We have visas in hand and we are ready to tackle Russia. I'm hearing and reading a couple of horror stories -- be sure your passport is stamped on the way in or they won't let you out, sliced open luggage just to get at your cosmetics and body care products, nasty customs agents. I guess every new country we've visited has had warnings and scary stories, none of which have materialized especially if precautions are taken. So bring it on, I'm up to the challenge.
We don't arrive until around 9 pm. Our hotel has a free shuttle and a lounge serving food until 1 am. I'm already thinking about pelmeni and a glass of wine at midnight.
Reading of restaurants and places to see other than the guided tours has me wondering. Do we take the initiative and strike out on our own in St. Petersburg and Moscow? Or just stick with the group? I would love to visit the Moscow Zoo. It looks great and I try to visit the zoo wherever we go. I must confess, I've overheard Russian being spoken and butted right in to ask questions. A very nice man at the Alemany Farmers Market last week told me that Moscow is huge and we couldn't begin to see it all, everyone speaks English and it's safe. But staying with the group is more comfortable. I wish I knew people, friends of people, in the two big cities.
My next entry will likely be from Frankfurt, en route. Check back June 10. And please wish me a happy birthday on the 12th. I think this is going to be a milestone in more ways than one!