06/03/2014 Betsy 0Comment



I have always been interested in the Eastern Bloc countries and Russia in particular. it began in high school and reading about Anastasia and watching Dr Zhivago.   In college  my history professor  taught at the Free Berlin University during the summer and was a reporter with Associated Press during WWII made history come alive and I signed up for every history class he taught.

At the time I never thought I’d be able to see these countries because they were behind the “Iron Curtain”.  However, in 1994, the Soviet Union fell apart with many of the countries going independent and Russia became the Russian Federation.  The Berlin Wall fell, the economies fell and these countries were virtually dust rebuilding themselves over the next twenty years.

It’s amazing how far they have come although there are still political issues, particularly in the last few months as we get closer to our departure date of May 12th for Moscow on a Volga-Baltic River Cruise!


We started with the VISA application. Have to start early but not more than 90 days before you leave!  It takes up to six weeks to obtain the VISA and if there are mistakes that much longer.  Decided to use GENVISA and go with the White Glove service so that they could apply for the VISA.  Even at that, it was an in-depth questionnaire wanting to know your work history, countries you have visited and when, marriages and former spouses with their birthdays and birthplaces.  I only went “one deep” on that one!  That’s all I could remember.

Also asked if we have fire arms, chemical or biological weapons training?  Of course we answered NO!  Who does?  Have we obtained a visa in the past using false information?  NO!  Not that we’re admitting to!

Just as we were sending the application and a check for $577 off to GenVisa, Russia invaded Crimea!  We kept waiting to hear how the US was going to respond, and in particular, how we were going to respond to all of this.

In the meantime, we received our VISA’s and got our psyche ready to go!  The Russian writing is really cool.  Glad it’s a part of my Passport.