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Part 1 Stops 1 through 13. Marriott Royal/Hotel Budapest to Manezh Ploshchad
Part 2 Stops 14 though 22. Around Manezh Ploshchad
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Part 4 Stops 45 though 48. From Puskinskaya Ploshchad to Upper St. Peter's Monastery and back

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Trans-Siberian Trains information to get you started on your journey
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Trans-Siberian Trains

Page Contents
General Train information
Route Information
Train Fares
Using the site to check fares
Using the site to buy tickets
Notes about Russian Train Travel
Common Places to Stop
Alternate Crossings to/from Mongolia
Crossings to/from Russia
Crossings to/from China
Weather along the Route
Temperatures in Fahreinheit
Temperatures in Centigrade
Other Resources
Personal Accounts

General Train Information 

The three sites that are easiest to use for determining information about train travel into and within Russia are:

  1. Your Train - CIS Railway Timetable. This is probably the easiest site to navigate in English, but it doesn't offer prices or show seat availability. If you do not know the spelling of the city, try typing the first letter or two and you will have a pull down menu from which you can choose. Their purchase service was new in March 2003 and seems to be quite reasonable in comparison to most travel agencies and the actual price at the station, but it is limited to Russian credit cards and delivery in Moscow.
  2. RZD.The official Russian Railway site includes lots of information, but is harder to navigate. This site does require that you be able to read and type in cyrillic (using a keyboard that is provided as a popup), cut and paste cyrillic or use a web-based translation program such as
  3. Die Bahn in English. This German railway site is useful if you are traveling through Europe and into Russia, but it does not cover trains that exit Russia for Mongolia or China. One other advantage of this site is that it easy shows connections, something that the other sites don't automatically do.
Other useful sites for train information include:
  1. The Man in Seat 61 Prinicipal Trains on the Trans-Siberian Railway give a nice overview of the most frequently taken trains and their stops, photos of the trains and other useful information regarding connections.
  2. Mongolian Railway

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    Route Information 

    There are three routes:
    Moscow-Mongolia-Beijing (the Trans-Mongolian),
    Moscow-Manchuria-Beijing (the Trans-Manchurian) and
    Moscow-Vladivostok (the Trans-Siberian).
    There are also trains to Pyongyang in North Korea.

    For the Moscow-Vladivostok route only a Russian visa is needed, for the Moscow-Manchuria-Beijing a Russian and a Chinese visa is needed, for the Moscow-Mongolia-Beijing route all three, Russian, Mongolian and Chinese visas are needed. Note that Mongolian visas are not needed by everyone.
    Israeli and US passport holders should check out this webpage: Visa requirements for US nationals.

    Train timetable:
    These timetables have been the essentially the same for a long time and don't change much. All trains (both the trains to Beijing and the train to Vladivostok) are very comfortable and have a restaurant car on board. These are the direct, through trains. One can board these trains, but only if your end point is the end of the line. They cannot be used for intermediate travel or for pieces of the journey. Note that there are many intermediate trains that don't run the entire length of these routes. I repeat: you cannot get on and off the through trains.

    The times listed on the timetable are indicated in Moscow Time (MSK = Moscow time.) When entering a train station anywhere in Russia, all the clocks there will be on Moscow time. All times are given in Moscow time.

    Moscow - Beijing:
    Train 004Z leaves on Tuesdays from Moskva (Moscow) Jaroslavlskaja. Train departs at 23:50 MSK, and arrives in Beijing 15:33 local time, six nights later. A Mongolian transit visa may be required.
    As of 28 May 03, the site Your Train,, indicates that there is a daily train #704 which departs Moscow and arrives Beijing in the same time schedule as the 004. There is a corresponding train in the reverse, #703.
    Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia on train #4 takes 5days 16hr. 34min.
    Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia on train #704 takes 5days 16hr. 28min.

    Train 020Ch, "Vostok", leaves on Fridays from Moskva Jaroslavlskaja. Train departs at 23:40 MSK, and arrives in Beijing 05:30 local time, seven nights later.
    Moscow to Bejing via Manchuria on train #20 takes 6days 5hr. 27min.

