Author Topic: New summer trips to TS  (Read 73794 times)

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Offline vladm

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New summer trips to TS
« 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.

« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 09:48:33 AM by vladm »
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Offline ChristineM

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #1 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

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #2 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...

Offline Joanna

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #3 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

Offline vladm

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #4 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.
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Offline vladm

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #5 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.
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Offline amelia

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #6 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

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #7 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.
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Offline vladm

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #8 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.
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #9 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...

Offline dmitri

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Trips to Russia
« Reply #10 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. 

Offline Belochka

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Re: Trips to Russia
« Reply #11 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
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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #12 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!
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Offline Belochka

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #13 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
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Offline dmitri

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Re: New summer trips to TS
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2007, 09:56:33 AM »
sounds interesting if you travel with someone else Margarita and Robert