As one can imagine, the Trans-Mongolian trip (Beijing, Ulaanbaatar, Irkutsk, Listvyanka, Moscow) is not an easy trip to plan and execute. After taking care of all the logistics, one by one, the last remaining hurdle was the Russia Tourist VISA.
I have been to Russia before with a single-entry VISA and was having the expectation that I would get a multiple-entry, multi-year VISA this time around.
Alas … My hopes were dashed and I again got a single-entry VISA 🙁
I will be entering Russia via rail/train. The border arrival date/time is not exactly predictable. I noticed that the VISA start period is quite risky and gives me no leeway. Worst-case, I might get stuck at the border and the train could continue on its merry journey (My Vietnam experience did not help give me confidence :-). I decided to get the VISA duration changed and visited the Russian Consulate (again!) in person.
There were two travel agents at the Consulate who were there with several passports for VISA processing. They seem to know the Consulate employees well and one of them was even speaking Russian!
After the Russian VISA adjustment, I am all set … VISAs, Flights, Trains, Hotels, Tours, Research, Shows Etc.