Hello my dear readers. I am back in my hometown again and I went straight to work this morning. I was still full of energy because of my trip to Russia last weekend and I was really looking forward to make a blogpost about it.
Today I will tell you all my tips, what I have done and where I have been sleeping and eating. If you want to know more about Russia and my experience please click below. I will also mention a perfume store I really liked and a strange scent I have been smelling ….
Everyone asked me this? Here is my oneliner and that’s enough said.
“Because Russia always got my interest because of it’s history, culture and my love for Eastern Europe.” “So that’s why.”
NO IT IS NOT SCARY, NO NOT EVERYONE LOVES PUTIN, AND NO NOT EVERYTHING IS GREY AND DUSTY.
How I prepared for my trip
It was this lazy Sunday, me and my boyfriend woke up and both checked our phones. I told him I wanted to visit Russia this year and that I wanted to go by myself.
Since I am finishing my Bachelor’s degree at the moment, finding the time to travel was hard and the only week it was possible was last week. So I said I was about to book a ticket, kind of impulsive, and he decided to go with me. (After thinking about it for a while). But I am glad he did.
As soon as we booked our tickets with KLM (I really recommend flying with this company because it’s professional, they have nice food on board, and the flight attendants are friendly) I started to read a lot on the internet about going to Russia, the things you need to do, and I was lucky enough to have a colleague that is married to a Russian Lady so he also told me the basics to make the process of everything going easier and he gave me some tips.
A ticket was not really pricy in my opinion. €250 retour. But of course this depends on the month you are flying.
- Russia has a 2 hour time difference than the Netherlands
- To enter Russia you need a VISA – This took me one month to get everything done and cost a ridiculous amount of money … € 250 …
- You can’t always pay with a normal card, so a Creditcard is recommended!
- Russian Rubels have to be ordered at the currency exchange station, for me this was GWK.
- Some Russian people speak English but just the basics.
- From the airport Pulkovo to St Petersburg is a 30 min taxi drive (When it’s busy it will be 40 min till an hour).
- If you want to visit the Hermitage museum you can order tickets online so you don’t have to wait in line.
- When you take medicines you have to ask your pharmacy for a receipt of all the medicines you take with you at that moment.
- Russia is known for being corrupt, and sometimes you will notice …
- St Petersburg is not really a budget city, but cigarettes, perfume, and food are cheap.
- You can’t drink the water in St Petersburg.
Transfer from airport to hotel
Like I said in the bullet points, Russia is known for being corrupt. I didn’t want to be betrayed by a taxi driver that will aks me the double amound of money so I ordered a taxi online with the service from www.cheaptaxis.nl. On this website you can order a taxi that will pick you up at the time you want to and it’s private. It is also a lot cheaper and it is kinda the same as Uber. I really had a good experience with this service and I would recommend it to anyone. It will also give you a more relaxed travel experience. And you won’t have to think about ordering a taxi anymore during your stay.
We booked our hotel via Booking.com and decided to go for the Corinthia hotel. There was a good price deal and the hotel is located in the main street of St Petersburg. It is a five star hotel and the service was absolutely great.
- Our room was cleaned every day
- The reception, lobby boy, and bar staff are friendly and helpful
- It is very quiet
- The room contains mini products, like body lotion, shampoo / conditioner, a sewing kit, soap, shower cap, nail file, slippers, duster, fresh bottles of water.
- The bed was filled with big pillows and soft blankets.
- The interior of the room was cosy and warm.
- Water get’s hot really easily so you don’t have to spill.
- There is the option to watch movies.
- Enough closet space.
- Nice cocktails.
- A very luxurious lobby bar / lounge with nice music.
- Always security around.
- The window in our room couldn’t be open because of bugs (there was a sign not to open it).
- Breakfast was really expensive compared to the price of the actual stay. That’s why we didn’t include breakfast and ate every morning somewhere else.
- The hotel is very warm.
- There isn’t an option to charge your phone near your bed …
(The lobby, see picture).
Food & drink
- The price of a 3 course meal including a glass of wine is around 35 euros for 2 persons … that’s really cheap! I am talking about a mid-class dinner.
- I don’t think there are a lot of options for vegetarian or vegan people, even gluten free or organic stuff isn’t popular over there. I think it is really something out of the Western world.
- Beluga is a nice kind of Vodka.
- You should really try the Russian soup: Borsjs
- I noticed that a lot of food is packed in dough, called dumplings.
- Russian people like sweet stuff and there are many types of cakes!
- They put sour cream on top of everything.
- Russian mulled wine is really nice.
- When you are in St Petersburg visit the Kat cafe! It is a small restaurant filled with little decorations of … cats!
To visit / TIPS
The Summer park
Graves of the Romanovs / St.Peter and Paul Cathedral
Cafe Eliseyev Emporium
Rive Gauche (NICHE PERFUMES)
Church savior spilled blood
“Blagodat” frigate Petersburg ship
And I am sure there is a lot more, but these where really nice to me.
Perfume / Cosmetic experience
- I have seen three Lush stores in St Petersburg! And I got 2 bath bombs + one free face mask. I don’t have a bath at home so when I get the chance at a hotel or somewhere else I always get over exited and buy stuff at Lush. And yes, Lush is still overpriced, even in Russia.
- Also, there are a large variety of niche scents in this town.
- Also at the airport they sell niche perfumes, like Serge Lutens, Xerjoff, L’Artisian Parfumeur, Diptique, etc.
- Perfume is 40% cheaper than in The Netherlands.
So I hope this post was useful. I summed up all the tips and basics you will need for a trip. If you want to know more, just send me an e-mail or Tweet and I will answer a.s.a.p !
You can check out my review of the perfume I bought in Russia above.