Two days in transit! Day 47 & 48
Bring on the travel, we leave the Germanic party central of Munich behind, we’re actually heading back to Zurich so we can fly out tomorrow. The bus beckons, fluorescent green, bumpy and noisy. Our driver in fact doesn’t speak a word of English but we muddle it through, my German accent is terrible and Jess’s is worse. Thank heavens we are in Russia for 6 days!
The hills roll by once again as we trek along the autobahn, the bus this time is in fact much quieter, I guess everyone’s hangover has well and truly settled in. The countryside of Germany is picturesque, the steep roofs of wooden houses pop over trees, the farmland is lush and shaggy cows crane their necks as we whizz by. The border of Switzerland is just ahead. The bus screeches to a halt and several strict looking officers board. Passports. Ok no worries I’ll just get them, the officer glares down the bus, dragging a scruffy looking blonde kid out to check his credentials. Wow, we thought the Swiss were fairly neutral! All documents cleared and finally we’re allowed into the country. Grab the tram and get us to our hotel.
Now if I described our airport hotel as a technicolor blur I wouldn’t be exaggerating much, this place is pretty bright! However a comfy bed and an early flight makes up for any blurred vision.
Ok flight time, we get in ridiculously early, I mean it is before 7 o clock. Check the bags and climb aboard Swiss air bound for St Petersburg, Russia. Visas are checked and a couple of hours later we are in. The former Soviet Union. First things first, it’s frickin cold! The crisp Russian air swells to greet us as we exit the plane, jumpers are grabbed and scarves are slung around necks. Now let’s get to the hotel, taxi! Ah here comes our driver, he’s got a taxi profile around his neck, he’s in a uniform, sort of? He grabs our bags and we walk out to his car. I say car, what I should say is clapped out, dusty Toyota corolla. This is in fact a “gypsy” cab. Started by Russian citizens looking to make a quick buck. How far is it my man? Oh great he speaks about as much English as we do Russian, but we are moving towards the city so I guess that’s a good sign.
Then the meter hits a thousand. Ok this is a scam, great we’re in Russia, we’re in some skinny dudes car that seems held together by lollipop sticks and chewing gum and now he’s ripping us off. Thankfully I have quite a deep Aussie voice. Take us to the metro mate. Staying calm of course. He pulls over, goes to help us with our bags, then the car rolls away. Ah handbrake pal? Once we’ve payed our exuberant fair, luckily it was only around $40 Aus we jump on the insane metro system.
Our bags way 22.4 kilos each, I know this because a deceptively sweet looking Swiss flight attendant made us repack them when we were a few hundred grams over. Dammit!! Now we drag our bags up and down the millions of stairs within the metro, get on a train, get off at the wrong stop, scream at each other, get on another train, shove our way through increasingly hostile looking locals, get on an escalator, drag our bags up another flight of stairs, blame each other for the bags being so heavy… You get the picture.
Finally beautiful St Petersburg opens up before us, a short walk to the hotel proves to be the final hurdle before we wander up inside to a comfy bed and some much needed apologies.
Nobody said travel was always easy. Lucky it’s so much fun.
Josh and Jess