3 countries in 5 days
Needless to say that I am a very good planner. I wanted to take as much advantage of the easter holiday as possible, and I only needed to take 1 day off work.
So here is a recap of my schedule and what it all costed.
I took a flight from my home town Gothenburg in the afternoon, arriving at Helsinki Airport in Finland an hour and a half later. I went to a cafe for dinner and then went and explored the airport.
It was a contious desicion to spend the night at the airport because of curiousity and wanting to save money – I spent the night in a sleeping pod at Gate 18.
I woke up, got out of my sleeping pod and freshened myself up before my morning flight to St. Petersburg.
When I arrived, I got on bus 39 and got of at the last stop Moskovskaya Metro station, where I went down to the metro and took the blue line 5 stops, switched to the red line another 5 stops until I got off at Chernyshevskaya station. From there it was just a 5 minute walk to my hotel, Radisson Sonya Hotel.
I spent some time recharging, resting and taking a shower before I went into the central part of town to a place called “Freedom Palace”, an anti-cafe where you pay for the time you spend there, and then you can do what you want with that time. There’s hot drinks and cookies, games etc.
I got talking to a guy who worked there over a cup of tea, and he offered to show me around town the next day.
Then there was an english club that I joined(finding people who speaks english in Russia can be hard). We chatted and played games and then one of the girls offered to give me a ride back to my hotel.
Spending the night in a proper bed in my own hotel room was heaven after sleeping at an airport the night before.
I wandered toward the city center and explored the Hermitage before I had breakfast. Then I met up with the guy from the day before and he guided me all around town. I was so lucky to find someone with such knowledge and love for the history of the town. After lunch and a long and nice walking tour, we said goodbye and I met up with a few girls that I had also met the night before. We had dinner and then went to a bar before they drove me to the bus station where I was taking my night bus to Tallinn.
I got of the bus att Tallinn at 6 a.m. in the morning, and that has got to be one of the best desicions I’ve ever met. I had the old town all to myself for more than 2 hours before the tourists had gotten out of their beds and on to the cobblestone streets.
By 9 a.m. I had explored most of the old town(I’m a fast walker), so I had some breakfast at a cafe called Reval. Then I walked over the street to the cutest little french inspired chocolate café that felt like walking into a grandmothers livingroom and had me some hot chocolate and a praline. The name of this café is The Pierre Chocolaterie.
I then went to meet up an estonian guy that I had gotten in contect with through couchsurfing, and then we spend more than 6 hours exploring Tallinn. He took me places far away from the city center that I would’ve never have found myself, or even knew were worth a visit. He took me thorugh a russian market to get to a café called Boheem, where we had lunch. After that food coma, and the lack of sleep on the night bus, I had to get to my hostel for some resting. I met some really cool people in my room and had some good conversations. It’s not often that I meet other people who wants to travel to central asia, like Iran, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
I got up before the sunrise to watch it from the Parkuli Platform, but my taxi arrived before the sun had come up. It was a nice moment though, to stand up there and watch the Old Town asleep.
When I arrived at Helsinki Airport at 9 a.m. I went straight into town and walked around a bit before I took the ferry out to Suomenlinna fortress. I walked around the island among the old and beautiful houses and the fort and had some lunch before I took the ferry back to mainland.
I could have stayed in Helsinki longer, but the weather was grey and rainy with icy cold winds, and I was tired from all the new impressions the previous days, so I got on the bus to the airport and took a nap in one of the pods before I had dinner and then took the evening plane back home to Sweden.
Plane tickets: 188 USD/176 EUR
Night bus: 27 USD/25 EUR
Busses to/from airports: 36 USD/34 EUR
Boat ferry: 5 USD/5 EUR
Hotel: 94 USD/88 EUR
Hostel: 17 USD/16 EUR
Finland: 64 USD/60 EUR
Russia: 52 USD/49 EUR
Estonia: 27 USD/25 EUR
Total: 510 USD / 479 EUR
This amount of money could have been reduced a lot, since the hotel was so expensive and I could have stayed at a hostel for a 10th of that price.
I was actually supposed to couchsurf in St Pete, and had already found a host, but when I went to apply for a visa, they said that I needed a visa support from a hotel or a hostel and that if I were to stay with a private person, they had to send in a request and that would take 30 days. I didn’t have 30 days, and I was a bit stressed out. I tried finding hostels that could give me a visa support and allow me to stay only 1 night. I got too stressed out about it, so I booked a hotel. I thought that I would deserve some luxury after spending the night at the airport the night before. I can’t really say that I regret staying at the hotel, it was sooo nice to get up there for some quiet alone time and relax. I also spent a bit more on money than what was necessary.