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In Your Pocket Guide
Miscellaneous: An excellent resource for information about travels to Eastern or Central Europe is "In Your Pocket". It provides information of more than 50 cities at the travel portal In Your Pocket .
About 20 printed full city guides are available locally at various places. I got myself the St. Petersburg guide (150 Rubels, 2005) at the book shop "Anglia", which is located at Nab. Reky Fontanky 38. In my opinion the guide provides all essential information an independent traveller needs to know.
- Budget Travel
Copies of your documents
Miscellaneous: Make sure to have copies of all your important travel documents, like passport, visa and registration. Just in case the originals get stolen, the copies can be very helpful to get replacements from your embassy.
There are various opinions about what you should take with you during the day: the originals or the copies. In fact it is not an obligation to carry an ID in Russia, but on the other hand the police can stop you and ask for your documents. To be honest, I am not interested in ending up in a Russian police station.
- Budget Travel
Money: bank cards or cash?
Luggage and bags: It is best to put your money in a neck bag or money belt. Remember, your back pockets belong to the public. Put your wallet in your tight front jeans pocket or zipped inside your jacket. Unzipped pockets also belong to the public.
Cash, clsan $100 bills can be exchanged at any bank for rubles. They charge a commissionand the rate vaires bank to bank. The state Sberbank usually has the worst money exchange rate, but often the lowest fees for using bank cards.
ATM or bankomat machines are everywhere and major banks all work with them.
Personally, I prefere Raiffesein, the Austrian bank for exchange or ATM cards. And the staff there speak englsih and are courteous as one should expect.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Avoid loose pockets, zip things inside your jacket
Photo Equipment: Do not hand a camera loose over your shoulder, put it in a secure place like a zipped poicket and just bring it out for pictures.
Miscellaneous: Federal Express travelors checks are slowing be accepted by banks, but they are definitely a hassle, especially outside the big cities of Moscow and St. Petesburg. Cash always works and bank cards usually work.
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Food: What you can't buy
Miscellaneous: Some foods are difficult to find.
Yellow Mustard: If you like yellow American mustard, bring your own. Heinz has their Ketchup in Russia, but not yellow mustard yet.
Maple Syrup: for 500 rubles ($20)you can find grade B from Canada at the Okei store.
Peanut butter: Not popular, but small jars next to the almond or filbert butter can be found for a price.
Chestnut: you can find a small jar but it is expansive and not so tasty as you can bring with you:)
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
Don't forget to pack....
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Women should pack a scarf to cover their heads when entering any religious buildings. While this is not mandatory in most places, it is important to respect other cultures when travelling.
Comfortable shoes are always a good idea when site-seeing....we always seem to walk for hours, and wouldn't want a trip ruined by sore feet or blisters!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: There didn't appear to be a shortage of chemists or shops selling the basics, but there was the language issue to deal with....so I would recommend bringing everything you may need with you. Plus, nothing is cheap in Russia.
Photo Equipment: St Petersburg is filled with amazing photo opportunities...so make sure you pack more films/cards/batteries than you think you will need....nothing worse than flat batteries at the wrong moment. Alex also packed his tripod, which is particularly good for those night shots of things like the Church on Spilled Blood.
Miscellaneous: Ensure you pack a good Russian to English (or whatever your language) phrase book, which shows not only translations, but also the words in cyrillic letters. It can be slow going working out what things say in Russian...and helps if your husband is half Russian and can already read some of it
- Castles and Palaces
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Bring plenty of medicines
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring plenty of medicines, such as aspirin, Tylenol, allergy medications, antacids, etc. Shopping in a pharmacy when you don't feel well and everything is labeled in Russian with Cyrillic letters is not fun.
Some Simple Items to Bring Along
Luggage and bags: A Lockable Bag is a good idea
with good strong straps and carry handles
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Comfortable shoes
Warm Fleeces (autumn & winter)
Wear Layers (winter time)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Toothbrush and paste (buy bottled Water to rinse mouth out).
Always have Toilet Roll (seems to be national shortage)
Toilets cost 6-10pyb to use (so have plenty of change)
Photo Equipment: Keep it in its bag until you need to use it
Dont Flaunt it about either
All films and services are available with ease.
Miscellaneous: Mains adaptor (3pin to 2pin Round,if you are from UK)
Photocopies of all documents,
Don't Loose your Immigration Card (Big problems if You do!)
Hand and Face Cream (Skin dries out really quickly).
If cooking yourself...
Can Opener (i could not get hang of russian ones :))))
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Hiking
Photo Equipment: Don't be too concerned if you haven't brought enough film with you as a roll of Fuji, 36exp, will cost you about 60 roubles (USD 2.00 in real money).
Miscellaneous: C.D.'s are the bargain of the century here - just 60 roubles for a good quality disc. You'll really struggle though if you want to buy only legit cds as the shops are very few and hard to find.
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Saint Petersburg Travel Guide
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