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Slovenia, Ukraine, and Russia...

Travel Forums Europe Slovenia, Ukraine, and Russia...

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1. Posted by alexhudson (Budding Member 8 posts) 7y

Next April/May, I will be going to Slovenia, the Ukraine, and Russia for 25 days total.

My question is... What is there to do? My friend and I already have some ideas, but nothing in depth.

We're looking for things that don't need a reservation far in advance, because whilst we want to do things, we still want to have a flexible schedule (aside from planes).

We're spending 5 says in Ljubljana, 5 in Kiev, 6 in St. Petersburg, and 8 in Moscow. We're looking for things that are relatively cheap (Chernobyl' tour aside). We're willing to travel a little bit, like if the train/bus/whatever ride is less than two hours.

We already want to visit Lake Bled and the Postojna caves in Slovenia, Chernobyl' in the Ukraine, and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, but... We still have a lot of time with nothing planned.

Moscow is semi-full, as we're going for Eurovision.

Thanks. :)

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

I am sorry to be so blunt, but geographically and economically it makes no sense to combine Slovenia with Ukraine and Russia. It would make a lot more sense to combine Slovakia with the 2 countries, especially when you travel with friends or family.

You do not write where you are based, but if you are from the UK there are very cheap flights to Bratislava. From Bratislava it is then possible to use the City-Star Ticket to travel around Ukraine and Russia by train.

http://citystarticket.blogspot.com/

The City Star Ticket is the best option when you want to cover large distances by train in Russia and the Ukraine.

In the Ukraine I can recommend that you visit Lviv and the Krim peninsula, especially Yalta. In Russia there is the "Golden Ring" and the city Novgorod. Note that these are not day trips, but other destinations that are really worth seeing on your trip.

http://waytorussia.net/GoldenRing/Guide.html
http://waytorussia.net/CentralRussia/Novgorod/Guide.html

You should also consider to extend your trip timewise, Russia and the Ukraine are huge countries with lots of things to see and do. If I was travelling by train in these countries and was using City Star Ticket, I would plan on having at least 6 weeks.

3. Posted by Jerbas (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hi,

Of course you must go to Chernobyl when you are in Kiev.
I was there in 2007 and it impressed me very much. When you are in Kiev I think that you have to visit Pecherska Lavra, the Caves Monastery. It's an cluster of gold-domed churches and divided in upper lavra and lower lavra.
Underground you can "visit" the mummified monks. It will take you a few hours to visit the monastery.
I think that you also must walk from Maydan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in to Khreshchatyk, a 1.5 km long street, with fantastic restaurants.
In St. Petersburg, I think you have to visit also the Russian Museum and the Peter and Paul part.
Make also a boattrip over the Neva river.
A fantastic church (inside) is the St. Isaaccathedral.
In Moscow I think you have to visit the very dead Lenin and the wharehouse Gum and do not forget to take the underground and get out at some beuatiful stations.
Most of all, walk around and enjoy your trip.

Kind regards,

Ton.

4. Posted by alexhudson (Budding Member 8 posts) 7y

Quoting t_maia

I am sorry to be so blunt, but geographically and economically it makes no sense to combine Slovenia with Ukraine and Russia. It would make a lot more sense to combine Slovakia with the 2 countries, especially when you travel with friends or family.

You do not write where you are based, but if you are from the UK there are very cheap flights to Bratislava. From Bratislava it is then possible to use the City-Star Ticket to travel around Ukraine and Russia by train.

You should also consider to extend your trip timewise, Russia and the Ukraine are huge countries with lots of things to see and do. If I was travelling by train in these countries and was using City Star Ticket, I would plan on having at least 6 weeks.

I'm from Massachusetts.

To be blunt as well, my friend and I have no desire to visit Slovakia . We didn't just close our eyes and point at a map and land on Slovenia. We picked it out because we both want to visit it, and I've heard a lot of great reviews. We hope to go back in a few years and hit Croatia/Bosnia/Albania/etc... But, for now, we've selected those three. We talked about taking a train over to Zagreb and spend two nights there, but we're already visiting three countries, so we're set for now.

Our plan is to fly to Ljubljana, then fly from Ljubljana over to Kiev (It would've taken forever by train). From Kiev, we're flying up to St. Petersburg. The train would be about half the price, but I've been deciding most things on this trip, and my friend didn't want to be stuck on a train for 24 hours, so she chose to fly. From St. P, we're taking the train down to Moscow, and then flying home.

We've already cut some things off from our trip due to expenses (Downgraded on hotels, we don't know if we can make Chernobyl', and some other things, too). In fact, we would've had to have cut off a week if my cousin wasn't letting us stay with her in Moscow, because lodging there is so expensive.

Yalta looks beautiful, and I'd like to go there someday. It's not a terrible trip, it's an over-night train, but we're only spending five days in Kiev, so I don't want to have to use three days for one place we didn't plan on.

Novgorod, too looks great, but also a trip. I checked through a train stations, and it's 8 hours, which is too long, even if it IS roundtrip. I would've killed to go over to Lake Baikal, but a plane is too expensive, and the train takes too long.

I agree, I wish that we could extend our trip, because if we did, we would've visited both Yalta and Novgorod, but my friend can't get so much time from work, and I actually have to be back for a late-may event. We also simply don't have the amount of money. When we're spending around $70 a night for a hotel, at minimum, even split, is a lot. I'm a student and even though I'll be working full time come late January, I still have to afford plane tickets, eurovision tickets, hotel expenses, spending money, which adds up in excess of $3000, not to mention little things here and there. Maybe I'll hit the lottery soon, and I can take a year-long trip throughout Europe... :-P

5. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

Sigh, you are once again confirming the stereotype of the American who just doesn't listen to any advice.

