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Old 12-24-2014, 02:10 AM
 
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Have you ever been in Russia? What did you not like most?
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:21 AM
 
Location: Orlando
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About ten years ago, my husband and I took a Scandinavian cruise that included a stop in St. Petersburg, Russia. We decided to take a tour of the Hermitage museum. It was an awful experience.

The weather was hot and humid, and the museum had no air conditioning. This was a problem for us, but I would think it would be a greater problem for the priceless art treasures in the museum with no climate control.

Apparently there's also little or no control over how many visitors are permitted in the museum at one time, because it was incredibly crowded. It's an enormous museum, but every room was packed with visitors. The guide for our group seemed like she wanted us to go as fast as possible, and she hurried us through one room after another, with little or no time to browse the beautiful art works. My memory is of just flying through the rooms, thinking, Whoa! There's a whole room full of Rembrandt paintings! There's a whole room full of malachite pieces!

It was two hours of almost running through crowded, hot, humid rooms with little time to look at the art. By the end of the tour we were exhausted and frustrated, and saddened by the lost opportunity to see some of the world's greatest art treasures.
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Old 12-24-2014, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Starting a walkabout
1,939 posts, read 939,878 times
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Went in 2012 to St. Petersburg, Moscow, Novogorod and Golden Circle cities. Loved the whole experience.

People do not smile readily but on the whole they were friendly enough. Moscow was hot in Summer. There were crowds but our guide had advance tickets. I don't recall disliking a specific thing.
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Old 12-25-2014, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
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I visited Moscow and St Petersburg about ten months after the USSR fell apart in 1991. There was nothing I liked about the country, the people, the food, the architecture. That said, the trip provided two important lessons for me.

1. CNN and every other US news outlet was constantly reporting on the food lines and starving children in the streets throughout Russia. My friends and family were seriously concerned for me. I was concerned enough to bring adequate supplies of trail mix, nuts, etc.

The longest line I ever saw was for cigarettes (5 blocks long). Second longest - vodka. Third longest was for raw chicken. While I have NO DOUBT that there were shortages in the rural areas, the reporting on US news bureaus was WILDELY exaggerated. I gave my treats to hotel staffers and learned that propaganda occurs in the US, too.

2. At the time of this trip, I worked for the Salvation Army. I am not a Christian nor religious in any formal way, but the Divisional Commander asked me to visit the Salvation Army in Moscow, which had reopened just two months before my visit after 25+ years of forced closure.

I considered his request a great compliment to me, and was happy to bring them a few gifts from him. The ONLY time I saw Russian citizens who looked truly happy and peaceful was during that service at The Salvation Army. It was one of the most 'spiritual' events I have ever personally witnessed.
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Old 12-29-2014, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong / Vienna
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My biggest issue was communication. It was incredibly hard to find a common language. Besides that, some areas of St. Petersburg felt a bit unsafe at night and drunks tend to be quite talkative, which is fairly intimidating when one doesn't speak a lick of Russian.

Those were only minor things, though. Overall I enjoyed those four days in St. Petersburg immensely.
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Old 12-30-2014, 08:49 AM
 
2,291 posts, read 3,935,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viribusunitis View Post
My biggest issue was communication. It was incredibly hard to find a common language. Besides that, some areas of St. Petersburg felt a bit unsafe at night and drunks tend to be quite talkative, which is fairly intimidating when one doesn't speak a lick of Russian.

Those were only minor things, though. Overall I enjoyed those four days in St. Petersburg immensely.
My experience was very similar to this. I have no negative experiences to report, although communication was sometimes a bit tricky.
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Old 12-30-2014, 09:16 AM
 
Location: NYC, CHI, UK
466 posts, read 430,895 times
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I first visited St. Petersburg and Moscow in 2008. I returned in 2012 to live in St. Petersburg for a few months. I just love that city to bits and really enjoyed walking around, seeing the things that most tourists don't or won't venture out to see. I also traveled across the country on the Trans Siberian, which was a great experience.

I agree about the language. You're not going to find many people who speak English, and there's definitely be a lack of tourist information in English.
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Old 12-30-2014, 09:20 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,268,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WellShoneMoon View Post
About ten years ago, my husband and I took a Scandinavian cruise that included a stop in St. Petersburg, Russia. We decided to take a tour of the Hermitage museum. It was an awful experience.

The weather was hot and humid, and the museum had no air conditioning. This was a problem for us, but I would think it would be a greater problem for the priceless art treasures in the museum with no climate control.

Apparently there's also little or no control over how many visitors are permitted in the museum at one time, because it was incredibly crowded. It's an enormous museum, but every room was packed with visitors. The guide for our group seemed like she wanted us to go as fast as possible, and she hurried us through one room after another, with little or no time to browse the beautiful art works. My memory is of just flying through the rooms, thinking, Whoa! There's a whole room full of Rembrandt paintings! There's a whole room full of malachite pieces!

It was two hours of almost running through crowded, hot, humid rooms with little time to look at the art. By the end of the tour we were exhausted and frustrated, and saddened by the lost opportunity to see some of the world's greatest art treasures.
your experiences seems to only relate to a museum. What about the city?
I visited the Vatican Museum and it was an awful experience as well. I wish I hadn't wasted a whole day being hustled from one crowded room to another.
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:53 PM
 
Location: D.C.
2,852 posts, read 1,816,671 times
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I've done several cruises. One stopped in St. Petersburg, the other in Sochi. St. Petersburg was fantastic, I definitely want to go back and visit. We only got about four or five hours at the Hermitage which is not anywhere near enough time to see even a fraction of this place. I did get to see their entire Impressionist collection though, which made the visit worthwhile. Also visited Church of spilled blood and several other sites. Definitely worthwhile. Sochi was pretty much a waste of time. I went about a year before the Olympics, and basically all they did was show where the sites were. Not much at all to see in Sochi itself. One of these days I want to visit Moscow too.
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Orlando
1,994 posts, read 2,638,622 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
your experiences seems to only relate to a museum. What about the city?
The question that the OP asked was "Have you ever been in Russia? What did you not like the most?"

My visit to the Hermitage museum was what I did not like the most. Just answering the question.

(I didn't see any of St. Petersburg besides the museum, as the ship was docked there for only one day, and we had elected to spend that time in the museum.)
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