Sunday, January 30, 2011

August 7 Warsaw to Saint Petersburg

We said goodbye to Jola and Natalie and headed to the airport in the
cab that Jola called for us. We didn’t see as much of Warsaw as there was to
see, nor did we get to Krakow, so Poland is definitely a return destination for
us. The airport was quite modern, although not large. Adjacent to the
terminal was the parking apron for the government’s official aircraft. These
were mostly old Russian planes sporting a nice paint scheme.

The flying machine in the ointment.

LOT Polish Airlines had more modern stuff and we flew to Saint
Petersburg in a Brazilian-made Embraer small jet. Nice flight. While
boarding, we met an Argentine couple who had come up against the same
Belorussian visa problem that we had. We passed through Saint Petersburg
airport’s passport control without any problem and after we got our tourist
entry document to be kept with the passports, we passed through the green
line at Customs and went out to the lobby. We got rubles from an ATM, and
directions from the Tourist Information Desk. We took a marshrutka (small
mini-van cab) to Metro Moskovskaya. Twenty-two RBL (rubles) per seat. Our
baggage took two seats so that cost us eighty-eight RBL in all. Fair enough.

Now we get to deal with the Cyrillic alphabet.  Somehow we got charged double for the Metro tickets, but we found the right direction on the #2 Blue Line. By counting the number of stops, we
made the change to the #3 Green Line at Nevsky Prospekt as required. One
more stop to Vasileostrovskaya and we were there. Needless to say, there
was a McDonald’s right opposite the Metro station. But we found our way
easily to the Shelfort Hotel. The reservation was all in order. We put our
bags in the room and went out to a “Japanese” restaurant. It was good food,
although it seemed very Russified. My chicken teriyaki was quite edible,
even if it did have lots of sesame seed on it.  An illustrated menu made it easier!

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