St Petersburg - Day 1

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Russia  , North-West Russia,
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

At breakfast I pumped Olga, the receptionist, for information about paying for the metro, where to get a Russian SIM card from and how to say a few things in Russian.

The first thing I did when I left the hotel for the day was to get some rubles – not as easy as I expected. My debit card was declined at several ATMs so I went into a bank & was told that our chip & PIN cards don't work in most ATMs in Russia! Great I couldn’t withdraw any money & the euros I had brought with me was never going to see me through more than 3 weeks in Russia. I changed some euros & went off to buy a SIM card. Another task that wasn’t simple since I didn’t have a Russian passport so was declined in several shops so I was resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to get one so decided not to waste anymore time & went by metro to Petrogradskaya from where I had a walk around taking in the architecture. Everywhere is so dirty but I guess that is the grit they have to put down for the snow. I ended up by the river and close to the Peter & Paul fortress, which is on a tiny island connected by bridges. It was a horrible, cold & wet day but the fortress was very interesting. Again nothing was open which was disappointing as I would have liked to go inside St Peter & St Paul cathedral.

I was so cold when I left the fortress that I went into a coffee shop briefly to warm up. On the way back I got off at Nevsky metro & into the department store at Gostiny Dvor. I chanced upon a Beeline shop (one of the telephone internet providers) & went in to ask about a sim card. Thankfully there was a customer there who could speak a fair amount of English so stayed there for ages helping me; poor guy though he was probably glad of the practise. Unfortunately when the sim card went in the phone was locked by UK but the customer said I could get a sim card for 850 rubles & a free phone plus all that credit would be on it to use. So I plumped for that but then there was a great palaver because they had to take my passport details & check my immigration card. The customer told me that before it was registered I needed to send a text to a number to select a tariff for calls etc out of Russia but there was a slight problem as it would all be in Russian including the reply saying that I had successfully selected the right tariff, Right-i-o this was going to be fun, I could end up doing absolutely anything!! So I opted to hang around to wait for the registration to be completed & then got the sales assistant to do the necessaries. I’m glad I waited as in the end I had a working phone & was able to successfully use it before long.
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Bruvver Steve on

A UK phone, outside the uk, blocked? No really?



mazb10 on

Yes, really!!

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