    Moscow - Vladivostok:
    Train 002M, "Rossia", goes on odd-numbered dates from Moskva Jaroslavlskaja 16:27 MSK, to Vladivostok 23:06 MSK six nights later (06:06 local time the following day).
    Moscow to Vladivosk on train #2 takes 6days 4hr. 59min.

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    Train Fares 

    Only the first class or second class accommodations exist on international trains to Beijing. Within Russia you can travel in platskartny as far as Ulan Ude or even on to Ulan Bator on Russian trains and then switch to an international train, if you want to save money or have the experience of traveling platskartny.

    There is the daily Irkutsk - UB secondary service, train 264, which is not the same as the express trains 4 or 6 (the ones which run through from Moscow on certain days of the week only). Train 264 (or 263 in the opposite direction) is hard or 3rd class only (platskartny), whereas train 6 has sv and kupé and train 4 has 1st class 2-berth (which some people feel is well worth the extra if you can get it), 1st class 4-berth and 2nd class 4-berth (the last two almost identical). It was reported on 28 May 03 that this train now runs every other day.

    SV (1st class 2-berth on Russian trains) is effectively the same as kupé but minus the two top bunks - both berths in SV are at the lower level. So you get more space and privacy, and always get a window seat. On the other hand, it's at least twice as expensive as kupé, and the social life in kupé or platzkartny is considered by some to be the most rewarding part of the trip....

    The fares listed are roughly those for tickets bought at a Russian railway station. It's much more expensive through a travel agency, especially outside Russia. The reasons for the increased costs are several - one, someone must go to the train station and actually purchase the tickets and two, an extra fee must be paid when tickets are purchased without presentation of one's passport. (see notes below) Train prices vary with the season of travel (summer and around New Years' being more expensive).

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Russian travel agencies and tour operators generally are nervous about quoting prices and selling tickets because the Russian railway ministry (MPS) has announced there will be both drastic and gradual price increases for tickets in peak demand (e.g., June-September). Price increases are expected to be as much as 100% higher than those shown below (although on some trains and for some routes they may only be increased 30%). This is part of the structural reform process at MPS. The new process to sell tickets should bring more openness about prices and better equilibrate the supply and demand, not a bad thing in theory, but it does make it almost impossible to budget or plan. (2003)

    Moscow - Beijing (2002 fares):
    The fare Moscow - Beijing is US$200 in kupé, $320 in first class. The fares are about the same on both Trans-Manchurian and Trans-Mongolian routes with the Trans-Manchurian being a few dollars more for the ticket, but the Trans Mongolian requires an additional $30-50 for a Mongolian transit visa for some travelers.

    Moscow - Vladivostok (average 2003 fares):
    The fare Moscow - Vladivostok is US$160 in platskartny, $250 in kupé, $500 in first class.

    Moscow - Irkutsk (approximate 2003 fares):
    in second class - US$100
    in platskartny - US$60
    Note that the prices will vary with the number of the train you take and the time of year that you travel.

    Irkutsk - UB on train 263/264 (approximate 2003 fares): US$30 one class only

    UB - Beijing on local train (approximate 2003 fares): US$70 second class

    Here is an example of the variation in prices of tickets. This is for trains between Petersburg and Moscow. The prices shown are for the period from early October to mid November 2008 at which time the prices were 86% of base which is set in May each year. Prices shown are for kupé on November 11, 2008.

    Prices for Kupé tickets on November 10, 2008 

    Train number Service Price
    20 no 974.4
    30, 48, 56, 66 no 1039.4
    11 no 1099.3
    814 no 1306.6
    66 yes 1414.4
    6 no 1470.4
    4 no 1513.8
    24, 26, 28, 38, 64 no 1556
    2 no 1746.6
    24, 26, 28, 38, 64 yes 1901.6
    814 yes 1976.8
    59 yes 1991.5
    2 yes 2133.6

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    Using the site to check fares 

    The ticket prices change with the season and a variety of other variables. Other sites will indicate the availability of tickets. The Russian Railway site not only indicates availability, but also shows the prices of tickets that are available. RZD. This site does require that you be able to type in cyrillic, cut and paste or use a web based translation program such as

    Currently (November 2008), the dates and amounts for seasonal adjustments to the prices can be viewed online here: Seasonal Price Changes. Note that the dates and the percentages change each year.

