Kaliningradskaya Oblast' Warnings and Dangers
Flooded potholes - less to worry about!
Warnings and Dangers
Reviews from VirtualTourist Members
potholes and more
If you go there with your own car - bear in mind driving on Russian roads can bring serious damage to your cherished travel companion!Potholes are the largest problem - mostly you'll see them in time, but you better not drive to close after a truck! Some holes are not just like the one you are used to from a local back alley, but HUGE! (saw one on my first trip that could easily swallow a "cinquecento" or similar small car, but at least that monster was closed now...).A way to solve the problem (or at least be less aware of it) is to drive in a sudden rainstorm - if you like a game of Russian roulette that is!Finally, when driving with a foreign car - be aware the Russian police will have a special eye on YOU! We were checked 5 times in 2 days, but having been adviced to take care with speeding, and with all papers in good order we ended up on the safe side there!
When returning from Kaliningrad this time (August '05) with our own car we passed the same border crossing. As we didn't have any official paper (saying we were there on a "working mission") making the crossing faster we went at nighttime in a terrible rainstorm, hoping this would make the waiting easier - wrong thinking!The idea is that Polish tradesmen flock the border 24/7 and they apparently are not that popular. So the Russians see no reason to speed up the border-checking in any way, and as a tourist you are just somehow a "go-between": if you are lucky and speak some Russian, you may get a stamp to get out of the "waiting area" faster than the rest. And you may be adviced "officially" how to get through in 1-2 hours (only when a travelmate has a Russian passport, or with the help of some little "corruption" along the line), after you get past the first checkpoint. In our case we...
The border crossing can be tricky, to say the least...Even if you have all visa stuff arranged getting all stamps and check ups can well take up to an hour, at best. But that's not all!On the Polish side of the border a line of cars that may not seem too long can turn into a sickening cue, taking up to 4.5 hours (in our case) unless you catch the trick... Some Polish locals have made a day time job of standing at the front of the cues, only leaving for lunch after some time - and after cashiering 10 Euros from drivers at the back of the cue who are willing to pay to move ahead (the drivers in our group weren't! :( ). With another 30 mins at the Polish checkpoint (and waiting for the Russians to let small group of cars proceed into their compound) the whole border crossing took us 6 hours!
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