We are in the process of getting our visas and the requirements are daunting. First we had to wait until exactly 90 days prior, and the final payments made. Then we needed the invitation letter from the cruise line, which in essence tells the Russian government why we are in the country. But I chose to fly in a day early, so we need to account for the extra day. We had to fill out a form for the hotel in St. Petersburg so they could issue an invitation for the first night. Actually four forms, one each.
Which brings up another topic, the group is down to four. Our niece got a fantastic and well-deserved promotion, but unfortunately the job starts right at the time of the trip. They cannot join us but they found another trip exploring middle Europe by train later in the summer.
And this takes me down another tangent, that of our incredible travel agent, Cynthia, who has guided us through all this labyrinthian paperwork, and found the new trip for our niece and her husband. If we manage to depart without any glitches it's totally thanks to Cynthia.
Back to to the visa. Now we have our letters of invitation. We are each required to fill out an application and submit it to the Russian Consulate with our passports plus tso copies of the passports, another passport picture taken in the last 30 days, the letters of invitation and a check for a few hundred dollars. Thankfully Cynthia will submit all this to a company that handles it. Everything has to be exactly as described. So that's our task for the coming week.
I haven't made much progress learning the language or how to read it. I think Google translate will be a player on this trip. I can say 'thank you' and a few others that should be useful.
Less as than three months to go. I hope Russia is ready for me.