    Using the site to determine prices and availability in the next 45 days is not complicated. Instructions are as follows:

    1. Start with this page:
    2. Click the top red button which says Найти Станцию. This is for the city of departure. Type in the first several letters of the city using the cyrillic keyboard.
      Moscow = Москва
      Yekaterburg = Свердловск
      Irkutsk = Иркутк
    3. Click the button that reads исать.
    4. Choose the correct city from the pull down menu
    5. Do the same thing for the second red button for the arrival city
    6. Set the date
    7. Click the red button that reads запрос
    8. What for the new page to appear. One the far right is a column that tells you which tickets are available for which train.
    9. The next column to the left tells you the length of the travel between the two stations.
    10. Next is the arrival time. Note that this is ALWAYS Moscow time, not local time.
    11. Next is the departure time. Again always in Moscow time.
    12. Nest if the point of origination of the train and its final destination. If you click this, it tells you what stops the train makes.
    13. The first column, all the way to the left, is the train number. If you click this, a new window opens with the berth availability and prices.

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    Using the website to buy tickets 

    You cannot buy tickets on the website until 45 days prior to departure.

    Trains on the website are not listed by name but rather by number.

    In order to purchase tickets on the website the first thing you must do is register. To do that you must start at this page:

    Read the instructions for purchasing on this page:

    Use a website translation program such as and compare the two pages side by side to fill out the forms.

    It will ask you in which number wagon or train car you want to reserve a tickets and then for which range of berths within the car. Certain numbers are often avoided. In kupe people often don't want 1-4 or 33-36 as they are at the ends near the samovar or toilet. In platskartney they usually don't want the side berths 37-54 as they are shorter and more likely to be bumped. Also, berths no. 35,36 are a bit shorter, 33-36 are near the toilet.

    Note that not all credit card companies allow you to purchase on Russian internet sites. Some cannot be used to purchase these tickets even though the site itself is quite safe. Also you do not get a ticket but a receipt with a barcode. To obtain the tickets present this receipt with your passport and the credit card you used at a train station window with an @ sign.

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    Notes about Russian Train Travel 

    It is cheaper to book your ticket at the train station, but that assumes that you speak the language, have the time and can be flexible if the day you want is booked. Even during the height of the tourist travel in July and August, travelers have not reported difficulty getting train tickets for intermediate trains.

    If you intend to stop, you cannot take the direct Trans-Siberian, Trans-Mongolian or Trans-Manchurian trains and hop off and on again. You can do this on other Russian trains. Also if you don't plan to go straight through, but rather plan to stop in one or two places, you don't need to buy separate tickets for each stop unless you want to be assured of a berth. For example, you could purchase a ticket from Moscow to Ulan-Ude and make stops in several places. But again, there is no guarantee of a berth on the train you want to take later.

    If you decide to get off the train and reuse the ticket to continue your travels, you will need to speak with someone in the station. You need to make arrangements to depart again within 10 days, but note that your continuation will be on a space-available basis.

    To repeat: you cannot get off and on the through trains to Beijing or Vladivostok. You cannot get on the through trains unless you are headed to the final terminus. However, you can buy a ticket Moscow to Ulan-Ude for example and get off in Yekatrinburg, then again in Krasnoyarsk, and Irkutsk. Plus at the same time, you can purchase a through ticket from UU to UB and then get another ticket from UB to Beijing.

    If you depart from depart from Vladivostok, you can buy all the tickets there. If you depart from Msocow, you may be able buy all the tickets there. This will depend upon whether you can locate an international travel agency willing to help with the ticket from Ulan Bator to Beijing. If not you will only be able to buy tickets up to Mongolia.

