St Petersburg and Moscow

Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
Trip End Feb 18, 2007

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Friday, August 26, 2005

An early morning start and we on our way by train from Helsinki to St Petersburg.
Russian border control is as strict as ever and we eventually make it into St Petersburg 6 hours later. We are greeted by Marc's Russian friend, Dmitry, who he used to house share with in England. Dmitry's help made navigating the metro to our hotel a breeze. Which is just as well as everything is written in cyrillic. Dmitry made an excellent host during our stay here and it really made a difference having somebody from the city show us around.

On the first night we travelled out to the suburbs to see Dmitry's wife and lovely daughter. Dmitry's wife prepared a lovely dinner for us which was washed down with no less than 5 different types of alcohol!

For the whole stay the weather was just great. The city is stunning and the main tourist sites very impressive.
We saw the elegant Summer Palace, the quaint Church on the Spilled Blood and the beautiful Petergof. However, the most fun was had in St Petersburg's amazing bars and clubs. It seems like the latest generation of Russians wants to make up for what the last generation didn't have and if you know where to go you can find packed bars every night of the week and the people certainly know how to party.
The most memorable night for us was when we visited a bar where they have a Xmas party every single night of the year. The bar is decorated out amazingly well with a Xmas theme, most customers dress up in Xmas fancy dress and everynight at 12am the staff give out fireworks and free drinks and the music starts for what is one crazy party. Being the only foreigners in the bar everybody wanted to talk to us and Patricia especially got a shock when a girl half her height picked her up in the air on the dance floor and swang her above her shoulders. Crazy Russians hey!!

On the last night of our St Petersburg visit we met the tour group who we would travel with until Beijing. The group was composed of 9 different nationalities and a whole range of ages so we could see it would be fun. After a champagne leaving party with Dmitry and his wife on the platform at St Petersburg railway station we boarded the overnight train to Moscow.

MOSCOW, Where the smile wasn't invented!
After a wild time in St Petersburg, Moscow was less eventful. Still, we had a nice time looking around Red Square and the Kremilin which are both impressive.
One thing which struck us about Moscow is how serious everybody is. Also, after being in Moscow for just two hours and seeing a dead body carried past us by the police and having somebody from our group pick pocketed on the metro it made us slightly concerned about how safe the place is. However, if you can avoid the pickpockets, the metro in Moscow is a treasure in itself. Every station has been individually designed and some of them are decorated with statues, paintings, unusual lamps etc.

After taking the best pick of the tourist sites in Moscow we did some serious shopping to stock up on supplies before we undertake the longest railway journey in the world:
The TransSiberian Railway. Look out for our next travelpod to read all about it!!
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