Scandinavia & Russia

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by gardna, May 18, 2009.

  1. gardna

    gardna Deleted User

    Hi - my wife and I are touring [ in Frankia Motorhome] thru Scandinavia starting June 5th and plan to visit St Petersburg in late July early August. Just wondering if anybody is considering the same area at this time. We may extend our time in Russia if we have travelling companions. David & Carol.
     
  2. Losos

    Losos Read Only Funster

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    On one of the other forums there was a long discussion about traveling alone in Russia. The general opinion seemed to be 'Don't do it' Hope you find some one to go with you, if you don't I would advise giving St. Petersburg a miss.
     
  3. weymard

    weymard Read Only Funster

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    is an old photo about Russia after USSR fail !
    DO IT ! 3 years ago I drove across Russia from Cherbourg to Saint Petersburg, passed by Moscow, to Perm (Oural) and after to Volgograd (Stalingrad) to Ukraine etc... All peoples were very welcoming and helpful. I was in secure everywhere ! just on thing, the road police ( in russian : DPC) in Tatarstan (Kazan) tried to extort money from me ! They loose :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1: the were afraid when i said : "I call my ambassy "! :Rofl1: Drive safety, with an eye on you tachimeter, respect exactly the speed limits, look russians driver and adapt your speed and attitude to them (they know where are DPC !).
    You will do a great journey, you never will forget it ! So beautiful country with extraodinary castles and cities, kind people, nice food (for a french :Rofl1:), cheaper ! (except Moscow, very expensive !)
    DO IT !
     
  4. Bulletguy

    Bulletguy Read Only Funster

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    This is a useful link to a very good forum on everything concerning Russia.
    Russia Travel Forums - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Trans-Siberian discussions, Russian visa and transportation advice.

    I had proposed a trip to Belarus this year but getting a Visa plus 'info' on touring with a campervan simply proved to difficult. After trying to get some sense and logic out of the Belarussian Consulate in London and having the phone slammed down on me a number of times, i just gave up.

    It's not only getting a visa which can prove a problem. There is the problem of vehicle insurance, medical insurance, and breakdown recovery. Also one of the requirements of the visa was having to give an address of the 'inviting party', which of course i couldn't if touring in a campervan!

    As for Belarus......it's easier and a darn sight cheaper (£250 return to Minsk) to simply jump on a plane. You don't even need to fuss about visas either as you can get one at Minsk airport.

    Why did i want to go to Belarus instead of Russia? Even though it is now an independant sovereign state it is commonly known as the last Soviet state. Russia has descended into the madness of capitalism which has brought with it all the usual 'benefits' such as greed, profiteering, racketeering, thieving and of course killing. Belarus has not gone that way and though openly disliked by the West (mainly because they cannot profit from cheap Belarussian labour), Lukashenko is a very popular President due to him ensuring the welfare of the Belarussian resident and not going back on any promises he made before coming to power.

    Good luck......you will need plenty of it!!
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  5. weymard

    weymard Read Only Funster

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    CITATION "There is the problem of vehicle insurance, medical insurance, and breakdown recovery. Also one of the requirements of the visa was having to give an address of the 'inviting party', which of course i couldn't if touring in a campervan!"


    With you bank card (visa or master) you have an international medical insurance (ask them) (the russian ambassy ask the document for the visa) and you are cover in case of breakdown by you green card (insurance international). To received an invitation, it exist some agencies specialized which can deliver an invitation for you and it is ok with a MH. Just one obligation you must go one day to FSB office for control you visa.
    At the frontier you must buy a Russian car insurance and pay an "Authorization to circulate" (equal to fench grey card for car, do not know the name in UK) this document is very important, it give the time during you can drive with your car in Russia.
    For Bielaruss, I am in complete discord with Bulletguy, Bielaruss is a Dictatorship, the people are so poor that now the roads are dangerous, there are many bandits, and the police is not the last !! Very dangerous to travel accross Bielaruss ! Do not do it !
    Go to Baltic countries and go to Saint Petersbourg (a so beautiful and awesome city).

    I shall advise you to learn the cyrillic alphabet before leaving, it is more simple than we think, buy a book with Common conversation in Russian (a good pretext to laugh with Russians people !), buy a mapps with RUSSIAN NAMES, in English names there is a lot of mistake !!
     
