Landed without issue… though getting through passport control took a while due to lines and that our flight landed just as another from India. Eventually, I made my way successfully through customs and picked up my onward ticket from the desk agent.
I had to go through security again – but was expecting that. There weren’t any signs and I didn’t see anyone else removing their laptops… so I didn’t – and got yelled for not doing so. They made me turn both my laptop and my iPad on before being approved through – but thankfully there were no further hassles!
We didn’t start boarding till after the time we were supposed to depart, but no one else seemed phased by this. Unfortunately, I was unable to select my seat when I bought, nor when I checked in, for the flights – so I got stuck in a middle seat next to a larger guy who hogged the window for the entire time. My aerial view of St Petersburg was instead the back of his head… oh well. It was short flight, landed with no hassles. Since I was again able to take both parts of my bag as carryons, I was able to just leave the airport.
Normally when I travel, I try to do all that I can to not have to visit the Information desks… however, this time the best route to the city wasn’t obvious and asked because it was quicker. (And since it was at the airport, they are used to the question!) The result was that I had to take a bus from the airport to the closest metro station and from there, maneuver my way through two metro lines to my end stop.
After getting off the metro, they advised me to grab on a bus because it was further – however, once I got out of the metro station and looked at the map, it was only about 4-5 blocks. So I decided to walk. What I forgot to factor in was that my bag was getting quite heavy by this point! Thankfully, it was not long before I found the single door entrance and gained access to the hostel.
Since I had no one definitely able to host me via Couchsurfing, but many others wanting to meet up instead, I resorted to staying at a hostel. The one I chose was the Polosaty Hostel – which had a cute, whimsical look to the pictures. Once I saw the main door and then stepped inside, it really does feel like a backpackers hostel!
By the time I got settled, finally grabbed a shower after all the traveling, and changed, it was time to head out to the local Couchsurfing meeting which I had planned to get to. THIS time, I did take the bus there which ended up being no hassle. The meeting was at a restaurant/bar called Восточная Африка – which was appropriate as it had an African theme! While having a Cherry Beer and a Georgian dish I was recommended, (that ended up essentially being a spinach & cheese pizza,) I had fun times chatting with locals and other travelers.
Before long, the place was closing – and I was beat! As I was unsure how late the busses ran, and being it wasn’t so far of a walk – I walked back to the hostel. I knew that it was almost the time in Saint Petersburg when the sun never sets – however it was still a shock to see the sky still bright in twilight at 11:30 pm! I had to snap a few pics on my walk back. Once I got back to the hostel, thankfully it wasn’t long before I passed out!