Alexander Palace Forum

Virtual Pushkin => Pushkin Travel Center => Topic started by: vladm on March 07, 2007, 09:42:18 AM

Title: New summer trips to TS
Post by: vladm on March 07, 2007, 09:42:18 AM
Travel season approaching, and I would like to ask: what folks would like to know, before visiting Russia/St.Petersburg/Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo)?
Also, we would like to have some travel reports, as they come.
Few advices a head:
You don't have to exchange Rubles before going to Russia: Russia today like every civilized country, have ATM (cash machines), for small fee and correct exchange rate, you will be able, safely withdraw from your account money, under any circumstances please do not exchange money, with private individuals. Citibank and other banks, just have the same name and logo, please expect from them to get charged for ATM transaction as well.
Traveling from International Terminal to St. Petersburg, if you will take a bus instead of taxi to the city less than 8 km (5 ml), you will be able to safe $50 or more. If you plan to travel to St. Petersburg only, under any circumstances do not get transit trough Moscow, because International and Domestic terminal in Moscow, located on other side of the runway, and to get shuttle for person who is first timer, even if he/she speaks Russian, will be impossible. 
Reserving hotels online, by using yahoo or expidia, is much cheaper, then calling same hotel direct.
Renting car in Russia is not recommended, please use organized tours, concierge in hotel you will be staying in, will help you to make necessary resrvations.
If you will visit Catherine Palace with tour bus, it will be faster in terms of waiting in the line, but including to the same tour visiting Alexander Palace, will be waist of money, its probably better to do on the separate tour.

Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: ChristineM on March 08, 2007, 01:46:22 PM
vladm

Thanks for the information.   Could you please rell me, is there an ATM in Pushkin?   If so, where?   Or is it still the money exchange in Gostiny Dvor?

Thanks

tsaria
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Helen_Azar on March 08, 2007, 02:57:12 PM
   Could you please rell me, is there an ATM in Pushkin?   If so, where?   

I think there is one at the Catherine Palace...
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Joanna on March 14, 2007, 08:41:40 PM
Tsaria, there is an ATM on Moskovskaya next block to Gostiny - halfway to Konyushennaya on south side - signs on Orangereynaya point to location. Also at entrance to bank on Oktober Blvd. There is no ATM that is indicated in guidebooks located in the Ekaterina Palace hotel.
Joanna
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: vladm on March 14, 2007, 10:30:13 PM
I have a list of ATM for Pushkin, but I will need to put it through transliteration script.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: vladm on March 18, 2007, 12:28:42 PM
ATM list:
Pushkin, General Hazova street, 20, Bank, 24 h
Pushkin, Leningrad street, 1, Bank, Bank Hours
Pushkin, Moscow street, 33, Bank, 24 h
Pushkin, Novoderevenskaja street , 17, PMZ (the Pushkin machine-building factory), 24 h - I doubt you may need this address
Pushkin, Orangereynaya street, 46, Bank, 24 h
Pushkin, Pavlovsk highway, 19, Bank, 24 h
Pushkin, Sadovaya street, 7,  Catherine Palace, 10.00-17.00
Pushkin, St. Petersburg highway, 13/1, Bank, Bank Hours

ATM accepts following cards:
American Express, Cirrus Maestro, EC/MC Business, EC/MC Gold, EC/MC Mass, VISA Business, VISA Classic, VISA Electron, VISA Gold

Please pay attention, NO "Star" network accepted at this locations.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: amelia on March 18, 2007, 01:39:41 PM
When we travelled to Russia, we made the mistake of bringing travellers checks and that was a very difficult thing to cash them.

Amelia
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 18, 2007, 02:49:05 PM
Another thing to consider- do not bring back many roubles unless you are planning to return fairly soon. They can be very difficult to exchange outside of Russia. Even Amex [in London] would not take them.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: vladm on March 18, 2007, 06:55:05 PM
When we travelled to Russia, we made the mistake of bringing travellers checks and that was a very difficult thing to cash them.

Amelia

Amelia,
Through my travel experience, I have to say - travel check's were never benefit me, but credit cards and ATM cards, were my best  helpers.  Only one place in SPb where you will be able to exchange Amex traveler check: on Nevsky prospect (Amex Office).

Another thing to consider- do not bring back many roubles unless you are planning to return fairly soon. They can be very difficult to exchange outside of Russia. Even Amex [in London] would not take them.