It is good to know that you didn't just point at countries at random, but still your plan is not that great if you really want to see the countries you intend to visit.

Russia and the Ukraine are gigantic, and as far as I am concerned you cannot experience the two countries and itheir people truly unless you travel long distances by train, preferably in 3rd class. (I had over 12 years of lessons in Russian, speak the language and have been to Russia so I know what I am talking about.)

If you travel for 2 hours on public transport away from the city centre of Moscow you are still in Moscow.

And if you visit only Moscow and St. Petersburg you won't have seen Russia at all. The way to experience Russia is IMO to jump off the train in a random city between Kiew and Moscow and then find a family who will give you a bed in their appartment in exchange for 10-20 USD.

When you get of the train in Kiev you can walk across the street into the tourist information, in 2005 (when I was there) they had a list of people offering such homestays. There were also a number of babushkas sitting in the trainstation with small handpainted signs offering rooms.

If you are complaining about paying 70 USD/per night it is your own fault. Sure, Moscow is expensive - but in St. Petersburg you can easily get a private room in a hostel for about 50 USD - and that is for 2 people. Ordinary Russians do not have a lot of money, travel the way they do and you'll be saving money and getting more out of it. I personally like the HI hostel in St. Petersburg at 3rd Sovyetskaya Street 28 (3-я Советская ул., 28). See www.ryh.ru

6. Posted by alexhudson (Budding Member 8 posts) 7y

Let me rephrase my position:

I'm a 17 year old high school senior that wouldn't be able to go on this trip unless I graduated early and work full time from January until the time I leave. My friend, who works full time now, has a management position, and she's already having a hard time procuring those 25 days from work. I have to be back in time for graduation, and we want to see Eurovision, so going afterwards in the summer isn't an option. And going earlier isn't an option, as I can only work until April, so I'll be lucky if I can afford those 25 days!

To extend our trip by such a length of time would be not only impossible, but unbearable. I don't think I could spend six weeks from home. Not only have I never traveled to Europe, I do tend to get a little homesick.

I'm not intending to visit the whole country. Slovenia I'm only interested in seeing certain parts, and the major attractions. If I wanted to see the whole country, I wouldn't try to do it in 5 days. I wouldn't try to do it in 25 days! I'm well aware that we can't see the whole country, so we're trying to do the next best thing.

I won't be able to afford this trip during college, and after I graduate, I'll be busy looking for a job and having a crapload of bills to pay, so this is the best possible time I can possibly go. I don't plan on going back to Europe for probably close to another ten years, so I want to go to as many countries as I can, that I want to. There are simply some countries I have no intention or desire to go to (Mostly western Europe and Greece). I know it makes no sense to go to Slovenia since it's far away from the other two, but this is probably the only chance I'll get to go in the next 10-15 years of my life.

Perhaps when I'm older I'll take you up on your suggestion of spending more time in each country, but right now, it's not only money that's holding me back, it's simply time.

7. Posted by zaksame (Respected Member 571 posts) 7y

Sigh, you are once again confirming the stereotype of the American who just doesn't listen to any advice.

Not fair T_Maia! Were you never 17 and wanted to do as much as you could with the resources you had to hand? I think an little back-tracking wouldn't go astray here. ( maybe even an apology).

Russia and the Ukraine are gigantic, and as far as I am concerned you cannot experience the two countries and itheir people truly unless you travel long distances by train, preferably in 3rd class. (I had over 12 years of lessons in Russian, speak the language and have been to Russia so I know what I am talking about.)

Luck you, you speak Russian (so do I for that matter) and I wouldn't advise a couple of American students to go travelling 3rd class for long distances across Russia - sure, they might be lucky and meet the lovely people that live in the Russia you know, but then again they could also meet the not so nice ones that exist in the Russia which I know (and I lived there too.... SO I KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. Really helpful)

Have a rethink, that's all I'm saying

Zaksmae

8. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

I'm a 17 year old high school senior

Oh, that explains it. I'm sorry for jumping at you that way. From your postings I assumed that you were 25+, with a job or a decent income from another source. You posted about booking with an agency, staying in hotels and flying from point to point - what was I to think? That doesn't sound like a desperate-for-every-penny high school student. And since you were headed for Russia I also assumed that you had some previous travel experience, because Russia is not your typical tourist country.

Conclusion: I wish more people would take the time to fill in their profile. :(

9. Posted by alexhudson (Budding Member 8 posts) 7y

I probably should've said that in the beginning. I just felt it made little difference is all, seeing as I pointed out we didn't have excess funds and had limited time.

We're hoping to buy one set of our plane tickets in the next week or so, which will guarentee us getting at least to Slovenia. My friend and I have to meet with the travel agent to see if they can get us a better deal, but if they can't, then we're looking at buying one set.

10. Posted by j3nn1f3r14 (Budding Member 60 posts) 7y

hey,

It might be a good idea to check out some multi-city flight deals on the internet... maybe expedia or something... i know whenever ive tried to book with a travel agent in the past it usually costs more cos they charge fees!

you should check out some hostels on www.hostels.com - thats what ive done when travelling in eastern europe - there much cheaper than hotels and you can probably get private rooms - and you'll probably meet similiar travellers than can give you advice on where to go and what to see!! it might be a bit scarey if your a first time traveller but ive never had any bad experiences and ive stayed in a few now!

Jennifer