Transportation Avoid Aeroflot whenever possible. On international flights, permissible luggage weight is low - and they'll hold you to it. This fellow traveler once had to pay $1,000 for excess baggage. If traveling within the country, take the train. It's more reliable, a great way to meet people, and relaxing. Restaurants

Make sure you know well in advance where your next meal is coming from. The only restaurant that is obliged to feed you is the one in your hotel - and then, only if you show up during the limited meal hours. Your best bet is to make reservations. But beware: When a foreigner orders a table, the restaurant may ``help'' you by covering your table with expensive hors d'oeuvres before you arrive.


That describes just about everything for sale here, either in hard-currency souvenir shops or at the flea market at Izmailovsky Park. But Izmailovsky is more fun: It's outdoors, you can bargain with the merchants, and some items make good conversation pieces. There's the wooden matryoshka dolls of Soviet and Russian leaders, starting with Gorbachev and going down to a tiny Peter the Great. Then there's the wooden Gorbachev doll with the rounded bottom that bounces back when you knock it over.


``The Complete Guide to the Soviet Union,'' by Victor and Jennifer Louis (New York: St. Martin's Press, $13.95), is good for a multi-city tour. For a book that focuses just on Moscow and Leningrad, try the ``Blue Guide to Moscow and Leningrad,'' by Evan and Margaret Mawdsley (New York: W.W. Norton, $19.95).

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