Russia provides a lot of opportunities for travelling – big cities (such as Moscow, St. Petersburg or Nizhny Novgorod), The Ural Mountains (where there is a border which separates Europe from Asia), Trans-Siberian railway, tracking, hunting and a lot more which you can read in any guide-book.
But the fact is that most people in Russia speak Russian and if you visit there you will be unlikely to come across very much English at all. As a such, if you intend to travel there for business or pleasure you should certainly ensure that you take some Russian language classes before you go, if for no other reason that you can familiarize yourself with the Cyrillic alphabet which is the alphabet used in the Russian language.
I live in a center of Moscow and every time I see the same picture – tourists go out of the hotel, look around searching for restaurants, and then turn back and go to have lunch in a hotel restaurant. One could ask me why is this happening. In order to answer this question one could open any Russian web site, for example http://www.rbc.ru and this will be exactly what he’ll see on the streets. No English signs at all. Only 10% of restaurants outside hotels have English menu and you will have to try hard to find these restaurants, because Russian taxi drivers hardly can speak English. Of course, one could hire a 24-7 guide or ask friends to accompany them all the time, but the easier way to appreciate Russia is to get a basic knowledge of a Russian language.
How to say “How I can get to the …?”
How to say to the taxi driver “How much will coast to drive to the restaurant with Chinese cuisine” and then “No, it’s too expensive! I can give only …”
These types of questions I hear every time from my students.
Lots of tourists have seen the Eiffel Tower, visited Buckingham Palace, and toured the Vatican. A lot fewer have strolled within the Kremlin walls, experienced the “white nights” of St. Petersburg, or spent an afternoon sampling the treasures of the Hermitage. Study of Russia and Russian language will not only give you the excuse and opportunity to engage in such adventures, but will insure that you more fully understand and appreciate them when you do.
And as always say, no matter where you travel to, always make sure to have the best overseas insurance, you want to be covered when traveling abroad.