In Russia, Travel somethings You!
February 23, 2013 10:39 AM Subscribe
We're thinking of travelling to Tula
for our honeymoon. How hard is it to travel in Russia these days, if you're not going to a usual travel destination?
We're interested in the accordion and samovar factories there, and probably we'd like to see some of the Suzdal area monasteries.
I used to speak Russian at a university level- I was never completely fluent- but now only know rudimentary phrases. I can get my point across to someone but generally can't understand their responses. My fiance only speaks and reads English. We're both white, which is helpful. (I hate to say it, but it's true).
I visited St Petersburg (Leningrad) in 1990 for several months, when it was still Soviet, and I didn't think twice about travelling back then. In 1997 I stayed several months in St. Petersburg and it was scary thuglife gangsta. The last time I was there for 10 days in 2003, it seemed far less wild west but I stayed with a Russian friend and I didn't hazard any long journeys by myself. Each time I've visited the changes have been exponential. The current proliferation of dash cams makes me think it's far more dangerous to navigate if you don't know when to pay a bribe or whom to stay out of the way of.
On this trip, I was thinking we'd start in St. Petersburg to see my friend, go to Novgorod for a day, just because I have fond memories of it :) and then head south to Tula and Suzdal.
Any suggestions? How hard is it to travel these days? How hard is it to deal with papers/militzia/bribes, especially if your Russian sucks?
Any suggestions for a travel agency in the San Francisco Bay Area that I can use? Last time I found that having a Russian dealing with the consulate and visa papers was invaluable.
Any and all suggestions very welcome.