And the real journey starts now...
Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
161Trip End Ongoing
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The train is Latvian and so is the train assistant. We don't like him, he is nervous and he shouted at Agi!!! In our four bed compartment we are alone, so that's nice. We can have some privacy. Someone is constantly smoking in the toilets, so after 13 hour journey our clothes, hair and bags stink of ashtray. A quick stop at the customs where we are asked if we carry any guns or drugs!?! Of course we said...
On the way we discover a new travel formality in Russia. If you stay longer than 3 days in one city you have to register your presence in your hotel within one day of arrival. Apparently police may ask you your documents on the street and you have to have your passport and this registration proof with you
St.Petersburg is a big city with unusually big/long buildings that often stretch through the whole street. We can see Lenin pictures ever so often on government buildings, sirens speakers still hanging on city walls... It stinks of cigarette smoke and car exhaust. Soon we notice that the cars are really old here, thus the smell is different then in London. There is no smoking ban in the bars and restaurants, so we have to eat our food with people smoking around us (boooo!!!). When we decide to cook food in our hostel we discover that people even smoke in the hostel premises and the smoking area is just opposite the kitchen that has no doors. The hostel people love to party too, so every night it's vodka time and very loud 'колбаса' = Russian club music with a very annoying rhythm. But we are so tired from walking and discovering the city that we fall asleep without any problems. And again our four bed room is not filled up with strangers.
It's a bit of nightmare to get used to the local currency as 1 ruble is only 0.02 pennies/santimes/cents. So, like in Budapest we feel rich and for public toilets we pay with banknotes.
Weather is not our best friend again. Its raining and slowly summer is fading away bringing cold winds and need for socks and gloves.