Last day in Russia

Trip Start Oct 22, 2013
1
65
69
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Russian Federation  , North-West Russia,
Thursday, March 6, 2014

I had done so much yesterday that was a little pooped out today and slept in until late. I also had to do a little planning too as the original plan was to go to Tallinn after St. Pete. Now I was just making it up as I went along. So this morning I did a quick search for what there was to do in Vilnius and also planned the rest of my route back to London (original plan had me going through Berlin to Amsterdam and then catching a ferry back to Felixstowe, that's gone totally out of the window!). Fortunately I still had my food pack from the train, so that was breakfast whilst I was doing my planning.

When everything was done, I went out for the 2 things left that I wanted to see, the Peter and Paul fortress and the St. Isaac's cathedral.

The Peter and Paul's fortress was a bit of a let down, I wasn't expecting much but it was pretty crapy, I wouldn't waste your time or money to come to this place if you ever come to St. Pete. The only good thing was that you could see across the Neva (river), which was completely frozen over!

St. Isaac's cathedral on the other hand was majestic. It is now a museum so I had no qualms with taking pictures of this place. Outside, it is a huge red building with giant granite columns. Apparently they had to build special trains to get the granite columns to St. Pete. The inside was truly a work of art. I snapped away on my camera but only took a few with my iPhone. My favourite part was the dome, pictures of the 12 disciples were painted around the inside of the dome each separated by a statue. There were also giant chandeliers hanging from a really really high roof, big iron doors with biblical scenes carved into it and a massive Jesus! This place was majestic and I would definitely recommend it to anyone coming to St. Pete. There is also an option to go the spire and get an arial view St. Pete, but it was so grey and gloomy today that I didn't go.

After the cathedral, I walked around town for a bit, brought some souvenirs and went back to the hotel to grab my stuff for tonight I was getting in a sleeper train to Vilnius.

I made it to my train with about 10 minutes to spare which was a little tight for my liking but no nonetheless I was there. When I got to my carriage the carriage conductor asked to see my passport. I handed it over, she flicked through it and then asked where was my visa? I replied inquisitively 'visa?' 'Yes, visa for Belarus?' Oh fiddlesticks! I had brought the wrong ticket! There was 2 trains from St. Pete to Vilnius, one went through Belarus and the other Latvia, the difference being I don't need a visa to go through Latvia but I do to go through Belarus. In the next 10 minutes a mad rush of events took place which set me on course down a rather dodgy path. The conductor had a bit of a barney with a co-worker to discuss what to do. I don't understand any Russian but I think the gist of the conversation was one of them saying 'we can't let him on he doesn't have a visa' and the other saying 'he doesn't need one, it will be ok just let him on and will get going. The later one won the argument and I was on the train bound for Vilnius via Belarus. Neither of them can speak English, so I had no idea what was going on, they just showed me to my seat and that was that.

I can honestly say I was shit scared at this point because I knew I was going somewhere I shouldn't be and was rather stupidly hoping that they would just let me through and everything will be ok. So I went to sleep and hoped for the best.
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