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Published: February 26th 2017
This blog is about a brief trip to Russia in November’16, for a leisure trip along with my office mates. The trip was part of the annual conference we have for the company. The destination we were going to visit for a weeklong trip were Saint Petersburg and Moscow.
We took a two hour long flight to New Delhi from Pune on the Night of 16th
November from where we had to board an “Aeroflot” (Russian state airlines) flight next morning for Moscow. The night was spent at the New Delhi Airport, which always remains quite crowded, but lacks proportionate sitting arrangements. Any ways, the night was fun chatting with friends and finding out details of Russian history, geography and demographics.
We did immigration formalities at the airport and boarded the flight in the morning. If you are a regular international traveler you will be disappointed with the quality of service and comfort this airline has. Although what makes up to it, are the cheap fares offered by “Aeroflot” though out the year from India to Russia. During the 6 hour long flight you will be served food once with very limited or fixed options and if you like
boozing during the flight you are going to have a big surprise as they don’t serve alcohol.
The flight is six hours long and is flies over Pakistan, Uzbekistan before entering into the Russian territory. Being an Indian it was quite thrilling to read the Pakistani cities on the screen while we were passing over them. India has got a time lead of 2.5 hrs over Russia and though we had spent 6 hours in the flight we actually reached in 3.5hrs due to difference in the time zones.
We landed in Moscow in the morning and did immigration formalities, which was quite strict considering the way it’s done in India. At the time of letting us inside their country they provide us a small paper slip which has the entry and return date mentioned on it. If you want to return from Russia without getting into a major hustle you must possess this slip, till you hand it over to the immigration department at the time of your return.
After all these formalities we boarded a domestic flight (“Aeroflot again) to Saint Petersburg which was going to be our destination for next two days. The flight
duration was of one and half hours and most importantly without much turbulence. We landed at noon at the Saint Petersburg airport and like Moscow it was also covered with thick snow. The moment we came out of the airport we could feel the extreme cold climate of the country where the temperature was in negatives.
We boarded the bus provided to us by the local operator and it drove about 45 min to our hotel “Hampton, by Hilton” which was next to a huge convention center where most of the major meetings and conventions takes place. After check in we rested for few hours and peeked out of window only to find snow everywhere.
In evening we went into the city where we had to have our dinner in an Indian restaurant. While going there we had a brief city tour as well.
About Saint Petersburg:
Saint Petersburg is very beautiful and historic city, it is situated on the banks of Neva River and it’s sitting on the edge of Gulf of Finland (Baltic Sea). The name given to this place was in memory of “Peter the Great” who ruled Russia in 16th
place is also the cultural capital of Russia and was the political capital till 1918 before it was shifted to present day Moscow.
Saint Petersburg was built over a marshy land along side and over many tributaries of Neva River, various channels and cannels pass though the city with beautiful ach bridges over it. It has a very close resemblance to Venice. Most of the buildings are 4-5 story high and were built in 17th
century and they are still preserved and well maintained. Earlier the apartment where shared by many families which is still a practice in this place. I will not get into the history much as you can get to know about it online, but this city mesmerizes you with its beauty and true European attire.
The famous places to be visited by tourists include Hermitage Museum, Winter palace, Palace Square, Saint Isaac’s square, Church of savior, etc just to name a few. But I must say the complete city is a beauty and even walking on roads you will find places of interest and history everywhere.
So we spent two days at Saint Petersburg and next morning we were on our
way to Moscow though a high speed Train Service “Sapsan”. I must say this was an amazing experience. I have always love to travel by train than by air as it gives you an insight about a country geography and people.
The train travels at an average speed of about 200km/hr and we covered a distance of about 700 kms (between Saint Petersburg and Moscow) in approximately 3.5 hours. We reached Moscow in the afternoon and directly headed to an Indian restaurant “Darbar” for our lunch. Quite pleased to get an authentic Indian food in Russia.
Unlike Saint Petersburg, Moscow is a huge metropolis with Sky scrapers and modern buildings. City has got a huge spread of roads, with even bigger number of cars on the road. If you are in Russia how can you miss Russian circus, in the evening we went to the “Moscow state circus” for a 2 hours show. What pleased us was a Bollywood number at the end of the show where the complete theme of the act was Indian.
Next day we visited the most important land mark of Russia , the “Red Square”, the official residence of the president of
Russia “Kremlin “and the most photographed architecture of Russia the “Saint Basis’s Cathedral” (Remember the colorful domes). We had a daylong tour of this gigantic and historical place with a tour guide and every thing in or other way was related to orthodox Christianity which is the basic foundation of Russia.
In these five days I could only see a a little part of the world largest country and could say firmly that Russia is one the world’s most beautiful places where tourists have a lot an ample opportunity to explore more.
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