Helsinki is neither European nor Scandinavian but kind of like a college town where everyone is either blonde and good looking or dumpy and dark haired. They have Irish pubs where people queue for hours to get in, like Coppers but with a better looking class of people. For some reason the bouncers make you pay to put your jacket in the cloackroom even though it's august and nobody wears jackets. It's a sort of 'clothing charge', apparently.
We had a genuine - 'authentic' - kosher Finnish meal - when I say this I mean of course we ate in an artificially constructed log cabin and were served by waitresses wearing traditional peasant costumes and Dolce and Gabbana glasses. We had reindeer, elk, bear (not so good) and homemade Finnish beer that tastes like dirty sock water but enjoyed the experience.
lovely Russian style churches that seemed very impressive at the time but being in Russia now, they weren't all that hot/ spent the day in an ex-military fort on an island which purports to be an 'open - aire museuim' but is in fact an island. Helsinki is full of odd people most notably she-men who prowl the streets in indecent leotards offering to cut out holes for money - different sections of the leotard are labelled with different euro amounts and quite worryingly they are willing to bare their herringwursts for as little as 30 euro. thankfully all we were subjected to were goosepimpled bum cheeks and man boobies.
there are also a lot of people who fall asleep n pubs.
onto St Petersburg to meet our tour group and after many passport police run-ins including a very stern telling off to Erica when she went exploring on the train we arrived safely.
it is extremely difficult to comprehend if you haven't been to russia but you cannot read ANYTHING. nobody speaks English. If it were not for the Golden Arches we would have gone very hungry on our first day. Thankfully we met our St Petersbyrg tour guide Olga who took us out for a Georgian meal in a (properly) authentic restaurant complete with Eurovision-type karaoke and dancing Georgians (the oul wan wedding type) and met the rest of our group - one more Irish girl, 3 English lads., two NZ girls and an Australian couple. They are all around the same age and lovely so spending the next month with them should be some crauc. Had a great night out in Cafe Fidel which is a dance bar playing such gems as 'chocolate salty balls'. the Ghostbusters theme tune and Haddaway B-sides. Beer was about, hmmm, 1.50 a pint - strong stuff too. taxi home in the local vehicle of choice - Lada with blacked out windows. Yes, it is possible to pimp a Lada.
did a bit of sightseeing, the Hermitage museu,m which is a massive palace (3 million exhibits and I think I saw them all I was that knackered comingout of it)
architecture in St. Pete's is fab but it's not the pristine clean and shiny of Prague/also it is a city built on a load of islands and marshlands so once again I am the most attractive person for miles around - to mosquitos that is. Went to Swan Lake last night and got a box for 4 of us for 12 euro each. Was a great show, if onlyt o try and figure out what exactly the fellas put down their tights. going to a cossack dancing sort fo show tonight with promised unlimited booze and dinner for about 30 euro each which is by far the most extravagant item of expenditure so far.
night train to Moscow tonight which is apparently a very different city so we are looking forward to that.
ину ину умукнщту дщму акщь укшсф фтв офьуы!!!!