    If you leave from Beijing, in Beijing you can buy a through ticket, but not separate tickets for stop overs beyond Ulan Bator. You will have to purchase the UB to Moscow section or UB to first stop in Russia in Mongolia. You can, however, order tickets through an international travel agency.

    The train schedule can be viewed at Your Trains - CIS railway timetable. Beijing is called Pekin. Moscow is Moskva. St. Petersburg is Sankt-Peterburg. Ulan Ude is Ulan-ude. Ulan Bator is Ulan-Bator.

    Common Places to Stop 

    It would be a shame to travel that far and not stop along the way. Buying separate tickets and making stops will add about $20-25 per stop to the total cost of the tickets. Common places to stop are Yekatrinburg, Novosibirsk (although only a few people say that this was really worth a visit), Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk (for a side trip to Lake Baikal), Ulan Ude, and Ulan Bator (in Mongolia) or Chita and Khabarovsk in eastern Siberia. Please search both the Eastern Europe and the NorthEast Asia branch of the Thorn Tree for more information about these stopover places. For more information about this check out my Stops along the TransSiberian Route page.

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    Alternate Crossings to/from Mongolia 

    Alternate transportation to/from Ulan Ude, Russia: 
    You can take the bus from Ulan Ude to Novoselenginsk and then on to Kyakhta. Reportedly, there are three buses a day, the ride is nice and there is a decent hotel in Kyakhta called the Druzhba. There are buses at 9 am, 11 am, and 3 pm. Ride cost 126R in 2002 from UU to Kyakhta and takes about four and a half hours total.

    Alternatively take the 9 am bus and stop in Novoselenginsk is a fantastic, wild west town with brilliant landscapes if you walk to the riverside cliffs (20 mins stroll). The town is stockades and little wooden houses on ludicrously overwide dust-blown roads. The 200 year old collonaded house at 51 Lenina (beside the Bestuzhev bust) is the Dekabrist museum (tel NSGSK 96716 - no direct dial; 10R, Wed-Sun 9-5) in the former house of D. D. Startseva. The lower floors are furnished in contemporary style and upstairs are mildly interesting photos, maps and paintings pertinent to the town and its Decembrist exiles plus the star exhibit - a long-armed folk art crucifiction scene rescued from the town's now partly restored church. Novoselenginsk moved to its present position in the late 18th century - the old town had been across the river. Now the 1789 Staroselenginsk-Spasky church sits totally isolated on that bank. There are great views of this and the very attractive river valley from low cliffs 20 mins walk east along Kyubysheva St from the Pozi 'saloon'/bus stop. In the sub village here you'll find a 6 m tall 1829 whitewashed monolith ringed by collapsing yellow railings, commemorating Robert Yuille and Martha Cowie, Glaswegians who came here with the London Missionary society. Another good view is from the rubbish dump directly south of the centre, though walking there requires a little wiggling about. It is easy to spend a few hours there and take either the 2 pm or 5:40 pm bus. From Novoselenginsk to Kyakhta the ride takes less than two hours.

    Effectively Kyakhta is two towns - the main center is built around the 1817 Troitskiy (Trinity) Cathedral (now an impressive but ruined shell in an equally ruined fairground in the central park) and the main square with restored 1853 Ryady Gostinye trading arches, beside which is the bus 'station' area. Lined with many turn of the century buildings, ul Lenina north east from here runs to the museum (5 mins walk), and to the South, kinking at the Lenin statue towards the Turist Hotel. 3-4 kilometers beyond is the Sloboda district where the grand, but ruined Italian-cupolaed 1838 Voskresenskaya church is extremely impressive with another Lenin staring across at it. Behind Lenin is the rather mutilated Zdanie Gostinogo Dvora, the 1842 customs warehouses now with communist spire and containing a 70R per night doss house for Mongolian traders. At the back of this big compound is the brand new border facility. Open 9-12, 14-18.

