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Old Sep 12th 2012, 7:59 pm   #31
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Default Re: Russia - Siberia- Ask Vanya!

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Zstravsvouïtié (sp)!
I'm a Brit living in France and have just got my Visa for a short trip to St Petersburg in October. I'm meeting up with my Anglo-French daughter who will be returning to Europe from Japan via the Transsiberian.
I'm revising the Cyrillic alphabet and the little spoken Russian that I know, but does the average Russian in the street speak English/French/German?
What about plugs, e.g. for mobile rechargers? and in fact would Orange France extend to St Petersburg? I doubt this, but you never know.
I've read that tap water shouldn't be drunk, but what about tea made with boiled tap water? Such silly details but it would be good to know in advance.
I'm looking forward to this opportunity to visit the "Venice of the North" and hope to have answers to my silly questions.
P.S. And, to any one thinking of visiting Russia, I advise passing through one of the Visa Agencies rather than going to a Russian Consulate for a Visa...
Hello - my husband and I were in russia two years ago. Started in St. Petes, Novogard, Moscow and the golden ring.

We didnt have much difficulty finding folks who spoke english; especially those in the "service industry". The younger generation certainly spoke english very well and you may (as we did) have folks wanting to continue the conversation with you to practice their english. For the most part, we found the russian people friendly, helpful and generous. Thats not to say that one still have to be careful riding the subway, but well worth a visit - be careful when or if you take pics - you may find your camera confiscated by the police (but returned).......(we were given conflicting info on whether we were able or not able to take pics). Try to get tickets to the hermitage museum etc ahead of schedule as they are always busy and try to take in the ballet at the (gosh I forgot the name - just off the main drag). The place is absolutely breathtaking. Also if you have time a cruise on the river is a must......

Learning the russian alphabet is very very helpful for just be able to read signs and menus (sort of).

We used only bottled water even for brushing our teeth and also took pills with us incase we got sick from drinking the water by accident. You can use the water to make coffee and or tea - at least we did we no problem.....

After saying all this you still remember that pickpockets etc are numerous here as they are in many large cities - so its important
to keep your passport and money stored safely. Oh also we had no problem going out at nite....

Have a great trip.....

Last edited by willmore; Sep 12th 2012 at 8:05 pm.
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Old Sep 12th 2012, 8:03 pm   #32
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Default Re: Russia - Siberia- Ask Vanya!

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Originally Posted by dmu View Post
Zstravsvouïtié (sp)!
I'm a Brit living in France and have just got my Visa for a short trip to St Petersburg in October. I'm meeting up with my Anglo-French daughter who will be returning to Europe from Japan via the Transsiberian.
I'm revising the Cyrillic alphabet and the little spoken Russian that I know, but does the average Russian in the street speak English/French/German?
What about plugs, e.g. for mobile rechargers? and in fact would Orange France extend to St Petersburg? I doubt this, but you never know.
I've read that tap water shouldn't be drunk, but what about tea made with boiled tap water? Such silly details but it would be good to know in advance.
I'm looking forward to this opportunity to visit the "Venice of the North" and hope to have answers to my silly questions.
P.S. And, to any one thinking of visiting Russia, I advise passing through one of the Visa Agencies rather than going to a Russian Consulate for a Visa...
Comrade: I also have a house in France. You will be very welcome in Russia.Outside of Moscow (and even within) you will find very little spoken Englaish, except for schoolboys wanting to practise their lessons on you! I travel from Moscow to Novosibirsk at least four times a year, so I shall be glad to advise you.

You will find that many Russians speak French or German: German, especially amongst the older generation of men who served in those parts.

You must take European plug adapters with you, but don't expect to use them on the train unless your provodnik allows you to plug into the rose-plug in the corridor!

Orange France will work on Roaming, but much better to buy a Russian simcard when you arrive. You will save thousands of rubles. You will need a friend with a Russian passport to get the card.

You may drink water from the taps in towns and cities, but maybe not in the villages. Don't worry about it. Even if you have bad water, if boiled it will be okay. Most of these negatives are put about by western capitalists who wish to discredit Russia.

Go to Intourist: they are the best. Avoid British agents. they know little about Russia.

Vanya, with love from Russia!
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Old Sep 12th 2012, 8:06 pm   #33
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Default Re: Russia - Siberia- Ask Vanya!

