Trip to Russia



My Russia trip was all right.Thatís what I told people.


I had planned to go there with Stephanie, a mathematician I was dating who was invited too speak at a conference in St. Petersburg.We planned to fly into Moscow and then take the train up to St. Petersburg where she would attend her conference and I would wander about the city.

But she cancelled and I ended up going alone.I would have preferred to have been able to spend more time outside of these two cities because they are easily the two most touristy cities in a country which seemed to be me to be very different outside of the big cities.New York State isnít like New York City.

I made the most of what I had.I was fortunate to work with someone from Moscow and her husband was a contact person in the city and also a real Russian citizen to whom I could ask my questions.


Although cigarettes are cheap in Russia, they canít get real American Marlboro cigarettes so thatís what Alexís friend wanted in exchange for a ride from the airport.I carried my really heavy bag all the way from the Metro to the hostel.I got a great suite there though since they were out of dorm rooms.No hot water though; this is Russia.


My first day I got out to see as much of the tourist sites that I could.Thatís good because the next day I went around the city trying to get my visa registered.The company that used to do them for free moved, and then I was directed to another company with the same name and then found out that they no longer registered visas for free.Finally got the red tape restrictions cleared.


Russian friendliness:got lost one night I was certain I knew the way back to the hostel from the Metro stop and approached curfew.Two women walked me to a main street and found a Ďcabí for me to get home.This Ďcabí was like many taxis in Moscow and is just a regular guy looking to help pay for his car.So I got back to the hostel in time.


I took that train ride to St. Petersburg as planned.None of the people with whom I shared my compartment spoke English, but that was OK.The woman next to me paged through the phrasebook asking questions and took the page that outlined Russian profanity in stride.They also helped me when the attendant stopped by to rent bed linens.This wasnít covered in the Lonely Planet guidebook, but the others paid for my linens when I didnít understand what was going on.Slept well.


Here in St. Petersburg, I took in some tourist sites, especially the walking tour for Crime and Punishment.Since this was June there was more than enough daylight for this stuff, I could take outdoor photos at ten pm.Also, the sunsets lasted a real long time.


I also decided to take it easy.I had a lot of time and just wanted to relax.I had seen enough Russian churches and all that so I took plenty of time to enjoy the Russian ice cream.I found a place that sold the ice cream by weight and took credit cards; all I needed.


Pictures are here.