Golden Ring of Russia
Experience the treasures of Russian culture, history and architecture on this 8-day journey—wander picturesque towns older than Moscow and marvel at Orthodox frescoes and golden domes. An expert CEO will lead the way and locals will uncover what was hidden behind the Iron Curtain for years. Visit the Kremlins in the cities along the Golden Ring and contemplate European masterpieces in St Petersburg’s Hermitage. The onion-domed churches dotting the skylines of rural villages coupled with the grandeur of Moscow are waiting to be discovered.
Kremlin and Armoury guided tour (Moscow). Kremlin tour (Suzdal). Monastery and folk village tour. Church visits (Yuriev Polski). Kremlin visit (Rostov). Yaroslavl guided tour. St Petersburg walking tour. Peterhof visit. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Admire St Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square, marvel at the Kremlin Armoury treasures, visit Golden Ring churches and monasteries, relax at Lake Nero, explore St Petersburg’s back streets and ornate buildings
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. You will require a Letter of Invitation for Russia for this trip in order to get your Russian visa. You must complete the visa information form which will be automatically sent to you via email upon time of booking. Please, note that name in your application should be exactly the same as on your passport. If you have middle name – it should be reflected in the application.
2. Visiting the embassy remember, that Russia is a bureaucratic country. Bring with you a lot of patience and a huge sense of humour, then your experience will be greatly enhanced.
3. On arrival in Russia you will receive a double immigration card, you must fill out both parts and one is taken away upon entry, the other must remain with your passport at all times and you must have it on leaving Russia to hand to the relevant authorities.
4. Booking Theatre tickets in advance: To avoid disappointment we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to attend in Moscow or St Petersburg in advance. Please consider carefully which performances you are going to want attend and make sure that the dates correspond to your trip. Here are some useful internet sites to check for what will be on (ballet, opera, exhibitions, etc) in Moscow and St Petersburg when you are there. In particular we recommend you see what’s playing at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky, as it may be difficult to get tickets when you are there especially during White Nights in St Petersburg. The most useful sites to check in English are www.mariinsky.ru, www.bolshoi.ru and www.ticketsofrussia.com.
5. Due to the restrictions on changing money in Russia, only notes/bills printed after 1996 and in good condition are accepted for exchange. You might get much lesser rate if notes are not new or look “worn”.
Group Leader Description
This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 15, avg 10
4 breakfasts, 1 lunch
Eating is a big part of traveling. G Adventures understands the importance of breakfast to start your day, we strive to include a basic breakfast wherever possible. A typical breakfast may include toast, coffee and tea, however, they may also be Asian style, consisting of noodles, congee (rice porridge), bread or eggs; this may vary depending on the city we’re visiting. Vegetarians will be able to find a range of different foods, although in some areas the choice maybe limited. Should breakfast not be included, your CEO can suggest some local options.
Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. While trekking in remote regions, food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients. For all trips, please refer to the meals included and budget information.
For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Private van, public bus, train, metro
About our Transportation
Overnight train Yaroslavl to St Petersubrg on day 5 is a standard 2nd Class Kupe Soft sleeper: 4 berth compartments that have lockable doors. There is enough space for standard sized bag/backpack under bottom bunks and overhead locker up top. Bed lined is provided on all trains. Each carriage has two toilets and one hot water boiler. There are two train attendants in each carriage – they take care of passengers and clean the facilities. Train has a dining car.
All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price. Back To Index
Hotels (5 nts), guesthouse (1 nt), sleeper train (1 nt).
My Own Room Exceptions
Night 5, Sleeper train
Hotels (6 nts), Sleeper train (1 nt)
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Hotel – Best Western Izmailovo Vega (ИЗМАЙЛОВО ВЕГА) – is situated near metro station Partizanskaya (Партизанская) on the dark blue line. Hotel is just five minutes walk from the metro station. It is in 5 metro stops from the Red Square and the Kremlin. Please, note that the station has changed its name in 2006 and can appear on some maps as Izmailovsky Park (Измайловский Парк). Izmailovo hotel was constructed to accommodate tourists during Moscow Olympics 1980, it consists of 4 big buildings. Make sure you going to the wing Best Western Vega.
There are two international airports in Moscow: Sheremetievo terminals 1, 2 and C (Шереметьево) and Domodedovo (Домодедово). Airport Vnukovo (Внуково) services mostly domestic flights.
