Moscow Russia Thence St Petersburg
Saint Petersburg Travel Blog› entry 2 of 15 › view all entries
June 26th, 2007 – by: woosang
Arrived at Moscow on time (Actually 10 minutes early). As our luggage was booked through to St Petersburg, we walked to passport control and then past the baggage claim to Customs. We found you only have declare anything over the value of US$10K so we just passed through. They waved us through actually. David was amazing. He read no Russian but had this blood hound ability to find our flights check in counter, where we pretended to be British and queued. I watched the flights tick off as their boarding closed. The queues are very slow and most things are done manually. NO high tech check in here. They had to put stickers on the hand luggage for some reason. We almost ran to the next security check point where they checked our tickets, passport and boarding pass.
Arrived missing 4 kneecaps and stubbled off the plane grateful for surviving the flight and also not to be on another plane for 5 weeks. YAY! We finally met a rep from the company. He took us to the baggage claim where our bags totally failed in their duty to turn up. Go luggage!. We asked lost and found and she tracked the luggage to Moscow. It was going back on the plane for Singapore. ARRGHH! She arranged for Customs in Moscow to hold it in Moscow and we would meet it in 3 days when we returned to Moscow. Goodie! 4 days in the same underwear. I don’t think so! We left the problem with her plotting all sorts of revenge on the airline who lied to us.
Stupidly got into a mini bus. All the people in the in this city are totally insane. They use none of the road rules and have no respect for even the direction of the road. Ie in a one way street, they drive anyway that they choose. We later go into a car that ended up doing 160km/hr in a 60km zone. We asked if there was a speed limit in Russian cities “Oh yes! It is 60km/hr”....”for most people. This seems to be the thinking when on the roads.** A tip for travellers** Stay off the roads! The drivers see a green light and go. If pedestrians are in the way, well that is too bad. A Volvo driver nearly took out some of our fellow travellers and they were on the foot path. He decided the footpath was a good place to drive. Nuts!
The locals are lovely, friendly people. They also want you to have a favourable impression and will fall over backwards to help you, except if you are dawdling. There they push you along. David was upset with the lost luggage and I was so tired that I was nearly in tears and we were nipping at each other. (Ok I was nipping David was trying to remain calm) We found a Supermarket where we could buy cheap Russian t-shirts, undies and socks, but our credit cards didn’t work! Horrors! We slunk off to find either a clothes store OR a bank/money exchange. We were lucky, we found a bank. With Roubles in hand we hit the franklins (OK it wasn’t but it was that level of quality) David, then went to the Metro, as we had missed our first tour. He managed to find a friendly security guard who explained in part sentences and sign language how to ride the metro. We are not allowed to photograph the system, as it is still used for storing food, and emergency bomb shelters, but as I said before, tell and Aussie NOT to do something and we will find a way. David managed to get a few photos. Dunno how but he did. The trains that run in the city are 2 minutes apart and you can travel anywhere for 14roubles (US$0.56) .
We arrived back at the hotel to find the tour operator waiting for us. The lovely man had argued our case and I found out later the whole local office where helping to retrieve our luggage. The combined efforts got our luggage to St Petersburg Airport but that was all they could do. A luggage claim chit was needed to get them from the airport, so at 2100hrs local time made another hair raising ride to the airport (see 160km/h story above)
For the people who care, a breakfast at MacDonalds here is 10roubles (US$0.50) The publis toilets at also 10r in the city and 15 at tourist traps. (Free the pee!)
It is 1am and St Petersburg is in it White Night season. Amazing! It is as light as day at 1am 2am etc. Whilst the sun does set, it doesn’t go low enough to let the night go dark. I am very glad to have seen it. When they say this city doesn’t sleep they are not kidding!
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