Who's going to Russia?

Discussion in 'USA Men: World Cup Fans & Travel' started by John McGuirk, Jul 3, 2014.

  1. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Colorado
    Club:
    FC Metalist Kharkiv
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    First there's Nizhny Novgorod (host city) and just Novgorod. Sometimes called Stary (old) Novgorod. Very different places. Nizhny is a giant boring industrial city. Novgorod is a medieval city well suited to accommodate visitors. It's near St Petersburg. Maybe an hour away I can't remember exactly.

    Vladimir and Suzdal can be done on day trips form Moscow as Novgorod can be done from St Petersburg. The reason to go to appreciate rural Russia in a place that actually has tourist infrastructure and it's the foundation of the Russian state. Thousand year old churches and Kremlins etc.

    The above is like the base Russia itinerary for any first time visitor.

    The Solovetsky islands aren't too far if you fly. Irkutsk is far but I guess it's up to you if you want to make the trek. Nalchik is not close to Sochi. With a helicopter it's close but by train or bus it takes forever. The reason to go is the natural setting and unique culture. Again that's up to you if it's something you're into.

    If you only want to visit host cities I'd probably only suggest Kazan Moscow and St. Petersburg as worth the effort on the city alone.
     
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  2. PabloSanDiego

    PabloSanDiego Member+

    West Ham United
    United States
    Jan 18, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    West Ham United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks @Real Corona, that all makes sense. I'll probably give Nizhny Novgorod a miss based on that and do what you suggest and hit Moscow/SP/Kazan and maybe one other. If I only do those 3 with the suggested side trips to Vladimir/Suzdal and old Novgorod it would be a good trip.

    Of the other venue cities, could you suggest the 2 or 3 which would be worth a side trip and maybe the ones that aren't worth it from a pure tourist standpoint? I think
    Kaliningrad and Yekaterinburg are too far, so the remaining cities are:

    Rostov-on-Don
    Samara
    Saransk
    Sochi
    Volgograd

    I'm interested in Volgograd from the WWII historical perspective, but I think you said before that it's an otherwise boring industrial city too? And it's a bit out of the way.

    many thanks for all your help here.
     
  3. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Colorado
    Club:
    FC Metalist Kharkiv
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've not been to Volgograd for the exact reason that it's in the middle of nowhere but I've heard people go and say it's cool and say it's very dull. From this I've kinda begun to think it really comes down to your interest in Stalingrad. I don't think there's as much to "see" necessarily but the experience of "being there" seems to be what impresses people.

    I haven't been to Samarra or Saransk but I have a friend from Samara. I've never for even a second in all my years of pondering where to go in Russia ever considered going there. I googled sights in both cities and the best I got was the typical small cathedral and loca art museum. Samara might win out among Saransk and Rostov simply because you could do a Volga cruise. I have an old guide book and I looked into it and Saransk isn't even listed. This is an old rough guide that has numerous tiny villages across the country listed.

    There's absolutely no reason to go to Rostov. Entirely forgettable city in the middle of the steppe. I.e. Flat grasslands. Like going to Topeka or Sioux Falls.

    Of all those I'd probably go to Sochi just because the mountains and sea off a lot more things to do and see.
     
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  4. PabloSanDiego

    PabloSanDiego Member+

    West Ham United
    United States
    Jan 18, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    West Ham United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    @Real Corona thanks again. I also went back and reread your super informative posts on this thread. It's all a lot clearer now. I'm going to look at this from the glass half full perspective and be happy I don't have to go to boring cities just to follow the US, although even a boring city is exciting when your team is playing. Hopefully this discussion helps some others on here too with planning.