Robert, great notation, I hope with recent changes on ruble policy in Russia, situation will change, but who knows.

Few more additional information, for many of you, it may look strange:
When you pay for some item in Russian store with credit card, you may get cash transaction instead of standard purchase, so please be advised. I know few countries, penalize for cash transactions, credit card holders, with additional charges and separate higher APR. 

If you booking your hotel direct, I highly recommend to get fax copy of reservation confirmation with hotel rate for duration of your stay (this applies not only for Russia), and make reservation with Amex.
If you will have, hotel confirmation on official paper with hotel letterhead, Amex, will be always on your side.

You get, what you pay for, unfortunately Russian tourist market, is not really competitive, I would recommend to get hotel online, instead of going for recommendation of your friends, this way, you will be able to compare prices and select quality place base on your desired rate.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Helen_Azar on June 05, 2007, 06:43:40 PM
One more thing: if bringing cash, try to only choose crisp new bills... I had a lot of trouble with some of my "older" dollar bills, ones that perhaps had a little bit of writing on them, or even too many crinkles. They wouldn't accept them at the currency exchange places. Russia is such a strange country...
Title: Trips to Russia
Post by: dmitri on July 31, 2007, 07:46:59 PM
Intourist is excellent. Through your travel agent they will arrange your hotels,group or individual tours and individual drivers. I had my own driver and car plus guide. The traffic and driving in Russia has to be seen to be believed. Don't attempt to drive yourself. Summer tends to be extremely busy and a lot of time is wasted standing in queues. Other times of year are far more comfortable. Groups tours tend to waste a great deal of time and do not show you many things. The Alexander Palace is usually left off most tours. The same sadly happens with Gatchina. An individual guide will cater for your specific needs and not treat you like one of the herd. My guides in St.Petersburg and Moscow were excellent and nothing was too much trouble. The Hotel Angleterre is excellently located in St.Petersburg opposite St.Isaccs Cathedral. It is in easy walking distance of the Winter Palace/Hermitage Museum, even in winter. An Intourist guide will arrange tickets for the Mariinsky Theatre for opera and ballet much cheaper than any hotel. Their commission is far less. At the Mariinsky, programs are available in both English and Russian. A driver can be arranged to take you to and from the theatre. This is well worth the cost. Expect to walk through metal detectors at the theatre. This is due to a terrorist incident in Moscow a while back. I found most Russians very helpful. They are proud of their country and its rich cultural heritage. I would advise against using any ATM on the street. Most good hotels have these machines within them. Travellers cheques are a waste of time in most countries. They belong to the past. Roubles are better than credit cards in most places apart from those who deal with captive tourists. Do not ever exchange money on the street. Moscow is very different indeed from St.Petersburg. It is far more expensive and hotels are not so well located. I stayed at the Metropol which is a truly wonderful hotel. It is very expensive though. Avoid staying on a Saturday night as room rates are double. It is though within a short walking distance of Red Square, the Russian History Museum, the Kremlin and the New Bolshoi Theatre. Moscow is not as well equipped for tourists as St. Petersburg. Unless you wish to take a lot of time, travel by plane is the best way between Moscow and St.Petersburg. Also carry your passport around your neck when travelling anywhere overseas. They are not easy to replace and police reports are required if they are lost. Feel free to ask any questions. 
Title: Re: Trips to Russia
Post by: Belochka on July 31, 2007, 08:55:02 PM
... Unless you wish to take a lot of time, travel by plane is the best way between Moscow and St.Petersburg. Also carry your passport around your neck when travelling anywhere overseas.

Speaking fluent Russian we do not require guides. In the main we used public transport and have occassionally hired a driver with car only to take us to distant places for a few days or several hours.

On our most recent trip last year my daughter and I travelled by the new business class train from Moscow to St. P. The journey took around 5 hours during the late afternoon which included drinks then a reasonable hot meal served with wine or beer. The comfy wide leather seats (each with a table stacked with your own set of fresh newpapers and magazines) and with iPods attached, had helped to make the journey very pleasant. With only your travelling companion sitting beside you in their own comfy seats by the enormous window, I would highly recommend this smooth service. Seeing the countryside by day was a distinct bonus.

