I am no longer actively involved with the project but things seem to be doing quite well without me.
Below is a small sample compiled for a client who asked what’s available in September 2013. If anyone wants more ask and I’ll look it up. MORE>>
www.sptnik.com has been called to my attention with a proposal that I list my Moscow the Ugly tour there. The resource lists “alternative” guides in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Kiev. Examples of tours:
food, flea markets, Metro, 1917 revolution, Dostoyevsky, cycling, vestiges of the Soviet era, vodka drinking, banya, churches, urban decay, village life, architecture, roof walking, poets, daily living etc. etc. etc.
Nearly all of these guides speak English. French is the second most common language.
Suppose I will sign up with sptnik.ru with my
- Winter is the Soul of Russia (c)
- Russian Misery Tourism (c)
- camping trips
- horse riding
- small towns and villages
- churches, monasteries, and other from of escapism
- Russian north
- budget tourism
- Etc. etc.
If any of the above are close to what you are looking for check my www.staritsa.info.
These are not easy to find in this Hell Light of a city. I used to travel way to the south end of Moscow to a small factory – or, rather, shop hidden in the bowels of one of these research institutes – that made them. A day-long project given Moscow’s specifics and peculiarities, one of them being that to get in you first arm yourself with an official paper that you are a “business”, then order a pass, then tell them what you want, then go two floors up to pay, then bring the receipt back to the main office, and only after that you are allowed to proceed to the warehouse where you get a dozen of these damn tacky plastic card holders worth a total of $25! Just found an outlet near Metro Sokolniki that sells them. See http://konturline.ru/ The address is Ulitsa Chetvertaya Sokolnicheskaya 1, korpus 1. Tel.: +7 495 649 8288, +7 499 748 0784. Make their things in Tver and have a sales office there too.
Metal detector trader Sergei from the Moscow Hobby Fair has recommended this small oufit that specializes in organizing treasure-hunting tours, mostly in the outskirts of the Moscow region. They also do survival tours and 4WD trips, including those for families. Two historians and one certified survival expert in their small team. Delicious stories of their adventures and misadventures. On inspecting their site I deemed them fit to be included in this Guide. Talk to them if you are interested in WW2. Or talk to me as I’m making a conscious effort to track and document those who can provide support to “alternative” tourists.
But in the last year over half of my pittance came from Russian bride seekers. The way things are now I either need to drastically downshift or come up with a new way to make a living. Neither is likely for lack of will or ability. So I’ll stick to what sort of works, and assistance to Russian bride seekers is part of it.
Let me add here Alexander and his daughter Olesya (not to be confused with Alexandra from Kandalaksha and the Russsian Girl Friday Olesya, both of whom I regularly mention) to my list. They run a small old-school employment and marriage agency in Ryazan.
Ulitsa Chernovitskaya 6a, office 213/214
+7 4912 905014 (land line)
+7 906 544 7874
Not many matchmakers who know their clients personally are still in business. This one is a proof that time warps do happen. Highly recommended. The rates are very reasonable too.
But Russian only. And they lack aggression almost to the point of not caring. Don’t expect your e-mails to be answered or calls returned. Realistically, you will need my assistance to work with them.
Dictatorships have their advantages. One is their near-incompatibility with progress. When it comes to things edible and drinkable the simpler is usually the better. While Russia is not exactly a liberal democracy, we have Belarus, a true old-school dictatorship, next door to supply us with good beer. Two brands can be easily found in Moscow and the rest of Russia: Alivaria and Lidskoye. About 40 roubles per bottles. I’d rate them below Khamovniki but still entirely acceptable.
(1) Doctor Liza, the angel for Moscow homeless. Russian sites: doctorliza.ru and doctor-liza.livejournal.com Works off a basement near Metro Novokuznetskaya. Her needs are money, clothing, and helping hands. If needed I am available to deliver things as geographically I’m as close to her as things ever get (5 min. walk). No English translation of her site but here is something about her in English at video.kylekeeton.com and english.ruvr.ru. Since I seem to have an inexorably developing dromomania I may very well end up on the receiving end, which is my personal reason for supporting the cause of the homeless.
(2) A hospice for terminally ill cancer patients. See hospicefund.ru. The city of Moscow covers the basics but the Hospice provides comfort, care, and dignity, which are not part of the deal with the Soviet/Russian state-run system. Alexandra (see Kandalaksha Nature Reserve or her own site) has some joint publishing projects with them. My role is much humbler and, in line with rapidly progressing pull to the abyss of uncontrollable urge to wander, is to deliver stuff. I’m particularly popular in this role after I found myself in the possession of a total of 8m3 (over 80ft3) of cargo space.
The most this vehicle carried for the Hospice was ~1700kg (~3600 lbs). Doable although not easy.
(3) Old folks home in Kolionovo, near Yegoryevsk, east of Moscow Oblast. Misha Slyapnikov (?), the hero behind the project, is active in making rural life bearable, especially for the elderly. He needs hands (landscaping, farming, debris cleanup, construction), publicity, and just about everything else. East from Moscow, Yegor’yevsk region. Their site kolionovo.parykino.ru is Russian only but here there are a few stories in English floating around. Misha’s project is also your excuse to get out of Moscow. Kolionovo is the “real” countryside yet it is only a couple of hours from the center of Moscow if roads are clear.
(4) Paulina Fedorovna, retired director of the Staritsa (Tver region) children’s shelter, is actively helping single mothers. She collects and distributes clothing. Paulina herself needs health care so that she can effectively continue her work despite her failing health and in particular eyesight. Let me know if you want to help in any way. Although I’m no longer actively involved with Horses & Dacha project, I will be happy to visit old haunts if there is a compelling reason to travel to Staritsa.