    I'm going to take your advice and minimize time in Moscow, considering your comparison to São Paulo which was my least favorite city in Brazil. Depending on my ticket request and for logistics I might end up being there the first 5-6 days anyway. For sure I'll go to St. Petersburg and Kazan, and will consider Sochi, and Volgograd. So it's shaping up something like this:

    12-17 June: Moscow (side trip to Vladimir/Suzdal) [matches 1 & 7]
    18-June: fly Moscow to Kazan
    18-20 June: Kazan [match 20]
    21-June: fly Kazan to St. Petersburg
    21-28 June: St. Petersburg (side trip to Veliky Novgorod) [matches 25 & 39]
    29 June: fly St. Petersburg to Volgograd [match 47] or Sochi [R16 match 49] or back to Moscow [match 41] and head home early

    I can keep the end of the trip loose based on what tickets I can score in the next few rounds. I wish I did this before the last window closed, but I was still in shock over the US elimination and wasn't ready to do this.
     
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  5. thethinwhiteduke

    Feb 13, 2008
    thats an awesome idea..thanks!!

    im sure ill be reaching out with questions as it gets closer
     
  6. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Colorado
    Club:
    FC Metalist Kharkiv
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yeah let me know if you have any specific interests or whatever. I might even be there anyway. I'm going to the iihf worlds in Denmark in may and have no return yet. Ive always wanted to do Kizhi and Solovetsky
     
  7. hmason

    hmason New Member

    Mar 6, 2017
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    PSA, there's pretty cheap tickets available to Russia right now if you want to go despite the USMNT being out. I just booked 2 weeks from DC for $580. Reading though the rest of the posts on here it seems like there will be plenty to do between catching any knockout games I can get tickets to.
     
  8. wixson7

    wixson7 Member+

    May 12, 2009
    boulder
    580 round trip? Damn......
     
  9. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Colorado
    Club:
    FC Metalist Kharkiv
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I got a ticket to Paris last year for $400 and I looked at the fare breakdown and the taxes were 375$ which meant what I actually paid the airline was $25. I confirmed this was pretty much standard when I got a ticket to Helsinki for $500 and the taxes were roughly $380. I'm sure it's relatively similar to Russia.

    Way better than the $2000 I spent to get to Brazil!
     
  10. wixson7

    wixson7 Member+

    May 12, 2009
    boulder
    Begrudgingly....I went ahead booked flights to Moscow. Gotta keep the streak alive (7 in a row), this time taking the wife.

    Nonstop flight from JFK to Moscow, 2 nites in Moscow, train to St Petersburg, 2 nites. Then 2 nites in Reykjavik on the way back.

    Mixed emotions for sure , will see a game in Moscow, and will shed a tear or two. But definitely a bucket list trip, for sure.
     
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  11. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Colorado
    Club:
    FC Metalist Kharkiv
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Iceland is pretty cool
     
  12. PabloSanDiego

    PabloSanDiego Member+

    West Ham United
    United States
    Jan 18, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    West Ham United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    @wixson7 I hope I run into you over there. Won't be a lot of us Yanks there.
     
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  13. thethinwhiteduke

    Feb 13, 2008
    think im swinging something similar....probably limit my trip to Moscow and St Petersburg...will be bittersweet but its still the best tournament on earth
     
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  14. glennaldo_sf

    glennaldo_sf Member+

    Deportivo Wanka, Semen Padang, Dinamo Bender, Fotballaget Fart
    United States
    Nov 25, 2004
    Doha, Qatar
    Club:
    FL Fart Vang Hedmark
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I am going... leaving in 8 days... can't wait... it's gong to be very differnet watching a World Cup without having a team to support...
     
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  15. OWN(yewu)ED

    OWN(yewu)ED Member+

    May 26, 2006
    chico, CA
    man, we were all wrong. I guess, we got 22 more tickets.......who else is going?
     
  16. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Colorado
    Club:
    FC Metalist Kharkiv
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If anyone has any questions about Russian culture or whatever you can post then here and I’ll respond.
     
  17. MobileBama

    MobileBama Member

    Jun 13, 2010
    Mobile, AL
    Club:
    Charlton Athletic FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Would love to hear some trip reports for anyone going to Russia. Thanks!
     