Margarita :)
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Robert_Hall on July 31, 2007, 10:33:07 PM
I agree,  Belotchka.
 I took the overnight  train  though. Leaving Petersburgh at midnight, arriving in Moscow at 8am. There is a Blue train that leaves shortly after, but I think it takes a bit longer.  It was  lovely! Nice food and drink and the sleep on a train is soooooo relaxing.  Same on the return journey.  Sadly though, I missed the scenery.  I will  endeavour to do the  "day trip" next time. I hate airports and Russian ones are a pain at the best of times. Btw, I did have my  guide/friend/transaltor with me, but the staff spoke English so that was not really a problem. It was quite nice to be "sounded off" by the respective city anthems and welcomed as well upon arrival. I will warn though- the journeys are not cheap! Like I said, I would happily do it again!
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Belochka on August 01, 2007, 01:38:42 AM
I agree,  Belotchka.
 - the journeys are not cheap! Like I said, I would happily do it again!

Absolutely! It will be repeat performance for us as well. Although the seats cost a few hundred $'s each it was well worth the expense.

Margarita  :)
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: dmitri on August 02, 2007, 09:56:33 AM
sounds interesting if you travel with someone else Margarita and Robert
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Grand Duchess Marishka on September 10, 2007, 03:31:01 PM
Hello, there! I am very grateful for this thread. I've recently been planning a trip to Russia and have desperately needed assistance!

I intend to go during February and have been trying to save up money to do so. I guess I have a number of questions that I hope aren't too difficult to answer! :) I appreciate any assistance!

1) What are some of the best hotels in St. Petersburg? They don't necessarily have to be four stars, just as long as they are suitable for a simple tourist! :) Does anyone know of any? I've seen a few in travel packages, but these are the "big ones"!

2) How much would a trip to Russia cost, approximately? Actually, how much should I expect the cheapest trip to Russia (St. Petersburg) to cost? My budget is severely limited, but I am ready to work as hard as I must to get there! :)

3) Is it hard to get around without knowing Russian, if you aren't with a tour group? My friend speaks Russian and may join us, but I don't know if that's definite, and I know only a bit of Russian, none of which would be helpful during travel! :D

4) Does Alexander Palace offer tours of any sort (Oh, I hope it does!) and if so, do they run during February? Also, this question is much less important and probably a little too specific, but do they allow cameras or film cameras inside, if it pertains to a student project?

I think I have many other questions as well, but my mind seems to have drawn a blank. I'll be sure to post them here if I remember! Thank you, in advance, to all who answer them for me! It's so appreciated! I really, really hope to go!
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Helen_Azar on September 10, 2007, 03:44:54 PM
Hello GDM,

I will try to answer a couple of your questions...

3) Is it hard to get around without knowing Russian, if you aren't with a tour group? My friend speaks Russian and may join us, but I don't know if that's definite, and I know only a bit of Russian, none of which would be helpful during travel! :D

It's not that hard to get around St Pete without English, although it would certainly help to learn cyrillic letters so you can at least read the metro stops, etc. Very few people speak English, so it would be helpful to have a translator, but you can probably get by without one. 

4) Does Alexander Palace offer tours of any sort (Oh, I hope it does!) and if so, do they run during February?
 

Yes, the AP does offer guided tours, but unfortunately only in Russian. I am pretty sure they are year-round.

Also, this question is much less important and probably a little too specific, but do they allow cameras or film cameras inside, if it pertains to a student project?

In Russia, you can take pictures practically anywhere, for a fee ;-)
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 10, 2007, 04:06:32 PM
I would disagree with Helen about the Russian language. Not that many Russians seem to speak English. All the major palaces though, do have English speaking guides.
 St. Petersburg can be very expensive. Unless you have someone to show you where to eat  and stay at reasonable prices.  Also, tourists [non-Russians] are charged a higher ticket price than natives at the palaces & museums. Having a Russian guide, or Russian speaker at least, can help there.
  I know of a couple of reasonable and clean hotels, almost all include breakfast, as well as a couple of the most costly. I am fond of the Matisov Domik and another is Hotel Irene.  The Irene is a deco charm but tiny.
 At your age, a school group would probably be best for a first visit, in my opinion.  I am not saying you cannot handle it alone, but it might be a lot easier for you with a group. Also, less costly.
 Check out the other threads on visiting Russia as well.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Helen_Azar on September 10, 2007, 04:28:53 PM
All the major palaces though, do have English speaking guides.

