How we got to Russia

Not in a Lada.

You might recall that we finally touched Russia and added it to our handprint map two years ago. And in our journalogs (here and here) we shared the daily activities of the group tour. Fortunately we did not mis-goose step our way in Moscow and initially it was rainy… but we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Did you wonder why we chose a group over independent travel? As you might know, we try our best not to join group tours.

So what were the considerations for making our initial journey with a group? In our little essay, we recounted the events leading up to our final decision to be part of a chaperoned group rather than getting around by our own wits. Read here all about it. We have to say that despite all the reservations we had, we quite enjoyed that trip even if it felt a little ‘herded’. You know what we mean huh?

For an initial foray into a country with language completely different from anything we know, it was definitely a great introduction. Some day, we will plan a return journey getting a little off the beaten track. But not before we check off all the must sees first.

Have you been to Russia? What was your plan and journey to Russia like?

Author: Mel & Suan

Mel works his day job for a living, but lives for antiquities, history and geography at all other times. He enjoys writing and thought sharing and obviously traveling. Suan is a homey person, who like girlie stuff such as cross stitching etc. Enjoys shopping & modeling for Mel. What a match!

23 thoughts on “How we got to Russia”

    1. Well, the perception from outside of the country apparently paints it that way… but in reality we did not find it all so different in the large cities like Moscow and Petersburg from other European cities…
      And sure, there will definitely be stuff that the group does not touch and you might wonder about that!

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            1. Oh yes! For that you need 2 full days, in the least. We only had like half a day so it was sooo rushed. But then independent travellers seems to get the short end of the stick – they are overwhelmed by the constant wave of groups! Btw you can’t walk in individually we understand, and will be clubbed together and led by a museum tour leader.

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  1. I have not been to Russia (yet). Is it on my list ? Yes and no. There are so many countries I have not seen. Sometimes I wish to go on a long travel and see many places. I understand the idea of feeling more “secure” with a guide that speak the language. But travel with a group as it positive ( meeting great people) and negative ( no control on the schedule)…

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    1. Oh most definitely. The people in the group makes or breaks the entire experience. We had a group briefing before the departure and everyone was introduced and had a lively Q&A before departure. It gave us a good idea of who comprise the group and our initial impressions…. but then it’s all about being accommodating each other to make it go well. Which it did… phew!

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  2. I did get to Russia in a Lada! We flew into Finland where my husband’s friend, who was Finnish, met us. All five of us and our bags (enough gear for 3 weeks) stuffed into his car and away we went. Somehow we all survived.

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  3. I worked in Moscow for a year way back in 2007. It’s quite a tough country to work and live in. I remember the minus 30 degrees C mornings for a couple of months in winter! I found that russian people can be cold at first but once you built a little trust they can be very friendly and helpful. I used to love the old volga’s – those are like the luxury version of lada. I remember some of the fun cultural things like most cars would stop and act like a taxi 🙂 and these little hot dog and beer stands all over the city.

    As for group tours it’s not my scene either, but I did take a six week temple / cultural tour of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia on one trip, it was a small group of 7 people and we definitely packed way more activities in than I could have organised on my own. And when I inevitably got food poisoning it was nice to be taken care off. I was so exhausted from six weeks of every day movement that I had to lock myself in my Bangkok hotel at the end for a weekend of room service and movies hahaha

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    1. Incredible! How long were you in Russia working? We experienced -30 for a few days and could not take it. Imagine an entire winter!!!
      Indeed you are right. The Russians are a little less receptive of people at first. But then they warm up quickly and language did not come across as a barrier.
      Well this tour group we had was large – 30! But we were lucky as most were very cooperative and it is true that you have folks look out for you too.

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    1. That was our key consideration. For a ‘maiden’ journey (we hope to be back), we wanted to see as much as possible without having the spend the time to navigate to it, Imagine trying to get into the Kremlin on your own. Its a lot more complex than one can imagine!

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