Arriving in the Eurozone

Helsinki Travel Blog

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We boarded the Finland bound train in Saint Petersburg at 11:30am.  The 3.5 hour journey was smooth, fast and very enjoyable.  Only a week before we had completed our Trans-Siberian/Mongolian journey in Saint Petersburg (which I will cover in a separate blog to come) 

We had a spent a lovely week in one of the most beautiful cities we have seen to date and one rich with culture and beautiful architecture, we could have easily spent another few days in Saint Pete’s.

We had booked the Finlandia train ourselves while still in Korea, the earlier you book the cheaper it is!  It had its own station in Saint Petersburg which was a couple of stops on the metro, so we didn’t repeat our Moscow experience we left early to get there!  It was still a palaver when we arrived, we followed the signs to what said “Finlandia” and still ended up in the wrong part of the station. We only noticed this when our bar codes on our tickets wouldn’t let us through on to the platform. A nice Russian guy said you need to go around to the international!  So off we go and as usual no signs to say where the entrance was, we asked a woman outside dressed in Russian railways uniform but all she did was kept a sour face and shrugged her shoulders in the usual Russian atitude of “I’m not interested in helping you”.  We often found members of the Russian public were far more helpful than people in the service industry, something Russia needs to clean up.   

We kept walking and found the entrance behind scaffolding. The queue was slow moving to get through security, I started to panic a little as we only had 20 minutes before the train left!  We were safely on the train with 8 minutes to spare.

At the border Russians came on and stamped us out, then Finland officials stamped us in, or rather Vaughan, now it was time to put away the Aussie Passport and get out the UK one.  In front of us were Koreans and to the right were Russians. It was interesting to watch how Finland customs treated the different nationalities.  The Russians had to stick their thumbs on a finger print machine, the Koreans were drilled about their travel arrangements and itinerary and was even asked to provide proof of an onward ticket.  I’m so glad Australian passports are treated with less suspicion!

The Finnish countryside was much more landscaped with fields than the wild countryside you see in Russia, it reminded me of England.

We arrived in Helsinki at 3pm, first thing was to find an ATM then load up on Euros!  We decided on the taxi as the tram might be a bit crowded with our large packs.  The taxi driver was our first introduction to Finnish hospitality and friendliness, he was such a lovely guy who liked a chat.  It was nice to be back in a country where we didn’t have to fight with a language barrier!  Scandinavians are known for their excellent English speaking skills.

Our Airbnb hosts had left clear instructions on how to get into the apartment. First the door code then a climb up 4 flights of stairs and the key is under the mat.  The apartment was lovely, just as described, a lounge, small kitchen and separate bedroom.  This was our home for the next week and I think we are going to enjoy some private space after being in hostels for the last month.

After a shower and rest we ventured out to the supermarket and stocked up on groceries and booze.  Prices here were much more than Russia so we would be eating in quite a bit I think.

Today was not a day for exploring, it was a day of rest and planning so that is what we did apart from cook a nice dinner of Finnish meatballs with mash and absorbed half a bottle of red!

skippyed says:
Thank You Horscheck :-)
Posted on: Aug 29, 2017
Congrats on your featured blog. Well done and well deserved for this interesting read.
Posted on: Aug 28, 2017
skippyed says:
Thank You Paulovic :-)
Posted on: Aug 28, 2017
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photo by: portia