Yes, that's what I meant by "you can get by", but unfortunately more obscure places, which can be more interesting than the major palaces, like the The Lyceum, teh Yussupov palace (although that one may already have an English speaking guide by now) and even the AP, which is what GDM is interested in, don't usually have English speaking guides, so this is where it would be nice to have a translator...
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 10, 2007, 05:10:43 PM
Yes, the AP had NO guides, English or Russian when I was there. But that was before the tourist season. And about the only way one can get in the major palaces- Catherine or Peterhof in the summer is with a group, I am told, for non-Russian speakers. Especially now that the cruise ships are including St.P. as a regular stop. The babushkas are an essential resource when touring the palaces, and they rarely speak English.  Neither do shop assistants or waiters and menus in restaurants [except the tourist ones]. So, imo, a guide/translator is a must. Having said that, the city itself is pretty easy to get around on foot. I could never figure out the transit system, even though I do know the Cyrillic alphabet.  Of course the Tsarkoe palaces and Pavlosk, Peterhof and Gatchina would require usuing the trains or buses without a driver.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Grand Duchess Marishka on September 10, 2007, 05:13:19 PM
Thank you so much, Helen A. and Robert Hall for all your help and the swift replies! I really appreciate it! There's definitely no hope for a school trip to Russia--I can guarantee that--but there will be a small group of us going, if we do go. And I truly hope we do! Hahaha. I believe there would be about four or more in our group. One of us does speak Russian and can most likely translate, otherwise, would it be too difficult and/or expensive to get one? We really want to refrain from going with any "tour groups" just because for the most part, they would probably not stay within St. Peterburg, and also, they would most certainly, from what I have read, avoid the places I'm specifically interested in. Though I do understand how much of a help it would be to be with a group! Perhaps I can look for a tour group that gives tour members a little more time to themselves to explore....

Actually, there is the group tour called "Route of the Romanovs" that I found on Google. But I've never done it, and don't know anyone who has, so I'm not so sure it's legitimate. However, they go to all the Romanov palaces and end in Ekaterinburg, so it does sound like quite the tour! :)

Hahaha, well, again, thank you so much. I'm going to keep doing my research and saving, and of course, I will return if I have any more questions. I thank you for answering them so thoroughly and helpfully! :) This really is a lovely community!
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Helen_Azar on September 10, 2007, 06:18:54 PM
Yes, the AP had NO guides, English or Russian when I was there. But that was before the tourist season. And about the only way one can get in the major palaces- Catherine or Peterhof in the summer is with a group, I am told, for non-Russian speakers. Especially now that the cruise ships are including St.P. as a regular stop. The babushkas are an essential resource when touring the palaces, and they rarely speak English.  Neither do shop assistants or waiters and menus in restaurants [except the tourist ones]. So, imo, a guide/translator is a must. Having said that, the city itself is pretty easy to get around on foot. I could never figure out the transit system, even though I do know the Cyrillic alphabet.  Of course the Tsarkoe palaces and Pavlosk, Peterhof and Gatchina would require usuing the trains or buses without a driver.

The AP has occasional guided tours, in other words, not very regular, you have to "catch" them. I think it may even be something like twice a day, or whenever they feel like it... But the tour is pretty good, if you understand Russian of course.

And yes, the city is very easy to get around on foot. I found the subway system very easy, but then again, I am a New Yorker, so once you have the NYC system down, you can pretty much get around on any system. But as I said, you would do much better if you can get a translator, although it is do-able on your own...

