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Greg
09-08-2009, 08:39 PM
My brother and I want to go to Russia (well Belarus actually, which was previously a Russian controlled state).

I want to visit my late father's village, and I'm trying to get anybody's experience of travelling in that part of the world.

We hope to do the Trans Siberian rail route to Moscow, and then get to Minsk, and find some way to get to the village he used to live in near Senno.

My late mum took us there in 1969, which was pretty daring, so if she could do it then I reckon I can too.

Sweep
09-08-2009, 09:14 PM
My brother and I want to go to Russia (well Belarus actually, which was previously a Russian controlled state).

I want to visit my late father's village, and I'm trying to get anybody's experience of travelling in that part of the world.

We hope to do the Trans Siberian rail route to Moscow, and then get to Minsk, and find some way to get to the village he used to live in near Senno.

My late mum took us there in 1969, which was pretty daring, so if she could do it then I reckon I can too.

Why not ask Kevin Milne? He has been there recently and I saw the programme. Daring enough to go to Chernobyl with a geiger counter.

You could also get a Russian Bride who could tell you all about the cemetaries without you having to visit. It may be cheaper or not.

Otherwise how about going to a travel agent and asking about Passports and Visas etc.

You could ship your vehicle on a container from Tauranga

Trev
09-08-2009, 09:30 PM
Yeah check out Natalie.
:)

Greg
09-08-2009, 09:35 PM
Is it so impossible to get a serious answer.

Re Chernoble - yes the area I want to visit is not far from there, but I only have 20 or so years to live - not stuffed if its shortened by a few.

vinref
09-08-2009, 10:54 PM
My brother and I want to go to Russia (well Belarus actually, which was previously a Russian controlled state).

I want to visit my late father's village, and I'm trying to get anybody's experience of travelling in that part of the world.

We hope to do the Trans Siberian rail route to Moscow, and then get to Minsk, and find some way to get to the village he used to live in near Senno.

My late mum took us there in 1969, which was pretty daring, so if she could do it then I reckon I can too.

My experiences are not recent. I hope things have improved.

I travelled the TransSiberian and lived in Moscow for a few weeks in 1990. But avoid travelling on the TransSiberian in winter. There is absolutely nothing to see but snow and snow-covered pine forests. Everyone on the train and at the stops is miserable and/or drunk. Prostitutes and thieves get on at every stop. The food at the Chinese end of the journey was very good, and got progressively worse the more I got into Russia. My experience of the Russians are that they are surly and unhappy and always seem drunk. They are/were very racist. They tried at every opportunity to steal from me.

Moscow is a pretty city though. Check out the amazing underground train stations which doubled as nuclear war shelters - some are over 100m underground and (were) full of busts of Lenin/Marx etc and chandeliers. Red Square, Marx Square and the Kremlin are all great places to spend a day or so. Go to St Petersburg if you can. Completely different from Moscow and much more cosmopolitan.

R2x1
09-08-2009, 10:57 PM
but I only have 20 or so years to live - not stuffed if its shortened by a few. Say that again in 17 years or so, with Natalie on your arm. ;)
Ensure that your travellers cheques or whatever money transfer thing you use will work over there - not all will, and the Trans Siberian Train is a long introduction to weightwatchers for the newly destitute.

tut
10-08-2009, 06:43 AM
I spent a month in Kazan last year. My BNZ Visa card worked in ATMs and was taken in some shops and restaurants.
I think it would be difficult to get around with out speaking Russian. Things are different, I found a lot of business is done on the basis of who you know and how much you were prepared to pay.
American dollars are more than welcome and when I go back I will make sure I have a good supply. Cash is King.
I thought the people were unhelpful and surly at first but as I got to know them it wasnt so. I thought Russian people were more like Kiwis than say Americans are.
Just watch the Vodka though. As a guest I visited a lot and on each visit I was toasted with a small glass of Vodka. It is traditional to have at least three glasses over the course of a meal and once the glass is lifted it is not put down until it is empty I was told. I was happy to comply. LOL

I saw little drunkedness but was aware it existed among the down and outers.
Kazan has a population of around one million. Moscow about 15. Both cities were modern and thriving with shopping and malls very up to date.
Food shops had a tremendous selection of good compared to NZ.
I travelled on a similar train to the Trans Siberian to Moscow. We had a small two berth cabin. It was comfortable but I would hate to travel more than the twelve hours we did. There was nothing to see and the toilets and washroom were dirty and smelly. We took our own food.

Once out of the cities things change rapidly. There is a lot of poverty. Living conditions seem very substandard compared to NZ and the people are not used to strangers who don't speak thier language.

