Hey there fellow travelers, Mark here with Wolters World and today we’re at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and today what we have for you are some of the “don’ts” about visiting Russia and before I get in my list of the “don’ts” one thing you really have to say is don’t prejudge Russia. Whatever you hear in the news, and all these kind of stuff. There’s so many things out there saying bad stuff about Russia and stuff like that. It is a wonderful place to visit so don’t be influenced by that stuff. Come explore for yourself. And I want to start off with that, okay. Now, my real “don’t” list gonna start with number one: don’t even think about trying to come to visit Russia without getting a visa. You’re going to need one, unless you’re one of the few countries that don’t have to have one, and as I look at the numbers of our views most you come from places that need a visa, and it does take a long time, okay. So make sure you’re planning beforehand. Yes, there is a “visa-free cruise” you can do to stop in Saint Petersburg for less than 72 hours, but you want to go and explore this beautiful country, whether it’s Moscow, or goin’ on our… the Volga River, and stuff like that, you do have to get a visa so don’t skip that; you gotta plan for it ahead of time. And with that: don’t forget to register your visa when you do get to Russia. If you’re staying at a hotel they’ll do it for you, but if you’re staying with friends and stuff like that you do have to register it, and don’t forget to make copies of all your important documents like: where you’re going to stay, your plane tickets, passport, visa, all that kind of stuff. You want to have that. The second “don’t” I have for you is: do not lose – don’t lose! – your registration card. When you come into Russia they’re going to give you like an immigration card they’ll fill out. You need that when you leave. If you don’t have that it can cause some trouble, so make sure you don’t forget it. Don’t think “Oh, it’s just a piece of paper, whatever!” Don’t forget it, okay! My next “don’t” for you is: don’t forget your rubles, okay. Ruble is the currency here in Russia and that’s what you’re going to pay with, but you can pay with card no problem in places like Saint Petersburg, in Moscow, but if you’re going to be traveling Russia, cash is more king here, and you’re going to need rubles to pay. Sometimes in Saint Petersburgs and stuff you can pay with euros or dollars here and there, but in general it’s rubles, and you need to have them to pay because not a lot of places will take credit card. so just a heads up for that one. And with that: don’t expect this to be a cheap trip Russia is expensive. Whether it’s the visas, the hotels, restaurants, stuff like that, you will spend a lot as a foreigner here. And kind-of going along with that is: don’t get upset if you see two different prices and you as the traveler have to pay a higher price, because some museums in places actually have two set prices: one for locals and one for foreigners. So don’t get upset by it, but just realize that sometimes you are going to pay more and don’t try to weasel your way out of it, coz they know if you’re a local or not. My sixth “don’t” for you is: don’t mess with the cops or any kind of the government officials when you are here. When you go through make sure you have your information: all your stuff for the border control, and don’t stare at the cops, don’t take pictures of the cops, don’t ask them things because they have to help you, and sometimes I’ve been shook down by cops [unclear] before, you don’t want to give them a reason to ask for your documents and stuff like that, okay, so just don’t mess with the police when you are here. Now my next “don’t” for you if you’re here in Russia: don’t let down your guard! Look, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, are probably the two places you’re really going to visit a lot, and there are pickpockets here there’s people trying to rip you off all kinds of stuff. You do want to pay attention, so don’t, like: don’t leave your stuff in the back of your seat if you’re in a cafe, you know, do put the stuff between your legs, always be paying attention because you don’t know, if you’re on the metro someone might be trying to pick your pocket and things like that. You do want to watch out for that. Now the next “don’t” I have for you has to deal with the churches here. The Russian Orthodox churches are gorgeous from the outside and amazing from the inside. And my “don’t” with that is: don’t skip the churches, okay. A lot of people think “Oh, I’ll just… its churches, whatever!” Man, come into the Russian Orthodox churches with the icons and the gold and the silver and everything, it just blows your mind, whether you’re going to Saint Basil’s or or the “spilled blood” church here, I mean, there’s so many amazing churches throughout the country. Don’t skip those, but also don’t wear a hat when you’re there. But if you are a woman: do cover your head, because, it’s an orthodox country, they’re conservative, so you want to show respect for that. Now my next “don’t” for you when you are here is: if you’re going to bring money – like I talked about, you need to get rubles – is: don’t bring banged up US dollars or euros. You need to have the crisp, clean kind, so you’ll exchange them. Otherwise they won’t accept them. My tenth thing for you is: don’t assume the Russians are cold-hearted kind of people. Yes, the service is kind of bad when you are here, but if you get to know Russians they really warm up to you. I mean,
I can’t tell you how many times “Babushkas” have taken me in and made me their cabbage rolls, and people have shown me around. Just by speaking a little bit of Russian can go a long way, okay. So, don’t be scared of that language as well. Learn a few words: it really opens up the people. And then I guess – something with the people – they have a lot of these little tiny things, like: don’t shake hands over the threshold, don’t give flowers in even numbers, just so, you know, it makes things a little bit better Another “don’t” I have for you is: don’t speak bad about Russia, the politicians, the country, the culture, the food, things like that. It will not go over well. And they’ll let you know that and they’ll tell you “look, you deal with your country, we’ll deal with ours,” so, just don’t get involved with those kind of things. And one of the things my Russian friends always made sure they do, and now I realize it, is: you don’t leave empty bottles on top of the table you’ve been drinking, you put it on the floor I never really realized it until I started noticing it again and read it a few places, but it is really true. Anyway, those are just 10 or 11 quick little “don’ts” of visiting Russia. If you want to learn more; ten things that’ll shock you about Russia, things you should know before you come here, check us on our website at woltersworld.com. We’re also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. And we really appreciate your “likes” and subscriptions, and bye from Russia.