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Kaliningrad visit in the next year or two /summer or spring

Astoria, New York
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Kaliningrad visit in the next year or two /summer or spring

I am thinking of visiting Kaliningrad. I have a few questions? Length of time would be less than a week

1) I hold a British and US passport. What visas do I need if I use one or the other?

2) I would like an English speaking tour operator if possible. Do you know of one?

3) I have one special place that I want to visit, where my grandmother was born, Maurenhaaf and specifically Herzorg Albrect Allee -believe it is near the North East part of the city. Does anyone know how easy that is to visit?

4) How safe is Kalingrad to visit for tourists?

5) If I fly to Berlin or Warsaw, how far is it by train and how frequent are the trains?

Thank you,

Neil

Edited: 2:55 pm, February 09, 2013
Toronto
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1. Re: Kaliningrad visit in the next year or two /summer or spring

Hi Neil!

In regards to your questions:

1) Everybody who does not come from a country which was not part of the former Soviet Union will need a visa to get to Russia. Got to the website of the Russian Consulate which is based in the country you live in, they can give you all requirements to get a visa.

2) Do you mean with tour operator, an agency in Kaliningrad who will be in charge of booking your accommodation, guided tours etc. or do you mean an English speaking guide who will show you around?

3) I guess you mean Maraunen Hof, this is close to the upper lake. Not a problem at all to get there. You can take the street car, bus, marschrutka or depending where you are accommodated, you can even walk to this place. The streets name is now Tellmana.

4)Kaliningrad is a safe place, no doubt about it. Of course, you should avoid certain places at night, like elsewhere in the world, but it is not a problem at all to travel alone i.e.

5) The train from Berlin goes every day, but do not forget to book your ticket in advance, taking the train in Russia is like taking a flight. As far as I know, it takes up to 12 hours, always over night, and customs will take its time.

But there are daily, affordable direct flights from Berlin to Kaliningrad. From Warsaw you can fly with Air Baltic.

If there are any further questions left, just contact me again. I hope I could help you.

Regards

Nicoletta

Moscow, Russia
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2. Re: Kaliningrad visit in the next year or two /summer or spring

> Everybody who does not come from a country which was not part of the former Soviet Union will need a visa to get to Russia

Dear Nicoletta, please abstain from spreading misinformation. Citizens of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Israel, Macau, Macedonia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela don't need a visa to enter Russia. On the contrary, citizens of Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania and Turkmenistan (all former Soviet republics) DO need a visa.

Leeds, United...
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3. Re: Kaliningrad visit in the next year or two /summer or spring

if you have a uk passport you can get a 72 hour visa which you can collect on the border - check the Lonely Planet website for details. Given you were clear that you hold UK/USA passport, not really sure what the point of the previous post was.

Edited: 6:31 pm, April 05, 2013
Astoria, New York
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4. Re: Kaliningrad visit in the next year or two /summer or spring

Thank,s Nicoletta.

To respond to your various responses.

1) I hold both US and UK citizenship, but you answered my question. The point was that Europeans may or may not have faster access to visas. So the purpose of the question was, which is a quicker process. I heard customs can take many hours and VISA times unknown?

Regarding question 2. I am open to either a German tour guide that speaks English or at English travel agency that arranges and organizes trips to Kaliningrad. As long as the language is in English that is fine with me. My grandmother was German, but I was not allowed to learn or speak German after the war for obvious reasons.

I have heard that the German travel operators have made the trip to Kaliningrad a very routine process for ex-patriots. I want the simplest and easiest way to visit the city without having a lot of hassle or inability to translate!.

Regarding question three, Maraunen Hof was where my grandmother came from; that region of Konigsberg.. The street she grew up on was 24 Herzog Albrecht Allee. There is a picture of it, of the street that is from 1939 on Google images. There is also a short YouTube video clip of the street in 1933 and the general sector from the last few years. If you live in Kaliningrad, I would very much appreciate if you could take a picture of the street and possibly the house for me. There is very little information out there, though I have read and continue to read new materials about the city everyday.

What is the customs waiting times like? I think you have answered everything else. Could you tell me about yourself and are you a resident or tour guide?

Thank you,

Neil

Toronto
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5. Re: Kaliningrad visit in the next year or two /summer or spring

Dear Neil,

First of all, sorry that I did not come back to you earlier. But to answer your questions;

1) It is right, to get the Visa can be a nightmare, especially when the Russian government decided to change the reglementations over night and you do not have all papers at hand while lining up for hours at the embassy.

Therefore my advice go personally directly to the embassy and ask them exactly what is needed and how long will it take.

I do not know if the visa for an US-American passport holder will take longer or if there are more requirements.

I can recommend try to get your Visa with the help of a travel agency which is specialized in Russia. It will cost a fee, but you wil avoid spending hours in the Russian embassy and it is for sure to get the Visa without any problems.

So far I always went to Kaliningrad by plane. Customs there was never a problem. Upon arrival you have to fill out a document, this will be stamped and you get a copy which you have to keep until you leave the country. Do not loose it, otherwise you have a problem at customs on your way home.

But the waiting time there was less than arriving in the US or in Canada. And the custom officers in Russia are totally nice.

Colleagues of mine who took a bus or the train to get to KD said, customs at the border took a long time. It has to do with the fact that travellers have a lot of baggage with them and often they control every suitcase.

2) In regards to the language barrier, I would suggest you find a Russian tour guide who speaks English. In fact if you do not speak any Russian, people will not understand you there. The bigger or international hotels have English speaking staff at the reception, but that' s it.

Unfortunately I do not live in Kaliningrad, I am a German citizen and I studied Russian there. But the oblast is so unique, the city fascinating that I go back to KD whenever I find the time. You find history there everywhere.

Let me try to activate my Russian friends to take a picture of the house where your Oma lived.

If you do not mind, I can send you an e-Mail to your private e-Mail address. I could ask my friends over there as well, if they have the time to show you the city while you are there. My friends a fluent in English, in fact one lady friend used to live in UK.

Just let me now, if this was an option for you. I can as well recommend some hotels if you wished.

Take care Neil and see you soon

Nicoletta

Toronto
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6. Re: Kaliningrad visit in the next year or two /summer or spring

Hi Neil,

One more thing! Trusting the latest news, there is no more train connection between Berlin and Kaliningrad.

But there are still daily flights, they even increased their flight offer.

See you

Nicoletta

Toronto
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7. Re: Kaliningrad visit in the next year or two /summer or spring

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/38491160

I have found this picture under Telemanna 24. Hope this is the right house.

Astoria, New York
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8. Re: Kaliningrad visit in the next year or two /summer or spring

Thank you. Is this #24 Herzog Albrecht Allee. Is there anything more you could send me?

9. Re: Kaliningrad visit in the next year or two /summer or spring

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