St Petersburg Trip

Trip Start Aug 24, 2013
Trip End Feb 09, 2014

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Flag of Russia  , North-West Russia,
Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thursday 3rd of October: 
 We walked over to the bus stop all packed and ready to make the 9 hour bus ride to Helsinki. With two stops and a couple of hours of naps we arrived in Helsinki and boarded the Ferry for St Petersburg. We explored the ship and became accustomed to the four person cabin the size of our bedrooms in Oulu (in other words a cabin for two, that crammed four).We watched the sunset over Helsinki on the stern of the boat and then decided to go to one of the Italian restaurants for dinner. 
Boats are not my favourite mode of transport due to sea sickness, however I took the advice of many people who said "You won't get sea sick on a cruise ship as you can barely feel the boat moving"...WRONG! Luckily I bought some motion sickness tablets because once we were kilometre away from shore we could all feel the boat tilting. It was funny at first because you couldn't quite walk in a straight line but the comedic value of the situation was quickly replaced with the over whelming feeling of wanting to vomit and wishing I was on solid ground. After taking some motion sickness tablets I thought it best to get some sleep and hopefully wake up in the morning feeling better.

Friday 4th of October:
We started our morning with a 7:30am breakfast buffet before making our way to the bow of the boat to watch the sunrise and see our first glimpses of Russia. We disembarked the boat and waited in a line to go customs. Our first morning in St Petersburg began with a city tour of the main attractions and some photo opportunities before heading to our hotel. We explored the large shopping centre Galleria and had lunch. I had my first experience of a St Petersburg's night club and lets just say I prefer the Canberra night life.

Saturday 5th October:
Issi and I began the day with a tour of Catherine's Palace. The palace reminded me of Versailles in Paris. The palace was absolutely stunning and filled  with luxurious decorative interior. The palace was the summer residence for the Russian Tsars. We returned back to the hotel and prepared ourselves for the evening event. Ever since I was a young girl I have always loved dance and when I saw the option of going to see the Russian Ballet production of Swan Lake on the itinerary I was over the moon. Issi and I got all dulled up and made our way to the Hermitage Museum Theatre . The theatre itself was stunning and filled with history. The performance was amazing and can now be ticked off my bucket list.

Sunday 6th October: 
With yet another early start we checked out of the hotel and jumped on the bus. Our first stop was the Hermitage Museum where we had a private tour of the gallery and the history of the art work and the building. We then had a bus tour of three different cathedrals in St Petersburg. The interior of the cathedrals are amazing and nothing like the cathedrals in Australia. We then caught the bus back to the harbour and embarked back onto the ferry ready for another 10 hour trip back to Helsinki. I can report that my sea sickness was not was bad as the first trip YAY :).

Monday 7th October:
We arrived back in Helsinki at 8 and got on the bus to make the 9 hour trip back to Oulu.

The trip to Russia was definitely an experience. With not many people being able to speak English and there being little to no English in stores it made us all realise how lucky we have it in Finland. The history of St Petersburg and the attractions were stunning and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go to Russia.

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Nonna Joan on

My precious Bubbi-Doll Luisa,
Yep stunning as ever!!!
So wonderful all that you are getting to experience.
Ciao with much love always your Nonna Joan xx and love from Nonno Ron x

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