by Adrian on July 4, 2012

Leaving Russia entailed completing the entry procedure in reverse – starting with visiting the customs office and then immigration.

We had arranged with Vladimir (our Russian contact/agent) that we would arrive before 8am so we could be processed before a scheduled ferry arrival.

Needless to say, we were early (having got up at 5am after another disturbed night of stupidly loud nightclub music) and the customs people were late.

After a tedious wait of an hour and a half in the stark ferry terminal arrivals hall all the staff arrived and we were processed efficiently and promptly, with only a couple of forms requiring refilling in due to mistakes ’cause I couldn’t read the Russian – stupid me!

And we still managed to get out ahead of the very long ferry queue. Free to go! At 1000 we pushed off from the unwelcoming Russian quayside and started the long trek back to Helsinki.

Customs Quay

St Petersburg was a great place to visit and well worth the 2000 mile trip. It is the first country we’ve sailed to where everything is really foreign, so was a fantastic experience.

The people are mixed – the young are noisy, brash, hugely image conscious, and hedonistic above all concerns for anyone else, the old are reserved, dour, suspicious and (generally) unhelpful. That’s a big generalisation, but seems to rationalise those brought up in the the capitalist money and possession oriented modern economy versus those from the difficult communist eras.

Regardless of age, Russians seem to have little consideration for others, as evidenced by motor yachts running engines all night to keep AC/electrical units running (despite being on shore power?), music left blaring out from onboard hifi systems literally all day and night and the annoying habit of standing or pushing in front of you in every queue, exhibit or doorway.

Apart from that, we had a great time and have learnt a lot about the country and culture – mostly that the stereotypes are true. Since St Petersburg is the most western, hedonistic and modern city in Russia – the rest of the country must be very different and very interesting.

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