This post is very long overdue since it should have been written right after my trip to St. Petersburg in April. But I always thought about writing it, and finally here it is.
To get into Russia is not to hard if you plan ahead and get your visa in good time before you travel. I did not. Since I travelled for a geography congress, the congress organisers had sent a invitation letter that I should use to get a visa. But it didn’t come in time, so I couldn’t wait any more and had to order a tourist visa. To get a visa you have to go to the embassy, and the nearest Russian embassy is in Oslo (I live in Trondheim). So to avoid a travel to Oslo I paid someone from a visa service office to go to the embassy for me. I paid them well, and I also paid a small fortune to get my passport back with overnight shipping. It came at 8.30 in the morning on the 18th of April, and I left with the night train the same day. Coincidently, my invitation letter also came on the day I left. With all the paperwork done I finished packing my huge suitcase and left for Russia.
If you want to read the rest of my Russian adventure, click on “read more”.
The congress place was half an hour outside of St Petersburg, and since the bus there left at 15 in the afternoon I had to travel one day earlier and spend a night in a hostel. For hostels I can really recommend Hostelworld.com. Just pick one of the top rated hostels and in theory everything should work well (more on that later). The congress place was an old hotel that probably once was modern, now it looked like something we in Norway would demolish. No really, it was actually a very nice place on the inside. The theme of the congress was “EnLIVEning Energy“. The aim of the congress was “to study and discuss the modern state of two related systems: energy and ecology, to make St. Petersburg and North-Western region of the Russian Federation more attractive and closer to the rest of Europe by sharing the knowledge and finally to promote international contacts among students and young researchers of the Baltic Sea region as well as in the whole Europe!” (from the congress program). An important of the congress was the workshop, and I chose a workshop called “green energy – the potential of protected areas“. We discussed protected areas in each of the participants countries, and after that we visited protected areas in the region. We also had an excursion day, and I chose an excursion to St. Petersburg to learn more about the city. And since it was a student congress organised by students we also had fun parties every night.
After the congress – in St. Petersburg
Since I wanted to get the most out of my trip I stayed in St Petersburg for two and a half day after the congress. And again I stayed in a hostel. In the hostel, a friend who travelled with me went to bed early. I stayed up and talked with the other guests at the hostel. Suddenly a man who seemed drunk comes in and shouts that he want to sleep there. We didn’t want him to and managed to push him out. The girls who worked there told us he had stayed there once before and not paid. So one of them had to pay for him. Suddenly this man came back with a bottle in his hand. While holding this bottle over his head as a hammer he actually threatened to kill one of the girls working there. The other guests (one American, a British guy and an Australian) managed to push him out the door, and after the events we had a discussion about what to to in these situations. But apart from that it was a really nice hostel. I visited the State Photography centre, the souvenir market and looked at shops on the Nevsky Prospekt (the biggest shopping street in St Petersburg). I went up to the collonade of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral to get a view of the city. In front of the artillery museum I looked at tanks and canons. I also visited the cruiser Aurora. People told me I had to visit the Hermitage, but since the weather was nice I decided to stay outside and walk instead of spending a whole day inside a museum. I liked St Petersburg and have to go back some time and visit all the museums I didn’t visit during my short stay. To see more pictures click here or on any of the pictures. The gallery contains all my pictures from the trip, including all the party pictures (sorry about that).