Advice on destinations
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jul 3, 2012 12:27 PM Last Post By: everbrite
Jun 26, 2012 11:02 AM
Advice on destinationsHello!
I'm a 29 year old solo female traveller who lived in St. Petersburg for a few years from 2005, and I'm going back to visit friends this summer. I'll be staying in Piter for a week, then have a few options for the ten days/two weeks after that:
1. Go up to Karelia and perhaps visit somewhere inside the Arctic Circle too (it's a childhood dream, but maybe I'd rather do this in winter?) Then get the train back to Piter and bus to Tallin then cheap flight home (UK).
2. Go to Moscow for a few days and then catch a bus to Tallinn or Riga and catch a flight home.
3. Go to Moscow for a couple of days, then follow the Silk Road railway down to Bukhara. Getting home cheaply from here might be an issue, so any ideas about how to get very cheaply back to the UK would be welcome...but it'd be amazing to see. Extra visa needed, though?
I'm much more the 'people rather than palaces' kind of traveller - anywhere I can 'live' the local customs and entertainments, I would rather do that than tour palaces in guided groups (although the odd tour is probably a good idea so as not to miss splendour!) I'm also a very budget traveller, couchsurfing and budget flights/3rd class trains/buses where possible.
Any ideas welcome.
Jun 26, 2012 11:04 AM
1PS: I also speak some Russian - intermediate kind of level, so I'd rather book train tickets, etc, locally to keep costs down, and if anyone has any different ideas for where to go, throw them at me...I'm open to all ideas which involve discovering some aspect of language or culture, or pretty much anything else!
Edited by: starbelle13
Jun 26, 2012 2:24 PM
2You don't have to book the trains locally. You can get the same prices booking online of the Russian Railways website, rzd.ru. You need to register and to use the Russian site as the English part of the site is for investors.
1. Karelia is nice but it's a long way from there to the Arctic Circle. OTOH if you have the time, I would visit Petrozavodsk and Kizhi and then head to Kem' and take a boat to Solovetsky Island. You'll need reservations for the boat to and from Solovetsky and for a place to stay on the island but it's fascinating.
BTW there is now a train from Piter to Tallinn.
2. I love visiting Moscow so I am always up for a trip there. OTOH since you lived in Piter, I assume that you have been there before. And since you live in the UK you can always take a budget flight to any of the Baltic countries so why waste the Russian visa since it is expensive.
3. Moscow to Bukhara is Russia to Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan. So you would need two additional visas and probably much more time than a 10-15 days to make it worthwhile.
Bottom line, I would stick with #1.
Jun 27, 2012 5:10 AM
3Karelia is really beautiful. "Living the local life" could be done by couch surfing in Petrozavodsk or, if you're Russian is good enough, hitch hiking or cycling around back roads to beautiful old log cabin villages. Kizhi is the most spectacular church in Karelia but it's just a museum and there are other stunning examples of log churches, some over 500 years old, still in use in Karelian villages to this day.
Kola Peninsula, about 18 hours by direct train to the north of Karelia and mostly beyond the Arctic Circle, is in my opinion even more beautiful than Karelia. It has similar nature but also mountains, which Karelia does not. It also has beautiful log cabin villages and wooden churches along the White Sea Coast and an indigenous reindeer herding culture in the interior of Lovozero Region
Jun 28, 2012 6:24 AM
4I agree with #3. Also Murmansk may make a good end point, as there are buses from there to Norway (Kirkenes) and Finland (Ivalo) from which you should be able to get back to the UK reasonably cheaply without backtracking, and there are a few things to see there (port/WWII memorial/British cemetery). Only problem is of course that there will be little or no daylight in the winter.
Jul 3, 2012 3:56 AM
Jul 3, 2012 10:31 AM
Thanks loads for your replies - Ruth, I had no idea rzd.ru existed, and it's good to get a bit of a reality check on distances etc. Thanks very much for your input. Have you travelled extensively in Russia?
Eddie and Twoleftfeet, thanks for giving me a prod to definitely go to Karelia - wandering off the beaten track into a village or two sounds great. I'm looking up train costs and getting all excited.
And Narva has always called out to me to explore it. Not sure I'll do it this trip, but you've persuaded me!
Thanks again, all - Karelia it is!
Jul 3, 2012 12:27 PM
7Yes, I have traveled in Russia and probably seen more of Russia than most Russians since my first trip in 1993 but EddyV clearly has been to many more places in Russia than I have.
(5 star Hotel)
From US$446.75 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$273.69 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$156.09 per night