The journey begins

Saint Petersburg Travel Blog

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It was a fairly short flight with BA from Heathrow to St Petersburg. Saw some amazing scenery when landing in St Petersburg. The sheer scale of the frozen lakes viewed from 1000m in the air was breathtaking. I had a few doubts prior to landing; mainly due to the huge language barrier which I got a first hand account of when trying to fill in the landing card, and from the horror stories I've heard about recently. Being accustommed to Western Europe and just western society in general, I assumed that the landing card would have English somewhere. But it didn't. I was stuck on a flight with a lot of Russians and from what I gathered not alot of them spoke English. Even the flight attendants were unable (or unwilling) to help me. Eventually a couple of Russians a few seats over tried to help me in the best broken english they could muster. What they couldn't translate, I just guessed and hoped that Russian customs would just let me slide. Or be able to help me fill it in correctly.

My original plan was to catch a bus from the airport to my hostel. But I was still recovering from the shock of not being able to communicate like I would have hoped. Soon all the meagre Russian I learn in the back of my Lonely Planet guide was worthless. So I decided to catch a taxi instead. I paid 800 roubles to get from the airport to the hostel. To this date I still don't know if that was overpriced or not. To my credit I did bring him down from 1500 roubles. Which even to me, who hasn't had the chance to gauge the purchasing power of the rouble yet, sounded insane. So I decided to catch the taxi rather than risk being lost or late for several hours. Although the taxi driver didn't have much of an idea where it was, we got there eventually. To his credit the Nord Hostel doesn't have any signs outside. There is just a huge door embedded on a blank canvas of a wall.

By the time I had checked into my hostel and unpacked it was already 7 O'clock. So I didn't end up doing any sightseeing at all. Just went to dinner and drinks with some people from the hostel. Due to lack of sleep from the night before, I crashed pretty early.

PS - Please excuse the writing in this blog. It'll be quite erratic at times. I'm using my diary which is simply a log of what I did on a particular day in order to help me remember what I did. The rest of the time I'm going on my memory as it comes, and my memory is poor at best. When it gets into really boring mundane things, thats just me trying to iron out and going with what I remember as it comes.
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