So I’ve finally officially unofficially graduated. [Ceremonies are in July!] The first stop of the trip is Russia – Saint Petersburg & boy has it been a long day (29 hours in a day)!
*If you would just like to find information on russia, please scroll down!
Similar to my student exchange programme, we opted to take a Finnair flight to Europe and a Singapore Airlines flight back from Milan.
Finnair’s new airbus which brought us to Helsinki was great! Spectacular in fact. It indeed delivered what its marketing team promised. Once inside the cabin, it felt clean and comfortable with its white interior and fully upgraded IFE as compared to my last trip 2 years ago!
After a slight delay we were successfully up in the clouds. We did try bidding for business class but failed. But I didn’t feel that upset, upon seeing the business class seats. Let’s just say they’re too small for my taste (SQ biz class fan here). Anyways, an hour (and a half) into the flight, food was served! We were given a choice between mutton with rice or butter chicken with rice. Being butter-anything fans, we both chose the latter. (Btw in finnair, blueberry / [mix with sparkling water] is the way to go!) 😁
DEFINITELY THE RIGHT CHOICE. It was so delicious that I am hungry just thinking about it now. We cleared out everything on that plate!
After resting (about 2 hours before landing) breakfast was served. Nothing as fantastic as dinner but acceptable nonetheless!
If not for the screaming kid throughout the flight, this was the best flight that I’ve been on! We had a 4 hour transit at Helsinki Airport before heading on a extremely small and cute plane to Saint Petersburg!
For those coming to Russia: (those marked * are applicable to those coming from Singapore!)
- Do book your place before getting a visa as you will need a visa invitation by an authorised party before applying for the visa.
- If you are travelling by train via moscow & St Petersburg via the russian trains, they do provide a visa invitation free of charge.
- Print out all information, most importantly: (a) Your places of stay in russia (b) Your ticket out of Russia.
- *Russian Rubles are hard to acquire in Singapore and also have an extremely bad rate. What we did was change SGD to Euro before coming over to change Euro to Rubles. (Some of my personal favs money exchanges: inside amk hub, arcade)
- As for changing Euro to Rubles. Do not, i repeat DO NOT change your money inside the baggage claim area. Head out to the arrival area and look for the bank in blue. It operates a money changer just beside it. Rates are pretty good. But for amounts less than 300 Euros, there will be a service charge. Rates in the center (eg nevsky prospect) are (slightly) better than the airport. [For comparison, googles rate – 1€:62.05 ; baggage claim changer rate – 1€:48.28rub (for amounts above 500€) ; arrivals area bank rate – 1€:61.28rub; nevsky prospect (highest I’ve seen – 1€:62.02; more commonly 1€:61.90). Personally i was satisfied with the arrival bank rate which I had changed! This amounts to around 1sgd:40.1rub based on my Euros exchange rates as well!]
- Bus from Pulkovo Airport to Moskovskaya Metro Station is 40rub (1sgd) and any trips from Moskovskaya Metro is 45rub (1sgd) per ride! [Cheapest airport – city ride I’ve taken so far!]
- Metro station map below.
- Things you absolutely need: download google offline map on your phone, have location on and open google maps before you leave an area with connected wifi, google translate (and offline russian language package)
- Have fun, get lost and indulge in the culture and awesome architecture!
Some sights that we came across today. Will be going back again to take proper photos as we look too horrible after a long day today to be in any photo!
Hope this post was helpful! Time to turn in! Will write about St Petes again in the next few days if more interesting things happen!