Our first taste of Russia

Trip Start Sep 04, 2006
Trip End Aug 20, 2007

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Flag of Russia  ,
Tuesday, September 5, 2006

We've happily survived the first 4 days, and here are some of the things that have struck us most about our time in St. Petersburg;

- 'Accomodation in keeping with your chosen style of travel' was how the Trans-Siberian brochure described it - we re-aligned our understanding of the word 'modest'.

- Why get one person to do a job when you can have three? - This includes 3 separate queues for an entry ticket to the Hermitage, or being served twice by separate shop assistants when you wish to buy 2 different drinks stored in the same shop fridge.

- A Russian smile is rarer than a new Lada - many of the people do not wish to engage in any communication, although we have encountered a few friendly faces who have helped us along the way. Charming Chas is on a mission to get a smile out of them!

- Vodka is not the only drink in Russia - everybody drinks beer on the streets. With the prices in some of the bars, we now understand why. The Lonely Planet daily budget will take a bit of getting used to.

Overall, St. Petersburg has been a place of contrasts; old bashed-up Ladas / top of the range BMW/Porsche 4x4's, amazing palaces and extremely poor suburbs, brightly painted tourist sights and the paint peeling off all of the other buildings in the city.
We are slowly getting into the back-packer mode of travelling, but at least it has been easy to tell the good restaurants by the cars and security men outside them. The diet will start on the train!
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