I just found the Route of the Romanovs tour that you mentioned: http://www.onthegotours.com/Route-of-Romanovs. I wonder why they include Vladimir, but not Tobolsk or some other, more relevant places?
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: dmitri on September 11, 2007, 01:13:22 AM
I believe going in February it would be extremely difficult to travel alone without an english speaking guide or driver. The cold alone would defeat most people. If you are travelling in a group contact Intourist and hire a guide and a driver. They pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel. That way you don't get lost in the freezing cold. Winter weather in Russia has to be experienced to understand the extreme harshness. Much time can be lost and health as well. Good advice is also to pay for a western car and driver. Larger vehicles can also be obtained. Staying in a cheaper hotel might be okay but with greater distances to travel much time could be lost. It is challenging enough in winter walking from the Hotel Angleterre in St.Petersburg to the Hermitage. Take your fur hat, thermals, gloves, scarves, poloneck sweaters, great coat, woollen socks and good boots with very thick tred. Slipping on ice or now could result in broken bones. That I would not wish on anybody. Ice in particular is extremely dangerous. Many places only take Russian roubles and automatic cash machines are not available in as many places as in western countries. Large hotels have them. Do not exchange money on the street. Credit cards are not accepted in many places including bookstores. Visas are also essential for Russia. They take quite a time to arrange before your departure. Forgot to say you must have some sort of invitation to obtain a visa. This is usually in the form of booked and paid for accommodation and tours. You can't simply roll up at the airport and say you want to travel to Russia. An Intourist guide can also arrange tickets for the Mariinsky and elsewhere. Hotels usually charge extra fees for such a service. The Alexander Palace has no guides. The benefit of a guide is you usually get to where you want in good time. Standing in a queue waiting for a ticket in winter in St.Petersburg is not my idea of fun. Many Museums will only allow photos taken without a flash on payment in cash only of a photo permit. Roubles also cannot be exchanged into western currency outside of Russia. It is worth paying extra to ensure you are safe and warm in winter. Even the walk at night from the Mariinsky Theatre back to a hotel would be very difficult in winter. Many people arrange for a car to collect them and take them back to the warmth of their hotel. I found it worth every cent. There were not many people walking back or in fact on the streets at all. Also be prepared to face heavy security in all public places and to go through metal detectors and even be searched. In this day and age it is much better to be safe than sorry. I found the security at the Hotel Angleterre to be excellent. Outsiders were very quickly shown the door. Finally most Russians do not speak English.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: vladm on September 11, 2007, 05:42:05 PM
Hello, there! I am very grateful for this thread. I've recently been planning a trip to Russia and have desperately needed assistance!

I intend to go during February and have been trying to save up money to do so. I guess I have a number of questions that I hope aren't too difficult to answer! :) I appreciate any assistance!


1st you will need to get Visa
I found this guys to be very helpful and cooperative:

http://www.russianvisaguide.com/contact.htm (http://www.russianvisaguide.com/contact.htm)


ticket, during the winter prices are much cheaper, but to Russia price can go up to $1100 + taxes

1) What are some of the best hotels in St. Petersburg? They don't necessarily have to be four stars, just as long as they are suitable for a simple tourist! :) Does anyone know of any? I've seen a few in travel packages, but these are the "big ones"!
pick any hotel from yahoo travel (ticket you can get from there as well), better to get entire package, verify first location of the hotel, it should be near the vicinity of the St. Petersburg center. (not Park Inn Pulkovskaya, its located far away from center)

2) How much would a trip to Russia cost, approximately? Actually, how much should I expect the cheapest trip to Russia (St. Petersburg) to cost? My budget is severely limited, but I am ready to work as hard as I must to get there! :)
if you planning to stay in luxury for two weeks ~$4000+, but you can cut down cost by staying with some family or hostel, you can get down to $2000-$2500 including meals transportation and museums

3) Is it hard to get around without knowing Russian, if you aren't with a tour group? My friend speaks Russian and may join us, but I don't know if that's definite, and I know only a bit of Russian, none of which would be helpful during travel! :D


It is difficult without basic knowledge, however few Russian words and knowledge of Cyrillic alphabet can get you really far, I would recommend to get acquainted with English speaking person, and at least 10%-30% of the time have his/her guidance.

4) Does Alexander Palace offer tours of any sort (Oh, I hope it does!) and if so, do they run during February? Also, this question is much less important and probably a little too specific, but do they allow cameras or film cameras inside, if it pertains to a student project?
Entry to the palaces during high season only with tours, I believe during winter time, AP can have someone,who will provide tour in English.