    Beside Voskressnaya church is wooden house of Decembrist A. M. Lushnikova (fenced off, unsafe?.) The Museum Lenina 49, 10-6pm Tue-Sat, 40R for foreigners is a delightfully eccentric place. The building dates from 1890. The museum founded in 1922 and still with the original hardwood and glass display cases, the stuffed animals, pickled foetuses and pinned butterflies, but also with imaginative displays of the treasures salvaged from the cathedral and Buddhist Datsan. Spot the siamese twin sheep, routes of Central Asian explorers, Upstairs beyond the dancing bear is a throne made from elk antlers, a Mongolian chess set, chinese tea jars, cosmonauts' toothpaste style dinner-food tubes.

    The Druzhba hotel is located at 91321, ul Krupskaya 8 beside the active, Uspensky church. While there are double rooms starting at 150pp, it has one of the best value suites including hot water, sitting room, big double bed for 300R that I've seen anywhere, but the Turist is cheaper 130R for basic 2-5 bed dorm beds in a chocolate box, wooden house at 21 Lenina/corner Sovietskaya.

    Banya is located a block south of Turist Hotel and is open 14-20 daily. Buryatskaya Kukhnya pozi 9R, tucked behind the trading arches, is very basic with incongruous disco ball lamp, Viola is the best cafe and is located upstairs at Lenina 40, across the road near the market and beside the taxi stand.

    ALTAN BULAG - the road border crossing
    Contrary to the LP Mongolia book Altanbulag isn't really 'worth a look' even if you're there! But the scenery and yurt speckled grasslands between there and the even more uninteresting town of Sukhbataar are excellent. 30R/1000T for shared taxi.

    NAUSHKI - the train border crossing
    Note that Naushki is 35 not 25 kilometers from Kyakhta, and the minibuses usually run only to connect with trains. The station is desolate, but there are food kiosks two minutes walk to the right and a cafe in the park (summer only).

    From there cross from Altan Bulag to Sukhbaatar. Crossing is fine (it took the traveler who reported this trip 4.5 hrs.) You may not walk across so you must pay 100R to one of the smuggler jeeps or, if you have endless patience join one of the buses for slightly less. The border is open 9-12, 14-18 (maybe longer). It is best to get to the border with a separate taxi (30R with stop at the brilliant old Voskressnaya to see its cupolaed church and old customs arches.)

    This information was provided by a fellow traveler who covered this route in 2002.

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    Alternate transportation to/from Beijing, China: 
    Take the local train from Beijing central train station or the bus to Erlian.
    Take the shuttle bus or jeep from the Chinese side to the Mongolian border, Zammin uud. (takes about 3-4 hours to cross)
    Then take the daily train at 4 pm from Zammin uud to UB or there is plenty of local transportation from there.

    Weather along the Route 

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    Temperatures in Fahreinheit 

      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    ave hi 34 39 52 67 78 85 86 85 78 66 49 37
    ave low 17 22 33 47 57 66 72 69 59 47 32 22
    Ulan Bator
    ave hi 3 12 27 44 59 68 71 68 58 43 21 7
    ave low -13 -8 6 23 37 48 53 50 38 23 3 -8
    Ulan Ude
    ave hi 0 8 12 27 46 62 73 77 59 42 24 5
    ave low -22 -16 1 23 33 46 53 50 35 23 1 -14
    ave hi 5 12 28 43 59 69 72 68 58 42 24 10
    ave low -12 -10 4 23 35 46 52 48 37 22 5 -5
    ave hi 9 11 25 43 60 71 75 69 59 41 23 13
    ave low -2 2 11 28 41 54 58 53 43 30 13 2
    ave hi 12 17 32 48 61 71 73 67 56 40 26 17
    ave low 0 2 16 31 41 51 56 51 42 29 15 6
    ave hi 21 24 34 49 63 69 71 68 57 45 32 25
    ave low 11 12 22 34 44 51 55 52 43 33 24 16

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    Temperatures in Centigrade 