  18. Marius Tresor

    Marius Tresor Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    We had a great time. We went to games in Moscow and St. Petersburg. We also visited Lake Baikal (Olkhon Island), the high Caucasus at Baksan Valley/Mt. Elbrus, and Volgograd (fka Stalingrad). Prices were very reasonable to very cheap because of the favorable exchange rate. We came in from China on the TransMongolian/TransSiberian and continued home via Finland, making it an around the world trip. We also went down to Uzbekistan (Samarkand, Bukhara, and Tashkent), which was spectacular and spectacularly cheap.
     
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  19. wixson7

    wixson7 Member+

    May 12, 2009
    boulder
    Apology for the cross post..

    Quick trip, but wife and I saw France/Denmark in Moscow. Crap game but amazing Danish fans pregame outside of red square, and metro and stadium experience was great. 2 days in Moscow, 2 days in St. P, 2 days in Reykjavik on way home.

    Street scenes super late night in Moscow were so much fun, top memory for sure. Biking thru Gorky Park was cool and the Mariinsky and canals and food scene in St Petersburg, all great times. So glad we went and obviously too short of a stay.
     
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  20. Marius Tresor

    Marius Tresor Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    I would also like to add that just about all of the Russian people we interacted with were really nice to us. They would go out of their way to help us, including walking with us in the right direction for the metro stations, etc. And that includes Moscow, which of course is a huge city and which I expected to be more impersonal. It was really a pleasant experience.

    Also, the organization of the event, from picking up tickets, transport to and from the stadiums, and the experience at the matches was just about perfect.

    We even walked around St. Petersburg and Moscow late at night as it seemed very safe.

    I would like to go back to Russia some day, there is so much more to see and do.
     
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  21. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Colorado
    Club:
    FC Metalist Kharkiv
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The main isssue with traveling around Russia is the language. It’s getting a bit better with more young people studying English but for the most part outside Moscow and St. Petersburg traveling around Russia without being able to speak Russian is like traveling around America without being able to speak English. It makes things very difficult.
     
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  22. Marius Tresor

    Marius Tresor Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    I generally agree with this, but we were fortunate to find quite a few people who spoke quite a bit of English in the fairly remote places we visited such as Irkutsk, Olkhon Island (Lake Baikal), Mineralnye Vody and up in the Caucasus Mountains nearby, and in Volgograd. That included young people mostly, but also people up into their 40's+. I was pretty surprised by that.
     
  23. OWN(yewu)ED

    OWN(yewu)ED Member+

    May 26, 2006
    chico, CA
    not going to lie i am completely jealous. I have gotten the baseline already with Moscow and St Pete, but i want to branch out more. St Petersburg.......I am in LOVE with, the art, the museums, its just wonderful. That said, i didnt hate Moscow at all, just wish i would have used an extra day in St pete and took a day off of Moscow.

    Trans Siberian, Kamchatka, Altai, Sochi, Volgograd (history) are all high on my list for the future. But..........eastern europe and the balkans call first.
     
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  24. Real Corona

    Real Corona Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Colorado
    Club:
    FC Metalist Kharkiv
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Disclaimer that I’ve never been to Irkutsk but being probably Russia’s third biggest tourist card it doesn’t surprise me that they’d be pretty proficient. But yeah it’s gotten a lot better for the traveler the last few years as Russia has emerged from the soviet shadow and started fully engaging with the world. When I first went to Kiev in 2004 I literally found one person who could speak English and that was Ukraine’s capital not some provincial back water. My first trip to Russia shortly after I had to go use my halting Russian to get by pretty much anywhere. By 2012 Kiev had posh coffee shops with fluent English speaking baristas to the point where my mom could order macchiato without trouble. After I learned Russian it never became as big a deal to find anybody but I just brought it up because I think that, and the visa situation are the major reasons people are dissuaded from visiting. Obviously with Russia being the biggest country in the world it’s list of attractions are immense. Combine that with some former Soviet states like Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan etc and that former Soviet space is really a gem waiting to be discovered by intrepid travelers such as yourself.
     

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