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English in Russia/Elbrus?

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English in Russia/Elbrus?

Postby HeyItsBen » Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:28 pm

I'm planning on going to Elbrus in August.
I'm also planning on doing some sightseeing in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Does anyone know how common it is for people to speak English there?

I'm not so worried about Elbrus actually, I'll be hiring Pilgrim Tours to handle logisitics for the climb, but I'll be on my own in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Any input would be appreciated.
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Postby FF_Spectre » Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:40 pm

if you don't mind me asking, how much is it costing you to climb Elbrus? Transportation, accomodation, fees, guiding, etc. You don't have to break it all down, I just want a rough estimate of total cost.

Oh, and you should check out

http://wikitravel.org/en/Moscow

for some really good info on visiting Moscow.
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Postby Scott » Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:42 pm

Knowing a bit of Russian would help for sure, but we went sightseeing in Moscow (haven't been to St. Petersburg) and never had a problem not knowing Russian. If you want to buy something they would write it down or show us with the calculator.

Try to pick up an English language map of Moscow before leaving home.
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Postby HeyItsBen » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:37 pm

Great link FF! With travel, accomodations, etc, I've estimated the trip to cost me about $3200, so I'd say probably an even $3500 would do it if I'm careful. $1700 of it is the plane ticket. :evil:

Thanks for the info also, Scott. Your Elbrus page is great, that's where I found Pilgrim Tours.
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Postby Scott » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:10 pm

$1700 of it is the plane ticket.


Ouch. Sounds like a lot. A quick plug in reveals $1139 out of San Diego Monday through Thursday. Have you tried Orbitz?
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Postby Muddeer » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:52 am

Scott Patterson wrote:
$1700 of it is the plane ticket.


Ouch. Sounds like a lot. A quick plug in reveals $1139 out of San Diego Monday through Thursday. Have you tried Orbitz?


Does the $1700 include the round trip flights between Moscow and Min Vody ($300~$400 according to Pilgrim Tour)?
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Postby HeyItsBen » Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:51 am

Muddeer wrote:
Scott Patterson wrote:
$1700 of it is the plane ticket.


Ouch. Sounds like a lot. A quick plug in reveals $1139 out of San Diego Monday through Thursday. Have you tried Orbitz?


Does the $1700 include the round trip flights between Moscow and Min Vody ($300~$400 according to Pilgrim Tour)?


The flight does include Min Vody.

It goes like this - LA-->Moscow-->Min Vody-->St. Petersburg-->LA

Scott, I did check Orbitz and with the same dates I'm using on Expedia, the total comes out to $2600. It's werid, even on Expedia if I cut St. Petersburg out, and go LA-->Moscow-->Min Voday-->LA, the total goes up to $2500. And the St. Petersburg flight connects in Moscow!! Makes no sense.
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Postby cabouckaert1 » Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:30 pm

Hey,

How cool, I'm planning on doing exactly the same thing with a group of friends. Except I live in Belgium and am doing the trip in July.

I'm flying Brussels to Moscow, then taking a train to St. Petersburg (flights to St. Petersburg are signficantly more expensive), visiting and sleeping there for a few days, taking a train back to Moscow, visiting and sleeping there for a few days, flying to Mineralnye Vody, climbing Elbrus (11 day tour) with Pilgrim Tours and flying back to Brussels via Moscow afterwards.

I made a whole plan for the trip and sent it to my friends, here is the budget plan (I think its pretty accurate, I looked up prices for trains and youth hostels and stuff too):

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Budget Plan:

Flight costs: 292.44 EUR (Brussels – Moscow Return) + 199 EUR (Moscow – Mineralnye Vody Return) = 491.44 EUR

Tour Cost: 690 EUR

Gear Rental: 70 EUR

Train Moscow – St Petersburg Return: 120 EUR*

Youth Hostels (4 nights): 90 EUR*

Eating (7 days @ 15 per day): 105 EUR*

Going Out: 75 EUR*

Transportation: 60 EUR*

Visiting/Souvenirs: 50 EUR*

Total: 1752 EUR

*Estimated costs

I think that these are pretty conservative estimates and it definitely should not cost more, I think it can quite easily be done for less, if you’re careful.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We're all young (17-20), so we're trying to do it as cheaply as possible. I don't think you can easily do it for much less than that. Obviously your plane ticket is more expensive though.

From what I hear language isn't too much of a problem either. Later.

-charles
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Postby PeterN » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:26 pm

I'd really recommend to learn kyrillica. It's not hard and it really will help a lot ! The signs are mostly only Russian and you'll have a lot of trouble 'decoding' them with a tabel :) It will just cost a lot of time.

As for the language. In Moscow it can be possible to survive with English only but it is definitly hard. In the Caucasus area it depends on wether you are guided or not. If guided you won't have a lot of problems.
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Postby Moni » Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:37 am

When I went to Russia Far East about 10 years ago, the younger people spoke a decent English and the older people could speak German (I speak both fluently). We recently hosted a lady from Moscow and her English was decent - she indicated that most younger poeple learned English.
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Postby PeterN » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:42 am

I think that is a rough generalisation.
Sure german has it's importance in Russia, but this is limited to certain areas. I doubt you'll find so many german speaking persons in Moscow for example. It really depends on where you are.
The situation with English is ture, a lot of young Russians are able to communicate on a very good if not excellent level of English but still it's not the young Russians a tourist will meet when he wants to buy souveniers. So it might not be that easy. You certainly won't die but some basics in Russian surly will help and enhance your travel experience.
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