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    The Secrets of Russia

    Communism, secret police, James Bond, the Romanov and 'In Soviet Russia' jokes are only some of the things that come to mind when pondering the mystery that Russia, in many ways, still remains. If you are a bit on the adventurous side, trying a trip to the Closed Cities might seem like an exciting idea, but we can assure you they're more hassle than they're worth, being just normal industrial cities with extra barbed wire, troublesome armed patrols and the odd nuclear reactor.

    And besides, regular Russia will prove quite an adventure in and of itself!

    Picking up a car hire in Moscow Airport as soon as you land should be your first step! Forget comfort or convenience, this is a matter of not giving Russian taxi drivers the satisfaction of knowing they're ripping you off for all you're worth! Which they will, given half a chance. You may even think you can pull off passing for a local. Maybe you took a Russian class in college, maybe you've had a Russian boyfriend or girlfriend who taught you a few things. But trust me, they'll see you coming miles away.

    With your Russia car hire, you can easily drive to St. Petersburg or to any of the beautiful cities in the Golden Ring. These cities are a testament to many of the main events of Russian history. And maybe you don't care twopence about Russian history, and that's fine. However, you'll still want to visit these ancient cities, because they have some of the most gorgeous sights and most stunning architecture this country has to offer. Regardless of where you decide to go, there are a few things you must keep in mind!

    First, you will never, ever pay as little for entry fees to museums, theatres or attractions as a local. You just won't, there's no way around this. So preparing for this fact will save you hours of self-righteous indignation while on Russian soil.

    Second, while we've already covered that you should avoid taxi drivers like the plague, the same applies to the Moscow Metro. You'd think that with so many tourists, they would bother to have signs in English, but this would be a mistaken assumption. They won't even have signs in an alphabet you can recognize, so just save yourself the headache!

    Three, and this is a big one: avoid tourist shops at all costs! You'll think they're stealing you blind on what they charge, but they won't be doing half as much damage as the pickpockets actually stealing you blind while you lean forward better to admire the charming Russian souvenirs.

    And fourth, and I cannot stress this enough, do not visit Russia in winter. The French couldn't pull it off, the German couldn't pull it off, so be clever about it, and travel while it's warm!

    So dasvidania and enjoy your Russian holidays ;)

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