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Hello - my husband and I were in russia two years ago. Started in St. Petes, Novogard, Moscow and the golden ring.

We didnt have much difficulty finding folks who spoke english; especially those in the "service industry". The younger generation certainly spoke english very well and you may (as we did) have folks wanting to continue the conversation with you to practice their english. For the most part, we found the russian people friendly, helpful and generous. Thats not to say that one still have to be careful riding the subway, but well worth a visit - be careful when or if you take pics - you may find your camera confiscated by the police (but returned).......(we were given conflicting info on whether we were able or not able to take pics). Try to get tickets to the hermitage museum etc ahead of schedule as they are always busy and try to take in the ballet at the (gosh I forgot the name - just off the main drag). The place is absolutely breathtaking. Also if you have time a cruise on the river is a must......

Learning the russian alphabet is very very helpful for just be able to read signs and menus (sort of).

We used only bottled water even for brushing our teeth and also took pills with us incase we got sick from drinking the water by accident. You can use the water to make coffee and or tea - at least we did we no problem.....

After saying all this you still remember that pickpockets etc are numerous here as they are in many large cities - so its important
to keep your passport and money stored safely. Oh also we had no problem going out at nite....

Have a great trip.....

We find our Canadian and US friends very anxious about water, but I can tell you it is unfounded.
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Old Sep 12th 2012, 8:10 pm   #34
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Default Re: Russia - Siberia- Ask Vanya!

Marinsky Ballet Theatre - that was the name of it and well worthwhile - as I said the theatre is absolutely breathtaking

Cheers....
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Old Sep 12th 2012, 8:11 pm   #35
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We find our Canadian and US friends very anxious about water, but I can tell you it is unfounded.
How are my hockey tickets coming along?
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Old Sep 12th 2012, 8:12 pm   #36
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Default Re: Russia - Siberia- Ask Vanya!

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Marinsky Ballet Theatre - that was the name of it and well worthwhile - as I said the theatre is absolutely breathtaking

Cheers....
Yes, and also visit our Novosibirsk State Opera and Ballet!
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Old Sep 12th 2012, 8:13 pm   #37
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For what match? Spartak?
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Old Sep 12th 2012, 8:26 pm   #38
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Default Re: Russia - Siberia- Ask Vanya!

Thank you both for your input. I think I'll do without a mobile while I'm there, I can always ring the OH from the hotel and in fact DD might have arrranged coverage, having come all the way from Vladivostok...
It was the French "Routard" that warned about the tap water, even as far as recommending cleaning your teeth with mineral water (provided by the hotel?).
The Hermitage and Marinsky Theatre are already on our list, plus a canal/river trip. We can both read the Cyrillic alphabet, so we can't get too lost.
Spaciba and do svidanya!
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Old Sep 12th 2012, 10:30 pm   #39
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For what match? Spartak?
semi/final at the 2014 winter olympics......of course
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Old Sep 12th 2012, 10:35 pm   #40
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Default Re: Russia - Siberia- Ask Vanya!

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Thank you both for your input. I think I'll do without a mobile while I'm there, I can always ring the OH from the hotel and in fact DD might have arrranged coverage, having come all the way from Vladivostok...
It was the French "Routard" that warned about the tap water, even as far as recommending cleaning your teeth with mineral water (provided by the hotel?).
The Hermitage and Marinsky Theatre are already on our list, plus a canal/river trip. We can both read the Cyrillic alphabet, so we can't get too lost.
Spaciba and do svidanya!
We skyped home to canada while visiting russia with no problems.

Its your decision of course regarding drinking the water, but for myself Id rather be safe than sorry. Getting sick in russia and having to walk through the maze of the health care system without knowing the language and whether you will be fortunate to have an attending physician who speaks english, just isnt my cup of tea......we were warned by several agencies regarding the water. The generic brand of the pills cost us $10.00 - well worth it in my opinion even if they were never used.

The hotels we stayed did not supply the water - we had to purchase it.

Oh and also dont be shocked at the number of military police in the city. When we were visiting russia, they were everywhere armed with machine guns - no lie......
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Old Sep 12th 2012, 10:41 pm   #41
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Default Re: Russia - Siberia- Ask Vanya!

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Thank you both for your input. I think I'll do without a mobile while I'm there, I can always ring the OH from the hotel and in fact DD might have arrranged coverage, having come all the way from Vladivostok...
It was the French "Routard" that warned about the tap water, even as far as recommending cleaning your teeth with mineral water (provided by the hotel?).
The Hermitage and Marinsky Theatre are already on our list, plus a canal/river trip. We can both read the Cyrillic alphabet, so we can't get too lost.
Spaciba and do svidanya!
and you will always find people who speak english. Oh about the canal rides. Try to go at dusk if you can. Its really beautiful with the lights on. Also there is a boat that is for "english speaking" people. Ask when you buy the tickets, they dontnecessarily tell you this.
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Old Sep 19th 2012, 4:56 pm   #42
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Default Re: Russia - Siberia- Ask Vanya!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmu View Post
Thank you both for your input. I think I'll do without a mobile while I'm there, I can always ring the OH from the hotel and in fact DD might have arrranged coverage, having come all the way from Vladivostok...
It was the French "Routard" that warned about the tap water, even as far as recommending cleaning your teeth with mineral water (provided by the hotel?).
The Hermitage and Marinsky Theatre are already on our list, plus a canal/river trip. We can both read the Cyrillic alphabet, so we can't get too lost.
Spaciba and do svidanya!
I've lived in St Petersburg (as well as in Moscow and Yaroslavl) and the water in Petersburg is definitely not safe to drink. It habitually carries giardia as well as sometimes nastier things (the city, while beautiful and well worth a visit, was built on a swamp which still affects the water and causes gas buildups sometimes in the metro). While giardia certainly shouldn't cause you any long term harm, it does need some fairly evil antibiotics to get rid of it and can sometimes take more than one course. And the water has to be boiled for a while to kill it, not just a few seconds in an electric kettle. For the sake of a short holiday, I would certainly stick to bottled in Petersburg, you really don't want to deal with docs on your hols. Bottled water isn't really going to make a huge difference to the cost of the holiday anyway and dealing with a foreign medical system when you don't know the language is really awful.

Outside Petersburg the water should be ok, but of course exercise common sense as you would on holiday anywhere. If you plan on drinking it in Petersburg, then get your hep A jabs up to date!
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Old Sep 20th 2012, 7:12 am   #43
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I've lived in St Petersburg (as well as in Moscow and Yaroslavl) and the water in Petersburg is definitely not safe to drink. It habitually carries giardia as well as sometimes nastier things (the city, while beautiful and well worth a visit, was built on a swamp which still affects the water and causes gas buildups sometimes in the metro). While giardia certainly shouldn't cause you any long term harm, it does need some fairly evil antibiotics to get rid of it and can sometimes take more than one course. And the water has to be boiled for a while to kill it, not just a few seconds in an electric kettle. For the sake of a short holiday, I would certainly stick to bottled in Petersburg, you really don't want to deal with docs on your hols. Bottled water isn't really going to make a huge difference to the cost of the holiday anyway and dealing with a foreign medical system when you don't know the language is really awful.

Outside Petersburg the water should be ok, but of course exercise common sense as you would on holiday anywhere. If you plan on drinking it in Petersburg, then get your hep A jabs up to date!
Thanks for that! I don't think I'll drink tea, either, in case they haven't boiled the water long enough!
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Old Sep 20th 2012, 6:54 pm   #44
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Thanks for that! I don't think I'll drink tea, either, in case they haven't boiled the water long enough!
We drank both coffee and tea and had no problem whatsoever..... However we didnt drink the juice at breakfast either and ate oranges, apples, bananas - something with skin or peel so if it was washed in the water it wouldnt affect the actual fruit.

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Old Sep 21st 2012, 4:54 pm   #45
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Thanks for that! I don't think I'll drink tea, either, in case they haven't boiled the water long enough!
Most of the time they will have boiled it properly, Petersburgers know what their water's like! But you can always use bottled water for tea in your room if you have an electric kettle there.

Try tea with jam while you're there - Russians sometimes put runny jam in tea instead of sugar. I don't take sugar in tea but sometimes I like tea with jam, slightly syrupy, lovely on a cold day and very soothing to a sore throat! Makes me feel nostalgic...
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