Nano and Giga Challenges
in Electronics, Photonics and Renewable Energy

Symposium and Summer School (Tutorial Lectures)
Moscow - Zelenograd, Russia, September 12-16, 2011
mgu - nt-mdt
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Helpful Tips for Moscow First Time Visitors

This information is mainly for those who will be in Moscow for the first time. Talk also to people who visited Moscow recently. They can give you their frank personal advice and tips which may be more useful than those coming from official sources and experts (as they are often either obvious, or edited for political correctness). At the same time, do not hesitate to ask the organizers. We are here to help and make your stay in Moscow a good and memorable experience.

Moscow, as well as other world capitals, has its share of pickpockets and other scam. We recommend that you keep your valuables (passport, credit cards, cash or travel checks) in a secure place. The pouch or purse which you can hang on your neck and keep on the chest under your clothes seems to work best. Do not keep your wallet in your pocket. You need to carry a copy of your identification together with the hotel registration. Make a xerox copy of the main page of your passport and copy of your visa and carry it with you, so you do not risk that originals are lost or stolen. The center of Moscow is generally quite safe and you will feel it instinctively. However, Moscow is a big city and you should follow common sense and take simple precautions. If you are an adventurous type and you want to explore Moscow, do not do it alone, and have a Russian colleague join you. You will be safer, learn more, have more fun, and maybe even forge a long term friendship, or acquire a useful professional contact.
Be careful crossing busy streets. Do not expect a driver to stop or even slow down when you are on the road!!! Pedestrian on the Moscow street is like a deer crossing a river full of alligators. First, check if there is no car in the proximity, and then run as fast as you can...
You can exchange dollars and euros to rubles at almost any corner in the center of Moscow. Currencies which are less popular than US Dollar or Euro are not easy to exchange and you will not get a good rate. 1 USD is about 30 rubles and 1 euro is around 40 rubles. The exchange rates are less favorable at the airport and at the hotel. Do not change all your money at once. Exchange some nominal amount at the convenient place just after you arrive, but then, when you need to exchange more, find the exchange outlet which gives you a better rate.
There are cash machines where you can withdraw cash in dollars or rubles. Likewise, some currency exchange outlets will allow you to take cash advances from your credit cards, but it will cost you extra. While more and more places accept credit cards in Moscow, use them only at established and reliable outlets which will keep your the information secure. When you are bargain hunting in small stores, you are better off using cash. Ask organizers if you have more questions.
We strongly recommend that you use Moscow metro for transportation. It is fast, clean, and safe. Single entry costs 28 rubles, and you get discount if you buy multiple passes. It operates between 5:30am and 1:00am. Moreover, many of its stations are glamorous, and look more like museum halls than subway stations. For directions and a map of metro visit the Transportation Page. Exploring major stations of Moscow metro is one of Moscow's tourist attractions. But again, thieves and pickpockets like metro as much as tourists do! Watch your pockets particularly in a crowded train. If someone is pushing you in the car, he/she may be exploring the contents of your pockets.
Getting a taxi is a matter of a few seconds. Many drivers in Moscow look for the opportunity to get some extra money by picking up passengers. Beware!!! If you do not speak Russian, and do not know the customs, the price for the same ride may be twice higher than for the Muscovite. But it is still quite reasonable if you compare it to New York. If you are not convinced about your safety, do not get into the car! And remember, instead of a quick ride you may get bored in a traffic jump for hours and decide to walk after all! Use metro instead, if you know how to get to the place you go or ask at the registration desk, if we can arrange a volunteer for your Moscow adventures.

Warning: Underground passage between the radial (Radialnaya) and ring (Koltsevaya) stations Park Kulturi is closed for reconstruction. In order to get to the Sokolnicheskaya Line (Red, No. 1) from another line use other stations which have passages to the Sokolnicheskaya line. In order to get to the radial Park Kultury station to the ring station with the same name (or vice versa) you have to exit the metro and renter from another entrance. It may take you extra 10 min plus one more ticket.
While it is obviously a matter of preference and your budget, in Moscow, as in other big cities, you can spend a few bucks or a hundred bucks on a dinner. There is no shortage of all kind of restaurants in Moscow and we can give you some hints at the registration desk.
The 2nd and 3rd week of September is usually warm and sunny (around 20oC / 70oF during the day). This pleasant period of the year is called Indian Summer (L'ete Indien, Bab'e Leto) and is very comfortable for sightseeing and enjoying outdoors. However, the weather is not always predictable. Cooler and rainy days (as low as 10oC / 50oF) are on record during this period. By all means, bring with you an umbrella and a jacket to protect you from wind and/or rain, especially if you plan to go outside at evenings or later in the night. Current weather forecast shows that there is a chance of rain on September 12 (Monday) and September 13 (Tuesday) with high temperature to be around 60oF/15oC and low around 50oF/10oC.
Most of the hotels have wireless internt connections and we plan to arrange internet access at the venues. There are also some coffee shops which have free wi-fi for their visitors (usually for a higher price of coffee and pastries). You phone may be able to accept Russian sim cards, which you can by for 100 rubles and charge by money at almost any corner in Moscow. If you have an expensive roaming charges and you want to stay connected with your friends and family, who can call you cheap, you may consider to buy a cheap phone as well, and in this case you know that it will work with your local sim card. There are also phones cards that you can buy, which have as low as 2 cents/minute rate. You can use them to call from your hotel room. If you need an advice on that matter, please ask the organizers.

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