DOMINIQUE HERE :
We have arrived safely in Russia but before I delve into the dramas of our journey we would both like to thank everybody who came to the train station to see us on our way...what a send off!! Fantastic :-)
Our journey to St Petersburg via Helsinki was pretty uneventful....even though I am convinced we got far too close to another plane that was travelling in the opposite direction at 35,000 feet, but Kevin tells me I was over-reacting! Anyway, the UK looked remarkably pretty from the air when we left London, the contrast of the lush green fields and the bright yellow rape seed fields which were dotted throughout the countryside was beautiful. When we were landing in Finland the first thing we noticed was that the landscape seemed so unspoilt and was mostly forest and lakes and many, many islands on the coast
. It looked lovely and it seemed a shame that were only in transit in Helsinki. The first thing we noticed about Russia when we came in to land was that it looked very industrial with factories and warehouses everywhere. We were in a pretty good mood when we landed just after 3pm local time...after all it was 25 deg C...roasting!!!...but our good mood soon vanished when we were the last people left standing at the carousel in baggage reclaim and it suddenly dawned on us that our rucksacks we most definitely not in Russia!!! The second thing we noticed about Russia is that the Russians never, ever smile and seem completely disinterested in helping you out. Welcome to Russia!!! "yoor luggage eet ees not 'ere. I do not know vere eet ees. Eet may come tomorrow, eet may come een vone veek...." Marvellous! We spent the next 2 hours at the airport waiting in queues and filling forms out...you see we weren't the only people that day whose luggage hadn't arrived....infact there must have been about 50 people, but eveyone seemed to be from different flights, some from London, some from Amsterdam, some from Brussels and us from Helsinki....the list went on. Anyway, we finally left the airport and made our way via bus and metro and lots of walking to our hostel. The third interesting thing about Russia is that the Russians only speak Russian...no French, or Spanish or English...of course we should have learnt a smattering of Russian, but we didn't, and we cannot read the cyrillic alphabet, so we are definitely in for an interesting few days...it will be a steep learning curve
! So here we are in our little hostel...I have my clothes, but no shoes (other than my walking boots), no toiletries AT ALL, and more importantly none of that essential equipment we are going to need in the Himalayas. Kevin has NO CLOTHES, but has his Crocers, but no toiletries, and none of that cold weather Himalayan gear either.
We will see what tomorrow brings...fingers crossed for our luggage, hopefully we will only need to be smelly for a day!
Catch up soon,