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General Russia Advice

Dublin, Ireland
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General Russia Advice

I will be travelling through Russia as a single female traveller in August, and just have a couple of questions I hope ye experts may be able to answer. I'm aware that they do not all relate to Moscow in particular, but am hoping to save on having to write multiple posts...

1. The main Bolshoi theatre will still be closed when I am in Moscow, and although I have always wanted to go here, is it still worth visiting the New Theatre, or would I be better off going to Mariinsky Theatre when in St Petersburg? The opulence of the buildings would be just as important to me as the show itself.

2. I will be arriving in Moscow at 4am, and have heard many reports about taxi's being dangerous for single female travellers - although I am not sure how much heed to pay to this, would I be better off arranging a transfer with my hotel?

3. The highlight of my trip will be visiting the Hermitage Museum. Is it worth getting the two day consecutive ticket, or would I be better off taking time out to visit other places around St Petersburg? (I am there for 6 days, so am easy with time)

4. I will be finishing my trip in Helsinki, and am hoping to get the Allegro from St Petersburg. I have heard reports that it is difficult to get seats last minute, especially in the summer months. I will be travelling on a Sunday morning, and was hoping to buy the tickets when I enter Russia 3 weeks prior to this. Is it possible to get tickets at kiosks for international trains? And would this be enough time to guarantee a seat, or would I be better off going through an Agency?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Claire

St.Petersburg
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1. Re: General Russia Advice

Dear Claire,

Unfortunately usually Mariinsky Theater is closed all along August and start the new season in September. Right now the playbill is available till the end of July only.

There are other beautiful theaters in St.Petersburg - for example, Mikhailovksy www.mikhailovsky.ru which are worth visiting.

I always recommend to have an airport-hotel transfer upon arrival. it is easier and safer. you just know there is somebody waiting for you, so you can relax and make your first hour in the new country easier.

I think it is nice ti take a break before going back to the Hermitage. So I vote for two separate visits.

Train. why wouldn't you ask your hotel to book the train ticket for you? Most hotels charge very little for this service and again it will free you form worrying.

Have a pleasant journey!

Phoenix, Arizona
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2. Re: General Russia Advice

Yes, your hotel can get you your tickets. Take a look at (rzd.ru) for trains& tickets. They can be full in summer time. I would buy the day you land to get a seat. The express trains that run from the 2 major Moscow airports do not start running untill 6 or 7 in the morning, but by the time you go through customs and such your wait time for the express would not be long. I would grab something to eat, take the express to where it drops you off at, and then a taxi from there. Fast, cheap and easy. There are no meters in Russian taxi's, so you have to haggle on the price before your trip. Yes you can get ticket's at places other than the stations. Most stations have a special booth for english speakers. Good luck. AIM.

Moscow
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3. Re: General Russia Advice

Correction: "There are no meters in _unofficial_ Russian taxi's" which you can hail on the streets.

Dublin, Ireland
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4. Re: General Russia Advice

Many thanks for all your replies.

I forgot to mention that I will be arriving by train (Trans-Mongolian), so will be at the train station at 4am - so ya, will take your advice Eugenia and get the hotel to come and pick me up.

In regards to the Hermitage, the website sells one day and two day tickets. It would appear that the two day tickets are for consecutive days, and allow you to see more of the museum than just the 5 inter-connected buildings, so was wondering if its worth seeing all of them - or skipping that to visit Tsarskoe Selo (even though it does seem a pain to get to if not doing it by tour).

Pity about the Mariinsky, but the Mikhaelovsky has exactly what I would like to see whilst I am there - thanks for that tip!

Claire

Plymouth, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Moscow
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5. Re: General Russia Advice

Unless I am missing something, I do not think Eugenia is saying your HOTEL will arrange to pick you up. Instead, there are, in addition to taxis, "transfer" companies that pick you up and drop you off between airport and/or train stations and hotels. The one I have used with success is Go-To-Ru at

go-to.ru/en/…

And, as you can see, they charge $26 for "train station to city center" (assume you are staying in center...you did not say.

The last thing you want to, given your concerns, is to try to catch any kind of "unofficial" taxi...unless you speak fluent Russian and are good at haggling, you will pay a lot anyway...this is the haggling point mentioned above. If you Google Moscow taxis, though, you will find normal taxi service with stated rates, etc...but still I would use the formal transfer services...

St.Petersburg
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6. Re: General Russia Advice

Hermitage.

other than 5 main buildings there are:

1. Menshikov palace - interesting, not well-known, easy to visit

2. Palace of Peter I - it is located in the same building with the Hermitage theater. I don't find an exhibition any special.

3. Porcelain factory - far away from the city center. If you are not particulary interested in porcelain, then skip it.

4. Hermitage storage facility - it is a very interesting place. But it is located away from the city center and it can be visited with the tour only.

Dublin, Ireland
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7. Re: General Russia Advice

Thanks for clarifying that Ebertsj, and for sending the link. I am staying in the city centre.

Thanks also for that list Eugenia - definitely think the second day would not be for me... can't say I have ever even thought about porcelain!

Edited: 10 May 2011, 16:11
8. Re: General Russia Advice

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