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Puzzling Russia: Metric system
June, 30/2016

How to understand metric system? – Easy!

It’s not a secret that all measurements in Russia are done in the metric system. Do you find all those meters, centimeters, liters and kilograms confusing? They are actually not that terrible as they look like.

Distance & length in Russia: metric system

Anyone who has already visited Russia will confirm that traveling to St. Petersburg or Moscow is both exciting and adventurous. The sole challenge that travellers from the U.S. may face in Russia is metric system – a completely different set of units to determine mass, length, height, etc. A 5’9’’ person from NYC is 1.75 m in Moscow, and the temperature of the traditional Russian tea (tchai) in St. Petersburg is going to be 95C, not 203F. While this all may sound confusing, there is number of fairly simple rules to remember these differences.

With length, remember three units: centimetres (for small things, like your iPhone 6S, which is 14 cm long and almost 7 cm wide), meters (for bigger lengths and distances, as in, an average person in Europe is 1 meter 77 centimetres high; or, a road is 10 meters wide) and kilometres (for long distances in metric system. For example, St. Petersburg and Peterhof are 37 kilometres away from each other.). Roughly, they relate to your typical units in the following way: there are 2.5 centimetres in 1 inch, 1 meter is slightly longer than 3 feet, and running a mile is easier than a kilometre (meaning, 3 kilometres almost equal 2 miles).

Helpful metric conversion

Good thing about temperature, you will only need to remember a few examples to get the Fahrenheit–Celsius correlation:Metric system

  • 32F is 0C – temperature of ice or St. Petersburg in the end of December.
  • 16C (60.8F) is definitely a jacket weather in St. Petersburg, while you will probably be needing to reach for your coat at 10C (50F).
  • 27C (80.6F) or higher is a summer day no one in St. Petersburg would ever miss. Spend it, cruising around the St. Petersburg rivers and canals as a part of your private tour.
  • Your normal body temperature (97.88F) is 36.6C – seek medical attention if it goes higher.
  • Water boils at 100C (212F) – a knowledge, crucial for those who will try to cook pelmeni on their own.

Volume in metric system

Now, weight and volume. Average overseen weighs 180 pounds in the U.S., that is 81 kilograms in metric system. Your typical bottle of Stolichnaya vodka is 500 millilitre (ml), so two would add up to 1 litre (35 ounces, or 2 pounds). That’s about it.

While we’re confident your stay won’t be tainted by slight differences in units of measurements, it is always a good idea to keep this article in mind. Also, remember that your private tour guide in St. Petersburg will always be happy to help you figure out the exact number of shots for a fun weekend in the city.

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