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Visit Russia in mid August for 2 weeks

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Feb 26th, 2013, 07:52 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Visit Russia in mid August for 2 weeks

Our family of 4 are planning a visit to Russia mid August for 2 weeks. I have been reading this forum, still have a few initial questions.
1) I don't want to go on a big tour, but debating whether we should use a private guide or go on our own. Readings from this forum told me it is safe to visit Moscow/St Petersburg on our own, we will be visiting mostly tourists sites, they all seem pretty concentrated in the city center. The only reason I am thinking of using a private tour is for the safety, not for language barrier, though we don't speak Russian. What is your advice? Any recommendation for a good honest private tour guide?
2) Both Fodors and Frommer's book only talk about Moscow and St. Petersburg. Are other parts of Russia worth visiting? I read Baikal lake in Siberia, that place seems mostly for winter fun. We live in Wisconsin, have no interest in winter fun stuff in August.
3) Is Bolshoi Theatre open in last two weeks of August? I checked its official website, the schedule only goes to June. We really want to see a ballet, ideally in Bolshoi.
travellerGreenBay is offline  
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Feb 27th, 2013, 01:33 AM
  #2
 
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1. There aren't any safety issues over and above any other big city. These days Russians are much richer than any of us (or me)! If you want a tour guide, there are plenty of excellent ones around and you can hire one at the entrance to alot of major sites. For many, interaction with a tour guide might be the only real contact with a Russian. But don't take a private tour just for safety reasons, it's not needed. If you decide to go elsewhere in Russia, you might want a tour simply as it could be easier.

2. Novgorod which is on the way from Moscow to St Petersburg is worth visiting. It is a very old Russian city with it's own Kremlin. In the summer, you can see people swimming in the river. Siberia is hot in the summer and temps can reach 80Fs. I've always been interested in visiting Sochi which is a Black Sea resort but never made it. Yes other parts of Russia are definitely worth visiting.

3. The schedule is only for 3 months at a time, so you will need to check later. Usually during the summer months, the Bolshoi is touring abroad.
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Feb 27th, 2013, 06:56 PM
  #3
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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> Both Fodors and Frommer's book only talk about Moscow and St. Petersburg. Are other parts of Russia worth visiting?

You might want to look at some of the guidebooks that provide more in-depth coverage. I haven't checked was available for your purposes, but as a rule, I find guidebooks from the National Geographic and Eyewitness especially good for visual inspiration and information that is best communicated in cut-aways or other 3D-in-2D graphics. I find guidebooks from the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet especially good for comprehensive coverage.
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