good luck with your trip, please provide report to us, how did it went...
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: vladm on September 11, 2007, 07:35:45 PM
AP can have someone,who will provide tour in English.
Comment I made, was base on my actual experience, I've heard English tour guide in AP this August, so I assume they (AP) may have someone in staff English speaking already.
In any case, during my experience, I was very annoyed by the staff of museum not only AP, but also Catherine Palace, because forcefully they "knew" what is best for me...
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 11, 2007, 08:17:32 PM
Well, there were no guides- Russian or English when I was at the AP in April of last year. Actually, the place was pretty deserted, except for the babushkas. That is the beauty of traveling off-season, prices are lower and crowds thin. My friend & guide, Nico had the place pretty much all to ourselves. Same with the other palaces. Not the Hermiitage, however. I have been there 4 times now and it is always quite busy.  I think Dmitri is right though, Feb. is a pretty risky month weather-wise. Getting around can be a real problem.  You must remember  Tsarskoe Selo, Peterhoff, Gatchina  and Pavlosk are all outside of St.Petersburg of various distances.  I was okay in January, but the weather got pretty nasty right after I left.  Also, there are not many hopurs of daylight at that time of the year. Flooding is an occurance, and the canals as well as the Neva  will be frozen. All the palace gardens are winterised, and not much to see. The fountains are shut down.
 I do not know about other's experience, but I had no problem finding ATMs. Usually at the larger hotels, but they certainly were around when I need them.  Also, credit cards are becoming more widely accepted at good restaurants and stores.
 A word about buying books- if you buy a lot of them. You can, of course take them with you when you leave, but if you have a lot, that could present a weight problem.  Another option is to have them sent via the Russian post office.  That can take a very long time to get to you, even if you pay for air mail.  And third, the major hotels will arrange to have them sent via Finland. Costs a bit more, but worth it for the peace of mind.
 I think we all agree that if you do not join a group, you would do best to at least hire a guide and driver to make your viist more enjoyable.
 
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Belochka on September 12, 2007, 01:08:03 AM
... I do not know about other's experience, but I had no problem finding ATMs. Usually at the larger hotels, but they certainly were around when I need them.  Also, credit cards are becoming more widely accepted at good restaurants and stores.
 

Bankomats are indeed scattered in many places where foreign tourists roam in St. P and Moscow. However before visiting small towns and villages you will need to take a bundle of rubles. Many of the Bankomats located on the main street and near metros release no more than 500R. Hotels are safer (with security) and you can remove 10,000R each time.

Most of my store and restaurant purchases were with CC's (except in supermarkets and produce stores). Museums and the hydrofoil to the Peterhof accepted cash only.

Margarita
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: dmitri on September 12, 2007, 04:58:44 AM
Please do be careful. It's better to be safe than sorry. Much really good and kind advice has been given by many people. I think it is really best to delay your trip to Russia, as hard as that might seem, rather than going without sufficient funds to be warm with good food and all the necessary funds for transport, guide services and museum entrances. I cannot say enough how harsh and desperately cold a Russian winter can be if you are not prepared. You know if you have paid for most things before you leave you are in quite a good situation. That means you can pay for accommodation, guide services, tours, driver and so on before you leave. The Airport in St.Petersburg is a long way from the centre of the city. You will have a wonderful time once you are there if you have planned things well. As the Boy Scouts motto goes ... Be prepared! I wish you only the very best with your trip.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: dmitri on September 12, 2007, 05:02:32 AM
P.S. I meant to include do make sure you have good travel and health insurance.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Belochka on September 12, 2007, 05:56:38 AM
... And yes, the city is very easy to get around on foot. I found the subway system very easy ...

Completely agree Helen,

St. P is wonderful and very easy to walk around to discover a nice cafe or special store or just stroll past an architecturally interesting building in between the numerous museums, parks and galleries and fashionable malls. Vladimirskii Passage is worth a visit.

The metro is safe and easy to use by day and made easier with muti-ride magnetic cards. A few of the stations are noticeably deeper underground than in Moscow. The 4 lines are color coded with interchanges which are easily identifiable at each stop and the trains run very efficiently every few minutes.

Margarita
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: dmitri on September 12, 2007, 06:14:34 AM
I agree. You could miss all the other cities in Europe and find more to see by far in wonderful and enchanting St.Petersburg. What a magnificent place it truly is. It is absolutely is superb and incredibly imperial. Vienna, London, Berlin and the rest seem rather small fry by comparison.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Helen_Azar on September 12, 2007, 03:38:10 PM
I especially was surprised when I visited Amsterdam, the city the look of which St P was mostly based on. I thought it would be fairly comparable, and was surprised to find that St P is so much more grand, seems so much larger (although Amsterdam is somewhat cleaner)! ;-)
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: dmitri on September 13, 2007, 03:43:52 AM
I would very much like to agree about Amsterdam. Sadly I found it extremely dirty and overcrowded on my last visit earlier this year. I have been there many times previously and it was much lovelier years ago. I can't say I will be in a rush to go back there again in a hurry. There are far more charming places in Europe now.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Grand Duchess Marishka on September 24, 2007, 07:20:57 PM
I knew Iíd end up coming up with more questions! :) I thank you for all the help all of you have supplied already! I canít tell you how much it means to me to have a little extra guidance for my travels. Iíve actually been rather lucky and found one package in February (for hotel and roundtrip airfare) for $1,100. The hotel with this is package is the Petro Sport Hotel. I believe that is what itís called, anyway. :)

Robert Hall, so, if I was to go during February, would the AP be open to the public for tours? Or do I just need a personal guide to be able to take tours like that? Actually, will any of the palaces be closed off during that time? I know it isnít the tourist season, so that would understandable, however disappointing!
And as for weather (this is going to sound like utter stupidity), for some reason, I was estimating that it would be spring-like instead of wintery. So February is when the brutal cold sets in?

