The first of the two guides, written in 1849 offers an interesting insight into pre-reform Russia under Nicholas I. It covers issues of censorship, passports and police searches, as well as the difficulties experienced in finding a good hotel. The author seems most vexed that the hotels he stays in expect him to supply his own linen and servants... The way he describes the hotels though is an interesting metaphor for Russia at this time (discuss?):
Though imposing on the outside, many of these hotels are wretched and dirty within ; they are, in fact, merely large lodging houses, divided into sets of apartments, to many of which a small kitchen is attached ; not an atom of carpet or matting is to be seen, and the scanty furniture is of a very inferior description.
Both guides give fantastic insights into the country and how it changed over time and both are fascinating in what they choose to include or miss out!
There has hitherto been some difficulty in passing books, maps, guides, and other products of the press, but a recent regulation permits the introduction of all such printed works as Continental travellers are in the habit of carrying with them, excluding the publications of the Russian revolutionary press in London and elsewhere. Travellers are cautioned against introducing the latter works. Bibles and Prayer-Books are not touched, nor need the Handbook be any longer concealed. When the books are in large parcels, they will be forwarded by the frontier authorities to the Censorship Com mittee at St. Petersburg, by which they are examined, and ultimately restored to the owner. English and foreign newspapers are not seized, as formerly, when used as wrappers.