Subject: Re: Help with Moscow to St. Petersburg
Frank and Ziners,

I've been to both Moscow and St. Petersburg, but the visits were a few years apart, so I really can't comment on the best way to get from one city to another. I have heard stories about a lot of robberies on the train if it is taken overnight. So I've heard that it's safer to do it during the daylight hours. You also have the option of flying.

We're independent travelers too, however, the distances to see many places in St. Petersburg is far - sometimes an hour by car, so having a tour guide for at least one or a few days will assure that you get to all the "must see's". We used a company called Red October and another company that people rave about is Denrus. You can do a web search to find them. Both are really, really excellent. Also, there are lines , often up to an hour long and if you're with Red October, they have a deal with the Hermitage and you just walk right into a side entrance. If you consider Denrus, I'd question them as to if they offer this as well. Why waste precious time standing in a line? Also, at Catherine's Summer Palace, they got us an appointment an hour before it opened to the public, so we were halfway through it before the crowds started coming in!

We booked an individual guide for Moscow through a friend, however, I no longer have her number.

If you go to the ballet or opera, try to get tickets for the Russian price and not the tourist price. Our hotel concierge in Moscow wanted to charge us $90. per ticket for the Bolshoi, but our Russian driver went to the box office and picked them up for us for $2.50 each. We gave him a huge tip and it was a win-win!

Candice NYC