First evening in Saint Petersburg - a great one!

Saint Petersburg Travel Blog

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Filling out the papers

I had the possibility to squeeze in a couple of holidays in order to visit to Saint Petersburg and was really looking forward to my first visit to Russia as well. Knowing that I probably should visit the place in the summer I was just going to see what it felt like to be there this time of year. Originally I had planned to travel alone but I asked one of my friends for fun if he wanted to join me and surprisingly he was free to join me. It was not my first time travelling with my friend Bo and I knew that we both liked to visit things without an agenda; so it was about an opened mind and we probably also would have fun as the main agenda.

Looking at the plane from the bus

We had started off in Copenhagen Airport in the early morning; we met up at 8 am even though our flight was not before 9.35 am but that was the way Bo wanted it as it is not that often that he flies. Do me it didn’t matter much and I was just happy not to travel alone for a change, because sometimes I think it is fun to have four eyes.

As soon as we entered the airport It turned out that the plane was delayed until 10.40 am so we had even better time to relax in the airport. The hours went fast as it had been long time since we had been together alone and he is one of my oldest friends, so there was a lot to talk about. We boarded the plan and found our seats and started off with some newspapers and a travel guide. It didn’t take long before we moved our watches to Russian time and we therefore could have a gin & tonic and a beer because noon was passed.

Getting out visa's and passports checked

The flight went very fast; the captain said that the tailwind was more than 200 km/h and we therefore landed in Saint Petersburg only 30 minutes than scheduled. The weather was pretty grey but it was not raining or snowing which we both appreciated. I was looking forward to see how the airport was operated because it was the first time there, and I was thinking about the chaos that I saw in Kiev.

We were picked up by a bus since the plane didn't go to any gate and from there we were driven into the international terminal; here we were let off at the visa and passport control. There was hardly any queue and the handling of our passports was really fast. I had a beautiful but not smiling woman in a dark blue uniform looking at my papers but even though I smiled broadly there was no smile in return.

Inside our hotel
After that we walked in to the luggage claim and here our bags were already on the belt. We left the area and we were outside in the arrival zone of the airport; I was truly amazed of how fast the service had been; I was one of the most speedy processes I had seen in any east European airport.

Outside we were met by the taxi pirates so I decided to go to the official taxi stand where they spoke perfect English and said I could get to the hotel for 1100 RUB or almost 26 euro. I agreed and soon after a young guy picked up over luggage and took us to the car just outside. We jumped in the backseat and laughed about that he was on the phone all the time.

He drove in to the city centre zigzagging, the best he had learned; I was amazed about the tempo and all the over takings he managed to make.

Inside the hotel
All the time he went inside and outside of the over cars. I had no idea at all where we were but he did for sure. The trip of 17 kilometres to the city centre was done in a whiff and suddenly we were at the hotel. We paid him smiled and went inside the pink building hosting the Radisson Sonya Hotel. The hotel looked like just any building that we had passed, it was hard to see from outside that it was a hotel.

Inside it was really nicely made with the reception to the left and a bar to the right. The colours were kept in brown and it was a pleasant entry. At the reception we were greeted by a very friendly young woman. I had booked a standard double room when I did my reservation because I was not sure that Bo would be able to join me; the receptionist asked if we were interested in an upgrade and to the price she proposed we agreed.

The evacuation plan
We got a room on the top floor which was the fifth and after some small problems we found the room being the one furthest away from the elevators.

The room was great; large, in beautiful colours. There was a small office desk, a bar, a corner with our two beds, a small sofa so we were pretty pleased. We opened a bottle of champagne that we had bought in Copenhagen and smiled at each others luck to be away from our offices for a couple of days.

One hour later we were heading for the streets of the city centre and not knowing the city I let Bo take the lead since he had been there before. We walked towards Nevsky Prospect looking for a place where we could find a local beer. Most of the places we entered turned out to be cafés and not too cozy but after turning some corners we ended in a nice funny place.

The hotel elevator at 5th floor

The bar was quite rough; the walls were the raw bricks and small school tables surrounded with four chairs were spread all over the two rooms that was the entire place. We took a table in the room with bar and went up to the bar. The bar was coved with beer taps and we could hardly see the female bartender behind all them. We hardly knew any of the brands so I just took the beer with the longest and most un-pronounceable name on. It turned out to be a great beer and we decided to test a couple of others.

After a while we started to talk to some of the other guys and went out with them when they had their cigarettes. One of their friends Sergei turned up and he had worked in the States so his English was a bit better than the others. He was a huge guy and he reminded me about Jaws from the Bond movies; but he was a friendly guy.

One the way
We said finally bye to our Russian friends and left for the hotel to change before heading out for dinner.

At the hotel we asked about where to eat and were told that there was a great Ukrainian restaurant not far away and we had the reception call and book a table. Not long after we entered the restaurant that was only half full. We took a table in the non-smoking area so we ended up being all alone in one room.

We looked at the menu and went pretty wild; we had not gotten anything to eat since the morning if beer does not qualify as food. Their dishes looked great so we started with a couple of starters for each of us like; caviar, fish, soup and so on. The starters turned out to be quite large so we became almost full before the main courses arrived. I had order a crown of lamb while Bo took a hot pot of meat in a kaymak look-alike sauce. The meal was absolutely wonderful.

davidx says:
I went at this time of year when it was still called Leningrad as one of a visiting party from Manchester (twin town) Education Committee.
Posted on: Nov 24, 2010
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Filling out the papers
Filling out the papers
Looking at the plane from the bus
Looking at the plane from the bus
Getting out visas and passports c…
Getting out visa's and passports …
Inside our hotel
Inside our hotel
Inside the hotel
Inside the hotel
The evacuation plan
The evacuation plan
The hotel elevator at 5th floor
The hotel elevator at 5th floor
One the way
One the way
Can some translate ??
Can some translate ??
The bar
The bar
I just pointe for this one!
I just pointe for this one!
After a long day and a cold beer
After a long day and a cold beer
A Krosovice
A Krosovice
A Münhell
A Münhell
Uplight
Uplight
The dart
The dart
In the bar
In the bar
exit - I guess
exit - I guess
Our friends - Sergei is missing on…
Our friends - Sergei is missing o…
Nice walls
Nice walls
Visiting a bar
Visiting a bar
Entering a restaurant
Entering a restaurant
Inside the restaurant
Inside the restaurant
Inside the restaurant
Inside the restaurant
A tonic water
A tonic water
The salt & Pepper
The salt & Pepper
A local beer
A local beer
Another local beer
Another local beer
Crazy good food
Crazy good food
Coffee
Coffee
The restaurant pig
The restaurant pig
Some shots
Some shots
A bartender having fun with my fri…
A bartender having fun with my fr…
Some shots
Some shots
Do you guys still want more ??
Do you guys still want more ??
You are saying??
You are saying??
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