In March I got the opportunity to travel to St. Petersburg Russia with a friend of mines class – which was entirely Finnish people. So I got a valuable experience in two different cultures at once! We took a bus to Russia, and we had a really funny driver (or so I’m told unfortunately he told all of his jokes in Finnish!) and stayed at Hotel Moscow. On our first night we walked the streets of St. Petersburg and went out to dinner. Even at night the streets of the city are packed with very posh looking people.
On our second day we toured around the city and saw a lot of famous landmarks. We stopped at the Church of the Savior on the Blood to take pictures and went over the bridge that France gave to St. Petersburg for its 250th birthday. We also got to see the 3500 year old sphinxes that they brought over from Egypt. There are so many historical buildings, monuments and artifacts that we unfortunately didn’t have time to see them all.
On our third day in St. Petersburg we went to the hermitage – which was founded in 1764. The museum was gorgeous; it had art from all over the world as well as ancient antiquities. The museum was so big we got lost in it a few times. We spent our whole afternoon there and only managed to see part of one building of the hermitage; I think it would take multiple days to fully appreciate ALL of the art there. The entire building was beautifully designed with magnificent architecture and gilding. We went shopping after the hermitage and I had the chance to buy some gloves from a street stand, luckily with the help of a Russian speaking Finn.
On our final night in St. Petersburg we went to a Russian club. We originally called a taxi company as we waited outside in the cold, but we were unable to get one so we all took a “gypsy cab” which was simply a private citizen who offered to drive us to the club for an agreed price. Although I was nervous at first our driver was a really nice guy who spoke English very well.
On a final day in Russia we stopped at a little town that belonged to Finland before the Winter War and did some shopping at the local market there. It was quite different from the cosmopolitan St. Petersburg but it was still a very charming little town. All in all it was a great experience, and definitely made me want to return to Russia again soon!
Text and photo: Hannah Rombough