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ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

fabriano
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ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

I'm organising a trip to Tallinn, SPB and Helsinki in August for a party of 13 (of which 5 kids), I'd like to know the following:

1. Do the ATM's accept Visa and Visa electron? Do they charge any commissions or extra costs?

2. What is the cheapest way to phone to Italy?

3. Does anybody know of buslines that go from Smolnyj cathedral to Troickij sobor (cathedral?) and from there to Pl. Vosstania?

Also appreciate to know busline from Pl. Vosstania to Ul. Bolsaya Morskaya (near Stroganov Palace - Nevskij Pr).

4. Has anyone ever stayed in Randhouse Bolsaya Morskaya?.

5. Any one ever been to the restaurant Kalinka Malinka?

6. Do we need a guide to buy our tickets to the hermitage (we were thinking of going there for about 3 hours from 13.00 onwards) but don't want to waste time standing for hours in a queue.

Thanks a lot

St.Petersburg
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1. Re: ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

1. I guided several foreign people who stayed in Randhouse Bolsaya Morskaya – they were quite happy about the location, rooms, service. It is mini-hotel (about 5-6 rooms), located in the very center of the city in the old building.

2. Kalinka Malinka has absolutely nothing interesting to offer – food is bad, service is poor. I have been there once and will never do it again.

3. All buses that stop near Pl.Vosstania (near subway station) go along Nevsky prospect – so all of them will bring you to the area of Stroganov palace. For ex., #22, #3, #27 can help you.

4. From Smolnyj cathedral you can take a bus to Vosstania - #74, or minibus #228, #190, #180

I don’t know any direct transportation from Smolnyj to Troickij. From Vosstanija you can take subway to Technologichesky institute and then walk one block to the cathedral.

5. The cheapest way to call to Italy is probably to call using the pre-paid phone card (can be bought at any post-office).

6. You can buy Hermitage tickets on-line at the official web-site www.hermitagemuseum.org and go ahead of the queue.

Enjoy your trip!

fabriano
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2. Re: ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

Thank you so much for your prompt reply. You've been most helpful.

I think I made a mistake, I meant the buses from Smolnyj cathedral to the Troicij Sobor near the lazarevskoe kladbisce. Given the fact that we are 13 and I heard that the buses are often overcrowded (even if we are planning to do this visit on a sunday afternoon) do you have any suggestions about transport from and to these places ?(taxi is out, minivans are too small (I think) and there is no metroline over there).

As regards the tickets on line, that would be a problem because I don't know yet how many of the group would like to visit (we arrive in the morning with the nightbus from tallinn so some people might want to go for a nap in the afternoon) so I want to arrive at the Ermitage when there will be the smallest possible queue (according to Stanj in the early afternoon).

Any info about the ATM and visa and visa electron?

Moscow, Russia
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3. Re: ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

Mini buses normally have (small) seats for 13--15 passengers.

From Smolnij you can take the tram 15 to Teknologitjeskij Institut (metro station). From there it is a short walk to Troitskij cathedral. The same tram back to the crossing at Nevskij prospekt and a short walk to Plosjtjad Vosstanija (or metro).

St Petersburg Russia
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4. Re: ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

Most of your questions are already answered but a few additions:

The ATM service banks charges a modest fee, and a larger fee is charged by your own bank.

The cheapest phone service is free, several cafes have Skype Out service for free and thw quality of connection is usually a lot better than regular telephone. If you want regular phone service phone cards at deep discounts are available at most mobile phone stores, computer shops and internet cafes. Outbound to Italy will be around $0/20/minute by prepaid phone card. Skype is easier, just dial the number, no access codes to enter. Going from Vosstania to Morskaya, take any regular bus except 15 which turns east onto Liteyny prospekt. All the others go at least to Morskaya, some turn onto Mala Morskaya (like 22, 27, 3, etc) and the rest continue towards the Hermitage/Palace Square(7, 187, 209, and so on. In either case they all stop near Mala Morskaya.

The Randhouse is another of many mini-hotels that are located in the city center close in to the points of interest. Kalinika Malinka is sort of a Russian village cuisine restaurant catering only to tourists. There are better restaurants all over for lower price. There are very good moderate priced restaurants in every neighborhood including right outside your door from RandHouse.

