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Getting ready

Shrewsbury, United Kingdom


Preparing for our trip has been the most complex, time consuming and exhausting of anything we have done before. We could, of course have opted for a package tour but as you will all know, this isn't our style. So it has all been done manually. We had to arrange for our hotel before we could apply for visas, which need confirmation of the dates you have accomodation arranged, accompanying the applications. The applications themselves are not the most friendly forms to complete, nor are they inexpensive. The detail required is a bit frightening - like what is the name and address of your previous two employers and to whom did you report. Bearing in mind that I was with ASL for 29 years, I am not sure how relevant my details with ICI are!

We got a Russian phrase book to be able to at least deal with some of the pleasantries and make an effort. I had expected it to be less than straightforward as the Cyrillic alphabet is different to ours but I hadn't expected how much. There are 4 letters that correlate and the rest are quite new or just sound quite different. Russian C is an 's' sound, P is an 'r', B is a 'v' etc.; getting your head around it is difficult when you don't suffer from senior moments! However, we are making progress slowly.

Being locked in to school dates for taking holiday means that we are going rather later than we would like and the weather promises to be around what you might expect for a UK January or February - pretty cold. So we have prepared ourselves to take plenty of layers and shall be wearing our thermals! Our particular thanks to Ollie for reminding us that it would be a good idea to take our hats, scarves and gloves, together with spares in case one lot got wet (I knew that time spent travelling would be worthwhile). We have put in quite a lot of time researching where to go in the hope of avoiding too much wasted time, but we shall not actually make decisions until we are on the ground and can take account of the situation there.

I am sure that we are in for a marvellous experience; IT permitting, I hope you will be able to join us there. Da sveedaneeya

permalink written by  rickandsuejohnson on October 20, 2009 from Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
from the travel blog: Venice of the North - St Petersburg
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