      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    ave hi 1 4 11 19 26 29 30 29 26 19 9 3
    ave low -8 -5 .5 8 14 19 22 21 15 8 0 -5
    Ulan Bator
    ave hi -16 -11 -3 7 15 20 22 20 14 6 -6 -14
    ave low -25 -22 -14 -5 1 9 12 10 3 -5 -16 -22
    Ulan Ude
    ave hi -18 -13 -2 8 17 23 25 23 15 6 -6 -15
    ave low -30 -26 -17 -5 .5 8 11 10 2 -5 -17 -25
    ave hi -17 -11 -2 6 15 21 22 20 14 6 -4 -12
    ave low -25 -25 -12 -2 5 12 14 12 6 -1 -10 -16
    ave hi -13 -11 -4 6 16 22 24 21 15 5 -5 -11
    ave low -25 -25 -12 -2 5 12 14 12 6 -1 -11 -17
    ave hi -11 -8 0 8 16 22 23 19 13 4 -3 -8
    ave low -18 -17 -9 -5 5 11 13 11 6 -2 -9 -14
    ave hi -6 -4 1 9 17 21 22 20 14 7 0 -4
    ave low -12 -11 -6 1 6 11 13 11 6 .5 -4 -9

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    Other Resources about the Trans-Siberian 

    Here are some sites (listed alphabetically suggested in the past by others who researched this route:
    G & R International This is a travel agency in Moscow that has lots of information about the transiberian including their fees for various train tickets. This firm sells train tickets and packages. They post ads on various Russian train sites and are pretty hard sell. Without question, their prices are high but their service is pretty good.
    Real Russia A company with offices in Moscow and London. They can arrange train tickets and apartment stays.
    RickSteves A guide book website.
    Russia Experience A Brit who operates lots of organized trips on the transiberian route. Same holds true - the prices are high but the service is reportedly good. An Australian travel agency that specializes in travel to Russia.
    Russian Passport/Red Bear travelAn Australian company that arranges travel to Russia, Mongolia and North Korea. THE train guru. His site includes pictures of what a 1st class and 2nd class bunk look like, shows the route maps and includes load and loads of other useful information. A Russian tour company whose site has lots of good information about things to do and places to see.
    StudyRussian A company that specializes in studying Russian at MGU and travel on the transiberian route. They can assist with arranging homestays along the route.
    Svezhy Veter Another Russian tour company, although not specializing in travel on the transiberian, this site has lots of useful information about travel in Russia. Plus if you send them a request for quotes for train prices, the prices they send are reasonable but more than those of tickets bought at the train station.
    Tramp Hostel Reported to be responsive to requests for info, have reasonable prices and reasonably reliable.
    Trans-Siberian Railway Web Encyclopedia Good information about history of the trains, cars, books about the trains, but the English section is not well translated.
    Vodka Train This used to be Sundowners. They are trying hard to undercut MonkeyShrine and Russia Experience with a no frills tour price.
    WaytoRussia A travel service, not really an agency, but they keep their webpages up to date regarding train times and ticket prices, both of which change with the season plus they check the service and quality of the companies with which they work. They also have information about things to do in some of the cities/towns along the route.

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    Personal accounts 

    Some people find it useful to read the accounts of others who have traveled this route. If you are one of those people, here are a few such sites:
    Fred's Trans-Siberian Railroad Adventure The personal accounts of a Brit who took the Trans-Mongolian trip in November-December 2001. Lots of pictures.
    Overland to Hong Kong Another Brit who traveled the Trans-Mongolian beginning in the UK.
    Trans-Siberian Travel Pages Notes from someone who made this trip and describes his planning including various resources that he used when making travel arrangements.


    There are two books that people routinely recommend. The classic is Trans-Siberian Handbook by Bryn Thomas. This is considered by many people to be the bible. The current edition is number seven, which was published in October 2007.

    LP published its own Trans-Siberian Guide, and they also publish a book about Mongolia and one about Russia and Belarus. The Trans-Siberian Guide contains some general information about the trip and various cities, but its sections on Moscow and Petersburg are rather outdated. The most recent Trans-Siberian Guide, the second edition, was published in April 2006.

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last revised 24 September 2011 © 2003-2011 Ruth E. Imershein
The information contained on these pages is intended to assist in making travel plans but things change, mistakes can be made.
Please do not depend entirely on this information when making your decisions.

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