Yes, I think ATMs wonít really be a problem at all. Usually I get around okay and am able to find them! :) And thank you for the tip about booksÖHehehe, that was actually one of my plans, to buy many, many books. :D

And one last question, as I know it is very important to get around, how would one go about hiring a guide? Could it be done through a Travel Agency? I understand now that it really is the way to go, especially if they can help get us around!

Dmitri, thank you so much for all your concern! I will of course be reasonable and keep in mind my fundings! If February turns out to not be the appropriate time to go, Iíll look into April, when I also have a break!

Again, thank you to all of you! I really do appreciate your concern and advice. I have travelled out of country before, but never as far as Russia! I am so adamant about getting there this year, and if I do, I will of course let everyone know how it went! :D Iíll keep up my research and savings for now though!
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: vladm on September 24, 2007, 09:16:03 PM
I knew Iíd end up coming up with more questions! :) I thank you for all the help all of you have supplied already! I canít tell you how much it means to me to have a little extra guidance for my travels. Iíve actually been rather lucky and found one package in February (for hotel and roundtrip airfare) for $1,100. The hotel with this is package is the Petro Sport Hotel. I believe that is what itís called, anyway. :)



I have rather not a good news for you, this hotel located far far away from public transportation, and it will be challenging to get from/to Metro station (6 km distance).
here the MAP http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&om=1&ll=59.944867,30.50045&spn=0.12277,0.247879&z=12 (http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&om=1&ll=59.944867,30.50045&spn=0.12277,0.247879&z=12)
distance from 1-e Янино to Ладожский вокз
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: susana on May 28, 2009, 12:52:58 AM
I just have to say that I spent Jan, Feb, and March in both Moscow and St Petersburgh. I was fine with a long Land's End insulated coat and hood, Vasquez hiking booys and ski gloves. I was out doors for hours and comfortable. Travelled alone and was able to use Cyrillic alphabet to compare names of subway and places from guidebook.
I stayed in Russian hotels, found my way around easily, felt safe (I think I looked like an ordinary russian) and I didn't speak English much in public. Used ATMs on streets and in hotels. I did slip on ice and fall several times but was never hurt--thank you Land's End. Go.
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Adlerberg on August 21, 2009, 03:18:01 AM
hello Guys,
Thankyou for all your travel advise. it is my partners dream to go to St Petersburg in the winter  :o so we are going early January 2010. We are planning on St Petersburg and Moscow. So any idea's or recommendations on tour guides, and hotels are most welcomed. I have read some where that you can stay close to the Catherine Palace, but can know longer find the info.....so any info would be most appreciated and welcome.
Many thanks
Linus
Title: Re: New summer trips to TS
Post by: Ena on August 21, 2009, 09:47:46 PM
hello Guys,
Thankyou for all your travel advise. it is my partners dream to go to St Petersburg in the winter  :o so we are going early January 2010. We are planning on St Petersburg and Moscow. So any idea's or recommendations on tour guides, and hotels are most welcomed. I have read some where that you can stay close to the Catherine Palace, but can know longer find the info.....so any info would be most appreciated and welcome.
Many thanks
Linus
Hotel Ekaterina.  It's within the Catherine Palace complex.

http://www.hotelekaterina.ru/eng/


If you're staying in St. Petersburg, I would look at hotels inside the Fontanka.  That is, anywhere between the Fontanka canal and the Hermitage/Winter Palace.  Ideally, it should be within short walking distance to Nevsky Prospect.   

I can't recommend tour guides as I did my trip independently.  However, should you feel that you want to go any of the palaces, don't have a guide, and feel a bit stuck, head to Gostiny Dvor on the Nevsky Prospect. There are several kiosks offering guided tours at excellent prices.  Your tour may not specifically be conducted in English, but it's a way to get out and see something. 

If you go with a tour guide, do set a block of time aside on your vacation to explore a bit of the city on your own.