Saturday, 11 October 2014

I went to Russia | emmainlapland

Hey lovely people!

So... The time has finally come for me to update you all on my wonderful trip to Saint Petersberg in Russia!

I have a truly disgusting amount of pictures from this trip and so I'm not going to add them all as we would be here all day but hopefully from my words and the few photos I will add you will get a true taste of how stunning and overwhelming this city really is. 

My trip started on the Thursday evening as we boarded our coach that would come with us the whole journey. I thought I was leaving on Friday but thankfully I realised it was Thursday night that we left, otherwise I was going to miss the whole thing! 

So the bus left around 10pm on Thursday night and after roughly 3 stops we reached Helsinki, Finlands gorgeous capital, at 8am... It was a long journey! 

We had a lot of free time to explore the city and so this of course resulted in several tourist picturs and a trip to the Moomin/ Christmas shop!

At one point we found a farmers market that had loads of fresh and local food as well as souvinirs and what not. 

The exciting part was what hid behind this market... A random, ginormous statue of a man peeing into the river. 

Eventually, we headed to our "ferry" which to me was more like a cruise. It had 9 floors, a casino, a sauna and swimming pool (which you had to pay for - outrageous!) and loads more. 

I was incredibly tired from my journey to Helsinki that I ended up going to sleep super early so there's not much to say about the boat journey there. 

The next day we arrived at long last in Saint Petersberg... It was a glorious and apparently uncharacteristic morning.

At the border I discovered that I don't look at all like my passport photo according to Russia and so I had to hand over my driving license, remove my glasses and move all my hair about just to prove I was not fraudulently trying to get into the country, I was just experimenting with hair dye at the time the picture was taken. 2011 was a strange year... 

Anyway, eventually our tour of St Pete's began! 

Admittadly I can't really remember what all the sites that we saw were... At one point we stopped to take photos of an Egyptian sphinx and some kind of griffin that if you rubbed and made a wish would apparently come true. We also made a stop at a pizza place for lunch. As far as I can remember, the fortress of Saint Peter and Paul was also on the trip but as I said, I don't remember all the stops so instead I'll just show you some pictures.

That evening was relatively chilled and I just stayed in the hotel and ate McDonalds whilst watching crap Russian TV. Some people went out to a nightclub but I personally didn't feel up to it. 

The following day was far more fun filled and touristy. 

The day began with breakfast... An all you can eat buffet. I was let down by the lack of bacon but the delicious pancakes more than made up for it. 

We then headed back on the bus and headed to the hermitage museum. This place was amazing. It was a palace from the outside and just as grand on the inside. It was more of an art gallery than a museum but truly astounding and beautiful nonetheless. 

Later that day I went on a cathedral tour. My favourite was the Cathedral of Spilled Blood which looks like something from Willy Wonka! Inside was something else. The entire enterier was created with mosaics and it was ridiculously overwhelming to look at. 

We also visited St Issacs cathedral, another grand and stunning piece of architecture!

In the evening, my friend and I took a trip out for dinner, in order to find some traditional Russian cuisine... We went for beef stroganoff and it was DELICIOUS! Of course we also couldn't resit the chocolate dessert, a cocktail and trip to the Irish and English pub after. 

Whilst in said Irish pub I saw this sign on the bathroom door... I'm not sure why this was there but clearly this must have been a problem in the past and I found it hilarious! 

I was very pleased when in the English bar there was bagpipes on the wall... Not that you would ever find that in a real pub in England but it pleased me regardless. 

The next day, the Monday, was our last day in Russia and we had a ton of free time to go out and explore the city. 

This time was spent buying a disgusting amount of souvinirs and taking photos of anything that looked remotely touristy. 

We also went on the underground metro which was great and far too amusing for me. I enjoyed standing on an escalator for literally 5 minutes as the trains were so far down! 

Here are more pictures from my final day in Saint Petersberg!

That evening we headed back to Finland on the boat. Even though I was pretty exhausted I still managed to fit in a couple of pints at the bar! 

The hardest part of this journey was the bus home. It felt like forever and as I had had very little sleep the night before all I wanted was my bed but instead I had 13 hours on a bus in which I attempted to sleep. This wasn't easy since it was broad daylight but after a few stops and a Hesburger smoothie later, we arrived back in sunny Lapland! 

All in all I had a fabulous trip and I am so glad I went. In the space of one week I managed to travel from Finland to Norway, Sweden (only for 30 seconds whilst en route to Nothcape) and Russia. 

I am so grateful for the opportunites I have received in the short time I have been here. 

For now though, I am excited to enjoy Lapland and everyone in it! 

My next post will perhaps be next week as it's my birthday on Sunday and my boyfriend is coming to visit. So I should have lots to say as we are going to do all the fun touristy things that Rovaniemi has to offer... (Hopefully Santa will be somewhere on this list :3) 

Anyways, as always, thanks for reading guys!

Emma x

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