We all have different passions when we travel. Some people enjoy exploring museums, while others want nothing more than to savor local delicacies. But for many Grand Circle travelers, finding traditional crafts and items a region is known for is what they want to do most during their trips. Here, a Grand Circle traveler—known as patfrommckinney on our Travel Forums—asks fellow travelers where she might find Russia’s famous matryoshka dolls on her upcoming Russia Revealed: Moscow to St. Petersburg River Cruise …
We are going to Russia in July and would like suggestions on what travelers have found in regard to the cost of matryoshka dolls, the Russian dolls that fit inside each other. I know I have seen them in Alaska, but I’m not sure what to look for in terms of quality, and where to purchase them while in Russia.
We will be traveling on the River Cruise, and would also like to know your favorite ports-of-call. Did you find anything you did not expect? What is your favorite memento from Russia Revealed? We are not “shoppers” ... the history and experience are most important to us, so I want to minimize the time I spend searching (and wondering if I got a decent deal) for gifts to take home.
hootie (7-time traveler) said:
I was in St. Petersburg about five years ago on another trip. There is a difference in quality depending on where you go, so you have to really look at the item. The prices vary widely, but it was easy to find the lacquer boxes and stacking dolls for under $10 at that time. “Doll” pins and refrigerator magnets were only about $1-$5. You can find very small boxes (1-2 inches), which can cost as much as larger boxes because of the detailed painting on the box. They are beautiful and some depict fairy tales.
I was on a shore excursion that included lunch, a vodka tasting, dancing show, and a traditional craft table. I was able to buy a signed and dated, stacking fairy-tale set of six different winter scenes. The scenes ranged in size from 1 inch to 8 inches that were so beautifully painted that I couldn’t pass them up (I didn’t even try to bargain for a lower price!) … I just love them, and the memories they bring to mind.
My husband and I are taking the Russia Revealed River Cruise this September with a pre-trip extension in Kiev. I collect pysanka eggs (hand-painted real or wooden eggs), so I’m hoping to find a large selection throughout this trip. I think a couple of dozen (or more!) to add to my collection would be nice. I keep reminding my husband that this trip was his idea—but I can’t wait to go shopping!
baywaves (5-traveler) said:
I found really neat stacking dolls in one of the small towns along the way. There was some kind of a street bazaar we saw as we were walking back to the ship. They had traditional dolls, as well as sports dolls—and even some that you can paint yourself. I think the bazaar was in Svir Stroi—one of the last stops on the trip. We also bought some lovely woven-wood boxes, which were very unusual. Prices were as good at the bazaar as anywhere else we went—and better than on the ship.
elna (2-time traveler) said:
The Program Directors will tell you to shop in Uglich—and it is a shopper’s paradise with all sorts of stalls along the street. I did not buy any matryoshka dolls since I had some from another trip to Tver and Moscow. It just depends on what you like—local wooden items (birch/ash), etc.
Read more responses to patfrommckinney’s inquiry here —and please continue to share your suggestions and tips with your fellow travelers on our Travel Forums. Keep the travel chatter going!