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11. Posted by lonelyhear (Budding Member 48 posts) 9y

Thank you Aharolled,
Actually in a way I am attracted to Hermitage like anything, but all these visa,phoney cops,rouble etc are dampening my spirit.In fact many of my associates are discouraging me of it.But after what you are saying, I am more determined to go. No, I have yet to apply for the visa. I am planning to bring the invitation letter from the HI hostel, and even staying there. What do you say? I will apply for 15 days,with an expectation of getting at least 7 days. Is it ok?
personally felt that the Louvre and National Gallery of London were easy to see in a day in comparison to the Hermitage (not that you can fully enjoy any of them in 1 day if you are an art lover). If you are an art lover then it is such a pity you couldn't allow a little longer in St Petersburg, because Catherines Palace is just amazing and has this one piece of art that goes along the whole roof of this extremely long roof. That piece of art is perfect in every aspect almost like the artwork in the Vatican.
Now you tell me, what should I do? Can you plz give me a sensible travel plan of St.Pits with spl justice to the Hermitage? Now, if I want see it for two days, it means I have to buy tkts for each day. Is it worthy or any other choice?

If you did have extra days you could use for St Petersburg and it is just the visa registration thing you are worried about, it is simple to sort out in St Petersburg if you stay at Nord Hostel. They just stamped my card there when I entered and registered for me no problems at all at no extra charge, in Moscow it was a little more difficult and cost extra. If you've already applied for your visa and only allowed for 3 days, you'll pretty much be restricted to that even if you changed your mind. If you are planning on heading back to Helsinki after St Petersburg, going by what Svetla mentions with bus times, you may need to be careful, because if your visa says you are leaving on 20th May and you depart St Petersburg on the 20th but cross the Russian border after 23:59 in the eveing so hence crossing the border on the 21st of May, you may find yourself not leaving the country the way you planned and being banned from re entering again. So when it says you leave on a date it means you are crossed the border before midnight on that date.
I will remember that.I will not go to Moscow.
Euro will not be accepted anywhere for purchases in Russia (at least no places I went to), you'll have to change your money for Rouble at a currency exchange shop somewhere. For hostels/hotels they may advertise prices in Euro or $US sometimes, but they always expect you to pay up in Roubles. I know down along Nevsky Prospect they had places you could change currency. Undoubtedly in Helsinki you'd be able to change some of your Euro for Russian Roubles.

When you do get to Russia, be careful to watch out in the distance for any cops, because they are reknown for checking passports and lying about their being something wrong with your documents when their really isn't. I managed to escape this when I was there, by crossing to the other side of the road whenever I saw a policeman in the distance, but another person staying at the hostel I was staying at said that they had been caught out by this scam. You are there you are meant to carry your passport with you at all times.
I am always carrying my passport in my neck pouch. So with this measure the cop affair will be minimised. Agreed?
If you haven't already applied for your visa, you should definitely try to grant yourself a few days either side of your arrival and departure dates because if the bus leaves late you're screwed if you leave it to the exact times you are planning on. If you are still yet to apply, as you know a Russian visa is a painful thing to get so don't leave it to the last minute to apply because mine took 4 weeks. You are able to enter after the date your visa says as your arrival date, but not before just the same as you are allowed to cross the border before the visa sets as your departure date, but not after that date. So allowing those days either side allows some flexibility and less worry about if the bus/train is running on time or if it is going to cross the border in time.
So, is it that the date of entry & exit is stamped specifically on the visa?
Have a great trip in Russia.
Thank you,but apprehending-will it be great or messy!

12. Posted by lonelyhear (Budding Member 48 posts) 9y

Thank you Svetla,
What is this shopping bus? People go for shopping?
And this 1,2,3 days meaning? Is it a round trip tkt?
So, if I travell on day one, and come back on fifth day, is it posble?
Is it posble to buy single journey tkt?
Any advance booking? Is it a comfortable night journey?
What about the Helsinki-St.Peter Time table?
I will go from Helsinki & back.

13. Posted by augustina (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y

I don`t know where exactly in Helsinki this bus stops. But in St.Petersburg - near hotel Oktyabrskaya on Vosstaniya Square just opposite the Moscow Railway Station.
By the way, there is a special tourist service in St.Petersburg. Have you heard anything about it?

They are called Angels and help tourists. They work in the streets and their help is absolutely free. They speak English and another foreign language. They know everything about our city. They wear a white cap with "i" - that means information, a white T-shirt and a blue jacket with "CAN I HELP". You can ask them everything. And they give u a free map and so on.

14. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

I will send you a message through the message center with plenty more info.

15. Posted by lonelyhear (Budding Member 48 posts) 9y

Thank you,Augustina.

16. Posted by lonelyhear (Budding Member 48 posts) 9y

Thank you Allan for all trhe good inputs I got from you.

17. Posted by Svetla (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

What is this shopping bus? People go for shopping?

Yes, people go shoping and bus stops near the great supermarkets and shoping mols. Bus can do a stop by its way, but the final stop will be in the city center near the railway station. In Helsinki, the bus station is situated also near the railway station
And this 1,2,3 days meaning? Is it a round trip tkt?
1, 2 or 3 days trips
So, if I travell on day one, and come back on fifth day, is it posble?
it's possible if you are travelling by regular bus, you can also try to do this by shopping bus without booking the tickets by arrangement, but nobody give you a guarantee that your trip will be "ok"
Is it posble to buy single journey tkt?
yes, it's possible as by shopping bus as well as regular bus))
Any advance booking? Is it a comfortable night journey?
Certainly, advance booking is possible and preferable in Russia
as for me night trip is quite comfortable, it depends on you))
What about the Helsinki-St.Peter Time table?
I'll send the timetable of regular buses Helsinki-St.Peter
I will go from Helsinki & back.
;) good trip

18. Posted by lonelyhear (Budding Member 48 posts) 9y

Thank you,Svetla,
Got such valuable info!
Now, consider-I do not know Russian language.How to cope this with Russian shopping bus?
Any solution?

19. Posted by Svetla (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

regular buses from St.Peter to Helsinki, and from Helsinki to St.Peter:

the offices where you can book a tickets on regular bus:
"SAIMAAN LIIKENNE": St.Peter, Chapaeva street, 5, office 304,
tel.:+7 (812) 332-08-33 or +7 (812) 332-08-34
St.- Petersburg — Helsinki—St.- Petersburg
every day
from St.Peter 14-40 and 22-15 St.Peter's bus station #2
from Helsinki 9-00 and 23-00 the bus station (plt #3)
you can obtain more specific information by phone or in office " SAIMAAN LIIKENNE"
"Finnord": St.Peter, Italianskaja street, 37,
tel.: +7 (812) 314-89-51.
I don't know its timetable, but you can get it by phone or in office

main advantage: fast, no line on the border
Stops: only mentioned in timetable
Price: about 30 EU

Shopping bus from St.Peter to Helsinki, and from Helsinki to St.Peter:
I have mentioned that the shopping buses go every day at night at 22-00 or 23-00, the stop in St.Peter-underground station Vosstanija Square, near hotel Oktjabrskaja.
The stop in Helsinki-railway station
you can get it without or with previous booking

main disadvantage: slow, to long standing in line on the border (but by occasion)
Stops: big supermarkets, shopping malls
Price: about 15-17 EU

Good trip:)

[ Edit: Edited on May 10, 2007, at 10:43 PM by Svetla ]

20. Posted by Tory-Vic (Budding Member 87 posts) 9y

Welcome to St.Petersburg.
1. The best thing you could do is to get a guide for Hermitage just for one day. They call it "General Tour". Hermitage has 6 buildings and 3 days is not anough anyway. But you will have a general idea of what it is. The rest of your days you could spend in Petergof as this is something you shouldn't miss and another day you need to see around the city. This is the best way, and I am sure you will love our city.

2. Shopping bus is not the best way to go to St. Petersburg. As they spend too much time in the shops on their back way. They start their "back way" about 11 a.m. Many of those buses start near FINNKINO and they arrive to St. Petersburg after 9 p.m. This is really long and you gonna be shick and tired of it. I took this "back" bus 3 times and last time we arrived to at 1 a.m!!! I think the best way to make this trip is air , in this case you don't loose time at all. There is a train going to St. Petersburg as well, it costs 50 - 60 Euros, but it's much more camfortable than bus and takes less time.
Anyway, if you decide to go by Shopping bus, I don't think there will be any language problem. I think the guide speaks English at list a little bit. But remember that the bus will not take you to the hotel, so you will have to take a taxi to go to the hotel and nobody knows how much it will cost you as you are a foreigner.
When going from St. Petersburg to Helsinki shopping bus is quite a good and cheapest way. You'll arrive to Helsinki at about 7 a.m.

3. There are 2 more things I would like to tell you:
a) you shouldn't keep all the money in the same pocket or bag when you are here.
b) I think you should make and have with you a few copies of your documents (just in case).

Have a nice trip,
Best regards,