Anyone been to Russia?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by TheKing, Mar 17, 2009.

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  1. Have you travelled to Russia, if so, how the hell did you get through the beaurocracy and stupendous Visa fees?

    Also, for how long and what did you do?

    I'm going over the summer, finding it an absolute nightmare.
  2. Use the services of a reputable Visa agency. Otherwise you stand a good chance of going nowhere.
  3. Yes - 1947 as a Young Communist. Easy really.
  4. Yep I went in 1994 for a health & safety confernce. Went to Moscow, got told off for speaking Russian in the Moscow Hotel, went to Bolshoi Ballet (recommended) went to Kremlin (recommended) though get your ticket from the kiosk. Take small American dollars, travellers cheques will break the bank ( well they did in 1994 people got chucked out of the bank) don't use on the street currency traders. If your taxi has a policeman's hat in the back then it's run by the Mafia so ok it won't break down. Maintain a sense of humour, have fun. Learn a bit of Russian before you go or German or French. Get your visa before you go and travel with a reputable travel agency. Hope that helps
  5. I speak a bit of German but I didn't think it'd get me far in Commieland.

    As for a travel agency, I assume you mean the Visa agency? Only I've booked the flights online.

    Just a nightmare getting the Visa sorted, its £100+ just for the visa.
  6. I went on a great big fcuk off warship. My ship went to St Petersburg. A lovely city with tons of stuff to do and not enough time to do everything I wanted to do. Local women are gorgeous too and the local beer is quite impressive.

    Downsides? The locals can be miserable and violent to visitors. Loads of our guys got mugged by the corrupt police and don't even attempt to use your bank cards in an ATM as you will get scammed-that was the advice of the consulate when we were there.

    The Russian Mafia won't bother you though-seemingly, they don't want to upset tourists and putting them off visiting but they are obvious to spot.
  7. In an attempt to get away from the touristy Russia (which to be honest isn't really the Russians thing at the best of times) we travelled by train to Kaliningrad. We saw the 'real' Russia (communist architecture galore and a social scene built on restaurants frequented by scary men in leather jackets and supermodels in fur coats hanging off them) casinos and prostitutes), snow covered and Dr Shivago like while traveling, grim in the city.

    Best tip I got was: learn cyrillic alphabet before you arrive. Roman alphabet signs are not as plentiful as you'd hope for.

    Warning: the Russian train system operates on Moscow timezone even if you're in a different one (took us a while and missed trains to figure that one out!)
  8. 30 squid for a visa isn't it? I find that cheap!
  9. No, £100+ overall and much more if you fancy doing a bit of travelling and returning.
  10. You will either love it or hate it. Depends on your attitude and expectations.

    If you will behave like "a foreigner": look down your nose at the locals, be suspicious/prejudiced against them, you will get a fitting treatment in return.

    Be open and friendly, treat locals not as "commies", but as individuals and equals and they will help you, look after you and show you Russia that tourists don't see.
  11. I think thats what he's worried about :D
  12. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Meh, yeah.

    Russia can be scary as fuck, or pure magic. Talk to people.

    Russians are touchy, and with good reason. I'd be touchy if I had to deal with what the west did to them recently.

    But if you dont cop an attitude, you listen, talk and behave yourself? They'll feed you gerkins, vodka and long leggedy blonds till you puke.

    Heres a Russian joke to break the ice:

    Q "Private Ivanov, can you dig a trench from the fence until lunchtime?"

    A "But my dog has no nose Comrade"
  13. Pararegtom

    Pararegtom LE Book Reviewer

    Russia is a great place to visit ive been there several times. Moscow and st Peters are a bit expensive , but worth every penny, visas can be a pain inthe Arse, best thing to do is google the embassy visa section , they have links for visa agencies, cost from about £80-£120 depending on your requirements but they are very good, Unless you want to spend upto 3 days the visa section in kensington and then no guarantee,s of being seen.

    longer the lead time the better the price, and BA do a good service into Shev2
  14. hello mate, I worked out in Russia for the second half off last summer and into the winter. Strictly speaking I wasnt working in russia as such but offshore of the North West region in the Barent Sea.

    We needed Visa's and also a second passport for some reason. The company sorted these out for me but they took ages to arrive, so the sooner you get to it the better I'd say.

    We were working for a russian company called Gazprom and they were a bunch of crooks. We Stayed over in moscow, flying in through sheremetyevo or domededovo. Getting through the visa and passport checks took ages, so make sure you plan that in your timetable. Also the police like to try and intimidate you abit (calling us forward one at a time then 3 or 4 of them eyeballing you and treating you like a bit of a dick).The russians seem to be stuck in a timewarp. Moscow is very expensive also and the traffic is a mare.

    After that we flew to a town on the north coast called naryan mar. we usually ended up staying there a few nights due to the weather being bad offshore. The difference between Moscow and this place was like night and day! Similar to comparing London with Blyth. Was cheap as chips though and quite a dodgy place. we were advised about travelling outside the hotel alone.

    Whoring seems to be a national hobby for russian women and the hotel bars were full of them.Most off them are absolute stunners aswell. Also the subways in moscow were full of them too, so take care if your out at night.

    I found most the russian lads I worked with quite nasty at first. there appeared to be a bit of a bully boy culture going on. Just need to give them a bit of aggro back to let them know your not a wimp and they seem to like it. Got on well with most of them. It would do you no harm to learn a few basic phrases and words as it shows your making a bit of an effort and breaks down barriers etc. All the lads i worked with spoke good english, put some of the jocks to shame haha.

    To be honest i wouldnt be in a hurry to go and work back out there. The russians drag there heals with most stuff due to them going about everything as if its still the 80s. Was a good experience though and i enjoyed the vodka.

    What job is it you are going to be doing over there? Everytime i flew over there the plane was packed with brits going to work.

    Good luck.
  15. Super place, lovely people, as long as you mind your manners and remember they don't all love Westerners.

    Use a visa agency - my favourite is in Westbourne Grove ( - which is staffed by smart young Russian lasses who know their way around the Embassy Consular section.

    Make sure you fly into Domodedovo, rather than Sheremetevo and take a marked taxi from the airport. Hotels are viciously expensive, the best I've found for Western tastes is the Novotel.

    Do all the tourist stuff, the cathedrals and museums are stunning. If you do go on the p1ss and, hey, you're in the Army, of course you will, don't take anything out with you you can't afford to lose if you're hammered. Talk to people, a surprising number speak some English and enjoy hearing nice things about their country.

    Make the effort to learn some Russian, even if only the please-thank you stuff and learn the Cyrillic alphabet so you can find your way round the Metro, which is the only smart way to get around Moscow.

    St Pete is nicer, but not so frenetic. Moscow is 24-hour party city, even with oil down in the $40-odd a barrel range. If you're rich and horny, you have got to go to the Night Flight, last bastion of the old expat drinking circle.