From Cambridge to Russia on foot..

Discussion in 'Travel' started by WatchingWater, Dec 20, 2010.

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  1. WatchingWater

    WatchingWater Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    I'm doing some volunteer work in Russia for 8 weeks from from the beginning of July 2011, and was thinking of hiking to Russia. I don't know where to start though when it comes to Youth Hostels, Visa's (I think only one is needed, and that's for Russia) places to pitch my tent and anything specific to any country I go through.

    Basically I need ANY advice about ANYTHING!

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Its going to be a long walk. You need to decide on your route, how long you gonna walk during a day, where you gonna stop for a night. Then you can find more info regarding camp sites, hostels and visa in guide books. You don't need a visa for EU countries but you need one for Russia.

    What type of voluntary work are you planning to do there. I was planning to go to Russia over the summer to learn the language and was thinking of combining it with some voluntary work but haven't found anything interesting yet.
  3. Might be better to hitch a lift for a big chunk of the way with some returning lorry driver.
  4. WatchingWater

    WatchingWater Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    I'm thinking of walking perhaps 20 miles a day, but if I can hitch a lift I will...this complicates things alot because depending on how I travel I will have to think about where I'll be on which days, depending on how far I go on each day...I'll just try as remain as flexible as possible!

    Also, in regards to the voluntary work in Russia, I'm being employed as a Summer Camp Assisstant via a group called CSS, here's the main link:

    Volunteer Abroad Programs, International Community Service Opportunities

    I also have a website with loads of links on if you need?
  5. I think this is probably the best suggestion - I've had friends that have hitch hiked all over Europe before.
  6. Boredom.

    I hiked Offa's Dyke with one mate, which is only 180 miles, and while I don't regret doing it, I did get bored on some flat sections. There's going to be a lot of that on the way to Russia.

    I strongly suggest you take transport in stages and hike through only the more interesting bits, if not going straight to Russia and do your hiking there.
  7. WatchingWater

    WatchingWater Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    I'm hoping to have a mate with me, but if not that then at least I'll have my iPod and facebook! I would love to hitch rides as much as possible to save walking along motorways and the like, but I'd like to have a safety route in nobody picks me up fearing me for an axe wielding maniac.
    Do you think lorry drivers would pick up two people?
  8. It's always hard to speak for other people and say what they might do, even lorry drivers...

    But if you were to do some research beforehand then maybe you could arrange something. For example, if you were to notice which truck companies came to near cambridge and then found them on the web. You could contact them and try arranging a lift officially through their HQ. It's just an idea, but nothing ventured, nothing gained...
  9. WatchingWater

    WatchingWater Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    Cheers Troy, hadn't even thought of that! There's just so much stuff to plan out and I've only just started actual planning on paper, I feel it's achievable now :D

  10. Thanks for the link. Would be great if you could pass me the other web site so I could check out all possible options.

    Regarding your trek....someone pointed out that it might be boring in same places, which is truth however if you treat the whole hike as challenge it might be a good fun. No one actually treks through Europe so it might be something interesting and different to do. You can also plan your trek to avoid motorways and stick with smaller roads.
    The interesting thing would be to do that trek for a charity. You could advertise it on facebook, in your school or work and rise some money maybe for the ppl that you going to take care of during your summer work.

    As Troy pointed out lorries are the other option. My mate's mate was traveling this way across the Europe. She started with her friend, a lorry driver. He got in touch for her with other lorry drivers through a radio and this way she got a safe and free travel across Europe.
  11. Check the visa requirements carefully - your sponsor should arrange it for you but have a look at Russian National Tourist Office: Home. Get any information wrong and it could be a real pain.
    Also, read the FCO travel advice for Russia: Russian Federation travel advice - information here is an accurate assessment of the situation at any given time. It also gives advice on applying for visas, especially concerning your dates of entry and exit. This is important as you intend hiking - you may cover the distance to Russia faster or slower than you think, ie arriving at the border on a different date to that entered on the visa. I'm not sure how strict they are on that any more - it would be wise to find out.
    As a precaution, always have the contact details handy on you for the British Embassy in Moscow (and possibly, the Consulate General in St Petersburg) - you never know if/when you may need them.

    Most Brits visit Russia with no problems at all, so you should enjoy yourself immensely. It's an amazing country and the people are very open and friendly.
  12. WatchingWater

    WatchingWater Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    I don't what I'd do without everybody's help!

    Here's the link to the list Sweet-cheek;

    Overseas Job Centre | Gap Years: Gap Year & Voluntary Work in Russia

    I'm all for hiking for charity, but would really like to getthe basics sorted first, and a charity as the place I'm working at is a summer camp so not really the sort of thing that would be supported...Maybe help/Holiday for Heroes?
  13. Firstly and most importantly, you are a loon: flights these days are very cheap.

    From Calais to Moscow it is over 2200km. The good news is that for most of it the land is very flat. The bad news is that for most of it the land is very flat. It will take you over 130 days to complete. You shouldn't have a problem with crime: North Germany, Poland, Belarus all have very low crime rates. Visas can be sorted: you don't have to enter Russia on a specific day, but you do need your visa to be valid from when you hit the border. Go for a 12 month visa with a start date 20 days (as an example of a decent margin) before you are due at the border.

    When will you go? Weather at this time of year would make walking a pretty miserable experience. There is also the issue of your speed: have you any practice at sustaining 20 miles per day for more than a few days? With kit, that is an extremely ambitious target (I don't know how fit you are), and injuries could well be a major factor.

    You will need a mobile phone with roaming and a solar panel to stick on your bergan to keep it charged (as well as iPod etc). Another good bit of news; I wouldn't have thought that one pair of boots would last, so you may get the chance of sourcing and then breaking in a new pair of boots on the way. Try doing it in trainers and your feet will fall apart and rot (they give no support).

    Good luck. I will probably read about you being buggered to death by a circle of gay Chechen truckers on the Polish border.
  14. WatchingWater

    WatchingWater Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    I've gone for 3 and a half months to get there, starting from either Calais or Paris. I was wondering if anybody with more experience than me could point me in the right direction in regards to equipment?

    Another problem I'm having is trying to create a route that isn't all motorways and roads, I'm guessing the only way I can create a route including pedestrian paths is to get some 1:25,000 scale maps and get down to it?