  6. Losos

    Losos Read Only Funster

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    But isn't this just typical of all the ex-communist states ? They may not have a communist government anymore but the brainwashing of 45 years under totalitarism regimes has meant that IMO the people (Certainly those over about 35 year old) are just so rude and ignorant.

    In Czechland it's not uncommon if you attempt to return some faulty goods to a shop to be told that they don't accept returns "It's your fault for buying it in the first place" There is no Czech word for 'Customer Service' :Eek!:

    The checkout staff at the supermarket have all been told to search under any bags you have in your trolley because thieving is endemic in all the ex-communist states.:Angry::Angry::Angry:

    If you go to the DIY store (e.g. to buy a new lock) you dare not take the old one (to compare in the store) because you will ne accused of stealing it, never mind that it's rusty and doesn't work, and isn't a lock that they sell anyway, they just come down on you :Angry::Angry::Angry:

    Our French member above might be quite relaxed about being stopped by the Police and having to threaten calling in the Embassy but if that were me I would be totally shocked, and frightened, after all he doesn't realise but in those situations the Police in these countries could easily have just carted him off to the cells and left him there for God only knows how long :Sad:

    ETA:-
    I just noticed Weymard doesn't recommend Belarus either!!

    Czech Republic is generally regarded as the most 'Western' of the former eastern Bloc (Some might say Hungary) but I know for a fact that no Czech would ever consider going to Belarus or Ukraine or any of those ex-communist Baltic states and very few would want to go to Russia either.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  7. weymard

    weymard Read Only Funster

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    Czech have a rancor against the Russian and other republics socialist (we know why) and plus They think they are the most Europeans of all ! And it is truth, wen I went to Prague (return from Russia) I saw in every restaurants, shops, that they can speak in the 5 important languages of Europe : English (normal ...), Russian (also normal ..) French (!), German (also normal .) and at many time Italian in plus !! Never I feel myself as European than in Prague. Love this splendid and awesome city.
     
  8. Bulletguy

    Bulletguy Read Only Funster

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    Has he actually been there?

    Until last year i had never visited any ex-eastern bloc countries.

    People talk about the dangers. Have they ever been to London? :Eek!: If you don't get mugged on the Underground, car drivers will attempt to kill you if you dare walk across a road!

    My main interest concerns anything 2nd World War and also post war....most of which is Cold War related. Naturally i expected to meet ex-DDR people. In the end i met and spoke with many of all ages. They told a very different story to that which had been fed to me by western propaganda.

    I had grown up being told about the 'evils of communism' and the building of the Berlin wall. That it was 'the work of The Devil' etc. How odd then that almost half a century on, Israel begin doing the very same thing, but the western world ignore that and turn a blind eye. Needless to say, the US play a massive role in ensuring Israels military power which is truly mind boggling.

    Rather than listening and 'sopping up' what my own country want me to believe about other countries, i prefer to make my own mind up. Obviously the best way is to go and see for yourself.....if possible. Hence my reason for wanting to visit Belarus. I read up quite a lot on Belarus and this book written by a western author proved a very good read. Yes, the meddling US are even 'busy' trying to get their own way out in Belarus.
    [ame=http://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Soviet-Republic-Alexander-Lukashenkos/dp/1425135277/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242752701&sr=8-1]The Last Soviet Republic: Alexander Lukashenko's Belarus: Stewart Parker: Amazon.co.uk: Books[/ame]

    Because it proved difficult in arranging visa, clarifying vehicle insurance, getting breakdown cover etc, and basically running short on time, i've given up going via campervan and will visit next year by staying in Minsk. Its easy to get a flight, relatively cheap and i can get a visa at the airport.

    As weymard points out, Cyrillic is probably the bigger hurdle for westerners to overcome. That said.....i do know how to read maps!

    As for Czech, i only spent a short time there last year and really should do more of it. First thing i noticed was the ease with which you will find somewhere to overnight with campsites in even the tiniest rural villages. Brilliant!

    This year i want to go into Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and maybe further south east.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  9. weymard

    weymard Read Only Funster

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    I totally agree with you, the occidental propaganda was very Effective but deceitful !
    I must add a precision : my wife is Russian.
     

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