TRANSFER: If you pre-booked arrival transfer, meet your driver in the airport arrivals area (exit luggage claim area). The driver will be holding a sign with your name.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: From Sheremetievo airport there are public buses and express buses, going to several metro stations. To metro Rechnoi Vokzal (Речной вокзал) you can get by bus #851 and Sheremetievo Express Bus (Экспресс). To metro Planernaya (Планерная) you can take bus #817. Please, remember that Moscow’s traffic is very busy, and buses can be overcrowded at times. In general it takes about 30 – 50 minutes from the airport to the metro. Another option is to use Minibus service (миниавтобусы) – shared taxis. They connect airport with both metro stations – Rechnoi Vokzal and Planernaya. You should look for the station name on the list of stops that each minibus has. All buses and minbuses have standard fee: 20 – 40 RUB (2-3 USD) depending on the route.
From Domodoedovo Airport you can get to metro station Domodedovskaya (Домодедовская) by taking public bus #405 or Domodedovo Express Bus (fare is about 25 – 50 RUB). There are also minivans (миниавтобусы) going to Domodedovskaya (keep in mind that they usually don’t have enough space for luggage). Domodedovo airport is also connected to Paveletskaya metro station (Павелецкая) on dark green line. Journey lasts for about 40 min and cost approximately 120 RUB (4 USD). You can buy ticket from the booth at the airport exit.
TAXIS: Taxis in Russia don’t use meter. Price is agreed by bargaining, and drivers usually don’t speak English. We strongly recommend to avoid taxis both – in town (metro system is thousands times cheaper and stress-less) and on the way from the airport. Don’t follow any strangers who tell you that their car is outside – you’ll get the ride, but the price might come up to about 150 USD. Best option is to go to one of the official taxi desks located on the airport ground floor. Average cost of the taxi would be about 60 – 75 USD (1800 – 2100 RUB)
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
If you are experiencing complications with your Moscow AIRPORT TRANSFER that was booked through G Adventures please call: +7 916 244 02 53 (Aida)
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Russia)
+7 917 564 28 75 (Sandra)
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand:
Mr Laziz Otayarov (Operations Manager – Central Asia)
Mobile 1: +998 90 134 7888 (24h)
Mobile 2: +998 93 528 7678 (24h)
After hours emergency number
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a good deal, so pack as lightly as possible. It is in your own interest as you are expected to carry your own luggage, though distances are never great. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, which is the most suitable. It is important that your bag can be locked. On overnight train, there is luggage space under bottom beds and above the door, but it is limited, and can not fit massive bags in.
Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance, air tickets, voucher and their photocopies.
Required visas or vaccination certificates
Money: cash/credit card, money pouch
First aid kit
Day pack to carry your personal needs during the day
Watch and alarm clock
Lightweight travel towel
Sleeping bag liner/sleep sheet
Comfortable clothes for the train
Raincoat or umbrella
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your CEO where the closest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements
Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself with the embassy of each country. Your travel agent can assist. Please, keep in mind that all countries require passports valid for at least 6 months from the moment of departure from the country.
RUSSIA: all nationalities require a visa to visit Russia
All nationalities also need an official Letter Of Invitation (LOI) before they can apply for their Russia visa.
You can obtain the LOI through our visa support agent in Russia. The visa support link you need to complete will be sent to you or your travel agent by email when you confirm your booking. You must read the instructions carefully and fill out all the details.
Please note, the company, that provides us Letters of Invitation is based in Russia. Please make sure to check your SPAM folder – emails from addresses with .ru Russian server address are often redirected to SPAM.
The visa support letter often lists hotels that may not be the exact hotels that you will be staying at during your trip. It is critical however, that when you complete your Russian visa application that you copy the hotels that are on your LOI rather than those that are on your G Adventures voucher or dossier.
Important Notes Russian Visa Application:
1. As stated above the Visa application must exactly match the LOI sent to you.
2. The type/purpose of visa: Tourism
3. Company or organization in Russia to be visited: Karelia Plus LLC
4. Name of Russian Travel Agency: Karelia Plus LLC
5. Reference number of Russian tour agency: 001695-XXXX (This is in the top right hand corner of your visa support letter)
6. Route of Journey: Copy the dates and cities that appear below your name on the left hand side of your visa support letter
HOW TO FILL IN RUSSIAN LOI FORM ONLINE:
As Russia visas are dated specifically for entry and exit, please ensure you enter the correct dates. We also recommend you add on an extra day to both the start/end of your trip so your visa length will cover any unexpected delays. Please, remember to put exactly the same dates when you fill out the application at the Russian embassy.
Please do not submit an application until 3 months prior to your entry into Russia. The details will then be forwarded to our local agent in Russia. As a Russian visa is only valid for 90 days once it is issued, you will be emailed your Russia Invitation Letter (and travel service voucher) only once we are within 60 days of the trip start date.