Getting 13 people onto and off a bus will be done with ease ONLY when they are not full, in the mid morning and late afternoon, do not even bother, you will find some of your group stranded outside the bus before squeezing in. If you can, divide your group into 2-3 small group with an adult in charge of each and use different buses and regroup when you all get to your destination. The buses all charge 14Rubles except for the 209 and 187 which are 10 Rubles so have your money counted out and ready to give to the conductor after boarding. The conductor will walk around the bus collecting the fare and giving a small paper ticket. During busy times it can be an incredible crush. Same with the metro in the late afternoon at the stations that are located in the city center. As you get further out, the train cars are less crowded and there is less risk of pickpockets.

fabriano
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5. Re: ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

Thanks Stanj for your detailed advise. About Kalinka Malinka, I was thinking of that restaurant because they have a life folk show during dinner which would be nice for the kids (and maybe also for us). Do you know of any restaurants that do folk shows during dinner (I also read about Shinok, but I don't think that the email address I've got is the right one and I would like to write to them to discuss the menu before actually arriving at the place (can you imagine translating a menu card (if there is one in English?) for 12 italians????). So I would like to discuss the menu beforehand.

I read somewhere in the forum that you advised Yolki Palki (buffet so I don't need to worry!!) near the Kazan cathedral but I've only been alble to find a Yolki Palki at Nevsky Pr. 88.

Thank in advance for all your help.

St Petersburg Russia
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6. Re: ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

Thanks Stanj for your detailed advise. About Kalinka Malinka, I was thinking of that restaurant because they have a life folk show during dinner which would be nice for the kids (and maybe also for us). Do you know of any restaurants that do folk shows during dinner (I also read about Shinok, but I don't think that the email address I've got is the right one and I would like to write to them to discuss the menu before actually arriving at the place (can you imagine translating a menu card (if there is one in English?) for 12 italians????). So I would like to discuss the menu beforehand.

I read somewhere in the forum that you advised Yolki Palki (buffet so I don't need to worry!!) near the Kazan cathedral but I've only been alble to find a Yolki Palki at Nevsky Pr. 88.

The Kalinka Malinka is more of a cafe so for a mid-day or early meal that would be fine. Try Troika, they have a popular show that is pretty flashy and entertaining. For a little more upscale but still moderate price a long time restaurant with a show is called Demidov on Fontanka River near the Neva River and Summer Gardens. The show is more of a Gypsy show than Russian Folkloric. I enjoy both the show and the food there in a very old building that has a beautiful painted dome ceiling. St Petersburg Restaurant next to Church on Spilled Blood has a show.

There is a small restaurant on Palace Square called NEP that has a cabaret show, not folkloric, more of 1920's-30's Russian show. There are also theme restaurants that kids love such as Camelot as in King Arthur and the Round Table. One place that has great food(all fish you can catch yourself is called Russian Fishing on a beautiful island just minutes from the city center. The kids will love it but fish lovers will probably enjoy their techniques of preparation even more.

I think I wrote Yalki Palki but I might have made a mistake since I often respond at 4 in the morning Yes, they have one on Nevsky 88 but there is another one across the street from Kazan Cathedral on the pedestrian street. The restaurant on Nevsky 88 has more meat dishes but the rest of the menu is the same.

fabriano
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7. Re: ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

Stanj, thank you ever so much! Do you know the name of the russian fast food across the street from the Kazan Cathedral that you mentioned? Is it on Nevsky Pr? Do you ever sleep???

Idaho City, Idaho
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8. Re: ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

Spending a week here now.

q1) Used the CitiBank ATM on Nevsky Prospeck without problems, no fee, but I'm sure there was the usual spread in the exhange rate.

q5) Going there tonight.

q6) Definitely buy tickets online. Best to do from the states (they are actually processed in California). You will get a voucher which will let you pick up the tickets in advance (you pick the day). You need to specify the names of everyone in the party but I don't know how they handle the children. You'll need IDs when you exchange the pdf voucher for the actual tickets. Google Hermitage Shop Tickets.

fabriano
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9. Re: ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

Thanks John, pls. let me know what you thought of Kalinka Malinka

although we are now also thinking of going to Troika, still trying to find out. Have fun! Eugénie

Lancashire
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10. Re: ATM's / phones and buses in SPB

Have just returned from St Petersburg and visited the Kalinka Malinka. It was pretty empty. There was a very loud (too loud for a small space) folk group playing. The waiters wore costumes and there were bear and wolf skins on the walls. The food was OK. Far better was Kavkaz, also off Nevsky Prosect. Really good Russian food. This restaurant was continuously busy, and for good reason. The food was beautifully presented and delicious, and the staff pleasant. I can't recommend it enough.