In conclusion, a wonderful country.
Take American dollars.
I wouldnt go there unless I had a guide.
I never saw any crime (Or graffity)
Take precautions though. The cities are like any other cities as far as crime goes.
Travel by underground if you can when in Moscow. Fastest trains I have ever been on.
Vist the armoury museum.

Greg
10-08-2009, 07:47 AM
Thanks for the information folks.

Strommer
12-08-2009, 02:12 PM
Greg, a friend of mine is Russian and I asked her today if she could give you any advice for your time in Russia. Here it is:

1. Signs are in Cyrillic and few people speak English so it is best to have someone with you who knows the language.

2. Beware of pickpockets. The locals know that tourists have money and valuable items, so use extra caution.

3. Hotels are expensive. Best to sort out backpacker accommodation in advance - use internet for this.

4. Food bought off the streets is OK but stay away from any 'street food' with meat in it.

-----------

I have traveled extensively overseas and have found Lonely Planet (and similar guide books) to be extremely useful. These days there are superb travel websites with comments, reviews and blogs from ordinary people. One such site that you probably would not find is [ http://www.horizonsunlimited.com ] - although this is specifically for those touring by motorcycle, you should find good advice, etc. When I went from Thailand (a country I have been to several times) to Cambodia (a new country for me), I used a website that was dedicated to crossing the border - most tourists get ripped off when traveling that border overland and the info I found was very useful. If I were going to Russia / Belarus, I would spend several hours searching the internet for travel blogs, etc.

BTW, my Russian friend is returning to (southern) Russia with her daughter and Kiwi husband. Personally I think they would be better off in NZ. Corruption and crime
is quite bad in Russia, plus foreign workers are despised.

If you have any other Q's, I will give my friend a ring.

Be sure to post your experiences here on PF1. :)

Greg
12-08-2009, 03:44 PM
Ta Steve.

My mum took us on her own with us four kids, during the cold war, without knowing a single word of the language. I think my biggest problem is going to be how to find the village my father was raised in.

Since mum died recently I don't have her memory to rely on. But nevermind... it'll be an adventure one way or another.

I do have some advantage however... I know how to say "I don't understand", and "cheers" in Russian!

Strommer
12-08-2009, 04:06 PM
I do have some advantage however... I know how to say ... and "cheers" in Russian!


Is that "CHEERS" as in "good-bye / see you later" or
"CHEERS" as in "throwing more vodka down the hatch"??

From what I have heard, the second definition :banana would be :waughh: more useful.

Strommer
12-08-2009, 04:12 PM
My epitaph: Here lies Greg. Loved by many girls, yet hated by them all. I'm sure they're the cause of my woeful fall.



Hmmmnnnn, there are plenty of Russian women wanting to be your bride. :rolleyes: I have another friend (not the one going back to Russia to live) who found a Russian bride on the internet. They are married and living over here. Everyone reckons he will be dumped once she gets her NZ residency and I think that is a good possibility. Surely now, you won't fall into the Russian bride trap, will you?!?:eek::p

Greg
12-08-2009, 04:14 PM
LOL. Not blimmin likely mate!

But I have to say a nice Greek girl with homely values would suit me fine!

Biggles
13-08-2009, 03:14 PM
My brother and I want to go to Russia (well Belarus actually, which was previously a Russian controlled state).

I want to visit my late father's village, and I'm trying to get anybody's experience of travelling in that part of the world.

Hey Greg, Sanya's family on her dad's side originally came from Belarus too - emigrated to the UK about 1910 or something. Half stayed in the UK, but half went back to Belarus. We've vaguely thought of going to check it one day.

Greg
13-08-2009, 06:01 PM
Yeah Mr Big - I remember you mentioning this. If you guys decide to visit there in the not-too-distant future maybe we could travel as a group.

Biggles
14-08-2009, 10:08 AM
Do you speaka da language at all?

Greg
14-08-2009, 10:43 AM
Do you speaka da language at all?Niet ponimyetz, or I think that may be how it's spelt. And of course nazdrovya. :D

Babooshka and dedooska I can pronounce even if I can't spell em.

That's all sorry!

How about Sanya?

R2x1
14-08-2009, 11:31 AM
Nyet.

Biggles
14-08-2009, 12:15 PM
Niet ponimyetz, or I think that may be how it's spelt. And of course nazdrovya. :D

Babooshka and dedooska I can pronounce even if I can't spell em.

That's all sorry!

How about Sanya?

Nah - too far back in the family. They got Anglicised pretty quick I think.

Sweep
14-08-2009, 12:21 PM
Greg:-


You might want to watch Prime TV at 7:30 PM tonight.

zqwerty
14-08-2009, 01:14 PM
Babushka is one of the few Ruskie words I know, oh and Doctor Zhivago, also gulag.