Once you have received your LOI you can apply for your visa by going to the nearest Russian embassy.Please, remember that it is your responsibility to check whether passport details, name spelling and dates on the LOI are correct.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Russia: US$1 = 30 Roubles.
There are plenty of money exchange offices, banks and ATM’s in all cities in European part of Russia. You will be able to exchange all major currencies. Please, be aware that exchange rate on the billboards in small currency exchange offices is for sums 1,000+ USD. You have to inquire with the teller about the exchange rate for amounts 1 – 1,000 USD. Many banks take a commission (20 – 50 RUB – equivalent of 1 – 2 USD) when exchange cash.
The easiest and quickest way is to change USD cash but you must be aware of the security risk of carrying large sums of money. In any case some money should be taken as cash in case of emergencies. We recommend that you don’t use money changers on the street.
Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops and restaurants but only in the bigger cities. Some banks in Moscow and St Petersburg will allow cash advances against a credit card but cash withdrawals are subject to a 3% to 4% service charge.
Please, note that if for security reasons you carry your money as travellers cheques, you might experience troubles exchanging them: there can be very long delays when changing travellers cheques, and not all banks in Russia accept them.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Tipping is expected – though not compulsory – and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $2-3 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
We suggest you bring along USD120 for additional sightseeing.
St Isaacs Cathedral (St Petersburg) – USD10
The Hermitage (St Petersubrg) – USD15
Night Canal tour (St Petersburg) – USD15
Mariinsky Theatre (St Petersburg) – various USD25 – USD250
Peterhof (St Petersburg) – USD17
River Cruise (Moscow) – USD13
Pushkin Fine Art Museum (Moscow) – USD8
Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow) – USD8
St Basils Cathedral (Moscow) – USD6
Bolshoi Theatre (Moscow) – various USD50 – USD250
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information about before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements . Please be aware that we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout the area. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and practical. As a general guideline shoulders and knees should be covered at all times – shorts, singlets and tank tops are not suitable.
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You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
PRODUCT_LINE: ARGR, ID: 22809
Day 1 Moscow
There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Moscow
Opt to visit the Tretiakov Art Gallery, take a Moskva River boat cruise, visit the Space Museum, the Pushkin Fine Art Museum, or Lenin’s Mausoleum.
Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral are must-sees.
Prepare to visit cities in the Golden Ring, one of the oldest routes found in Russia, dotted with ancient towns each representing a different historic spirit of the Russian people.
Kremlin and Armoury Guided Tour
Day 3 Moscow/Rostov (1L)
Golden Ring towns now resemble open air museums, where life is slow and old traditions are kept. Visit the Troitse-Sergiev Monastery in Sergiyev Posad. Have the opportunity to make your own Russian souvenir “matrushka” (Russian painted dolls) before continuing on to Rostov.
Opt to enjoy time on the shores of Lake Nero this evening.
Sergiyev Posad Churches Visit
Private Vehicle (1.50 hour(s), 73km)
Private Vehicle (2.50 hour(s), 142km)
Day 4 Rostov/Suzdal (1B)
Check out the Rostov Kremlin in this fascinating town, whose very stones embody the inexhaustible genius of Russian masters.
Enjoy a guided tour to Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery and other highlights in Yaroslavl, before continuing on to Suzdal for the night.
Rostov Kremlin Visit
Yaroslavl Guided City Tour
Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s), 58km)
Private Vehicle (3.50 hour(s), 200km)
Day 5 Suzdal/Saint-Petersburg (1B)
Suzdal is a quiet pastoral city with dozens of onion-domed churches dotting the skyline. Explore the streets lined with quaint wooden houses and enjoy relaxing by the river. The city square is as charming as they come. Wander past the small church and chat with “babushkas” selling pickled cucumbers and mead (honey beer).
En route to Vladimir, stop in Bogolubovo to see the famous Pokrova-na-Nerli. Overnight train to Saint Petersburg.
Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s), 41km)
Basic overnight train (beds) (10.50 hour(s))
Day 6 Saint-Petersburg
Activities in the ‘Paris of Russia’ include a visit to the Hermitage, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Church on Spilt Blood, the Russian Museum, or a rivers and canals boat trip. Make time to enjoy a cup of tea and Russian treats in a local café.
Saint Petersburg Walking Tour
Day 7 Saint-Petersburg (1B)
Spend the day exploring the city or riding the deepest metro in the world. Opt for a canal cruise to see more of the city.
Day 8 Saint-Petersburg (1B)
Depart at any time.