranged everything. We had an excellent city tour of Moscow and St Petersburg as part of our tour. Hotels in Moscow are indeed expensive. For an extra night I had to pay $201 Canadian (similar to US $ now) at the Hotel Tourist featured in my album! The Hotel Tourist was ok, but very expensive relative to the quality of the hotel. The receptionists were nice but did not speak a lot of English, so even asking for simple information was challenging… It is within walking distance to a metro station, and it takes around 25 minutes to get to Kitay Gorod. I can only imagine how much more expensive it would be to stay close to the Red Square. In any case, I do hope that you enjoy Moscow. It is well worth visiting!
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