Fodor's Moscow & St. Petersburg

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Did you know that there are over 100 languages spoken in Russia? It is such a fascinating place - full of history, beauty, and rich culture.  I recently had the opportunity to read Fodor's new edition (8th) of their travel guide book, Moscow and St. Petersburg.  I have long been interested in Russia, and my interest was heightened by one of my best friends in graduate school, a Russian who was so graceful (all that dance training), intelligent, family-oriented, and a great cook.  She introduced me to delicious food, talk of a people that I had not been familiar with, and her grace in accepting change.

This new edition of Moscow and St. Petersburg has the hallmark of Fodor's guide books: a surplus of highly detailed (and discriminating) information, for all budgets. Included is information from visitors to the Fodor's website, maps, a short language guide, itineraries, and more.

I've always wanted to go to St. Petersburg in the winter.  Having been raised in the north, and thrived for almost a decade in Minnesota's arctic winters, I love the cold pure beauty of nature in winter. Once I read of the challenges of the seasons (cold in the winter, hot in the summer, best in spring and fall) in Moscow and St. Petersburg, I decided that we need to head to St. Petersburg in both winter and either fall or spring. I just have to experience St. Petersburg with the frozen rivers, lack of tourists, and lots of space to experience the great culture that is available there. The descriptions of the beauty of the Summer Palaces in warmer weather made me want to come back then!

One thing that is not addressed by this book, and thus makes me concerned for my own travel plans, is the lack of discussion about travel for people with disabilities. When I did some research on travel in Russia for people with disabilities, I found out why: according to, "However, the conditions for disabled travel to Russia are limited, transport not upgraded, most highlights inaccessible and customer service persons untrained." Russiable is working together with the government and cultural authorities to make travel accessible for people with disabilities. No wonder information is scarce!

Back to the book. While reading, I found so many excellent restaurant recommendations that I scavenged the kitchen for munchies, all the while holding the book. I had no idea that Moscow and St. Petersburg have so many great places to eat, of all different nationalities! 

I also knew that Russia has a plethora of churches and cathedrals, but to me, they sort of all seem to blend together after a while. Yet this guidebook consistently tells about each church, with details that make you want to stop in at just one more.

The arts are alive and well in Moscow, and no matter what your favorites, you really shouldn't leave without seeing dance, theater, music, and more. I was very impressed with the culture and arts sections of the book, including so many small museums that many people may never find.  Love Pushin? Lots to see! Entranced with festivals? Huge listings of them, here. Always looking for Egyptian artifacts? You'll be surprised to find them in both Moscow and St. Petersburg (I was!)...

Overall, this book is a treasure, and I have gone back to it again and again (without a trip to Russia in the near future, alas) to learn more about this fascinating country. The shopping, food, arts, museums, side itineraries, and more make history and the culture come alive.



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