Powdery white snow dusted over the mountain tops, pastel colors of the Polar Night flickering on the snow, forests covered in the white and grey shades... If you ever been intrigued by the thought of traveling to the North of Russia, we have a treat for you! Our travelers Nigel and Carolyn just came back from their fourth trip to Russia and share their experience during an interview with our rep Vera.
On previous visits to the largest country in the world, Nygel and Carolyn Armstrong have visited Moscow and Saint Petersburg. They have also been on a Trans-Siberian tour across Russia. So, since it was their fourth visit to Russia they wanted to see "a different part of Russia."
During their Russia Northern Light tour, they have traveled to the Republic of Karelia to see the Kizhi Island, about which Carolyn said: "Going to Karelia, to see Kizhi - was really great fun because we had to drive on icy road around the frozen lake and then a hovercraft picked us up and took us across the lake. We were not used to traveling on ice!"
Nigel also commented on the winter activity that took place the next day: "The snowmobile drive was excellent! I enjoyed that."
The highlight of the trip to the North for Carolyn was the Polar Night phenomenon, as she explained: "What I especially liked about that part of the trip up in the North was the coloring of the sky because we were there at the Polar Night and we have never experienced that before. There were beautiful pastel colors in the sky at different times of the day, reflecting on the snow."
"It was beautiful powdery snow on the mountains, lovely subtle shades of grey and white in the forests, which I have never seen before and that was the perfect winter scenery."
When asked if the trip to Russia had proved any of the stereotypes about Russians to be not true, Carolyn replied: "I think people coming from Australia, in particular, have a feeling that Russia is a little bit unsafe, we have never found anything like that, and I've never seen anybody vaguely threatening and they are all incredibly friendly to visitors like ourselves and they were very happy to stop and look things up on the map for to try an explain."
She then continued about another aspect of the trip to Russia that can sometimes put travelers off - visa application: "Some people are threatened by the visa application process with a good cause. It took us 24 the first time we tried. First, three times we've done it ourselves and this time we've done it with Travell All Russia and it was so easy, only took us 30 minutes."
Travelers also touched upon the guided part of the tours as Carolyn said: "I must say, I've really appreciated the tour guides. They seem to be very well-chosen and they make your experience of the city, particularly if it's a regional one - not really known by the foreigners, way more enjoyable."
Lastly, Nigel mentioned the fact that he found learning the language a difficult, yet very useful task as he added: "I think what people feel apprehensive about coming to Russia is the language. There are few key Russian phrases which people could learn which helps them navigate their way. We learned some Russian before we came as learning Russian is a good mental exercise because the grammar is certainly challenging."
Watch the video until the end for a bonus tourist vocabulary masterclass in the Russian language: