July 01, 1997

Preparing for the Provinces

With this month’s installment of the Practical Traveler, we introduce a new format that will be used often in coming months. We have invited three acknowledged experts on travel to Russia to take part in a roundtable forum on an “issue of the month.” This month’s issue is “Travel to the Regions.”

The roundtable was conducted online, to bridge the seas that separate our experts. Robert Greenall lives in London, is former managing editor of Russian Life and has written two books on travel to Russia (Explorer’s Guide to Russia and Explorer’s Guide to Moscow). Athol Yates lives in Australia and is an expert on Russian railroads. He is author of Russia By Rail and The Siberian BAM Railway Guide. He is currently running a WWW Russian railway information service <http://www.russia-rail.com>. Neil McGowan lives in England and is proprietor of The Russia Experience Ltd. He has been organizing travel to Russia and Eastern Europe for 16 years and has over 70 Russian visas to his credit. His web site is at: <http://travel.world.co.uk/russiaexp>.

Russian Life: Greetings, experts. You know the guiding ground rules: keep it short, no watering down the truth, no shameless self-promotion, and no biting. OK, first question: You have a client or friend in-country who has decided she wants to travel to the provinces, be it to Irkutsk or Petrozavodsk. What are the three most important pieces of advice you would give this person before she sets off? Or, put another way, what three questions would you ask her to see if she is ready? Neil?

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