On September 20th I set off to visit cultural center of Russia – St. Petersburg! During the trip I experienced a lot of things for the first time!
It was my first visit in Russia and I’d had to get my tourist visa before. I bought visa in a tourist office in Olsztyn. They organised tourist voucher and insurance for me. They also filled up all papers and submitted it in Russian embassy in Gdansk, so they took care of all formalities. I just gave them passport photo and 475PLN, easy peasy.
I traveled to Petersburg with two friends on Honda VFR. First day we got to Latvia, where we wild camped by the lake. That was my frist wild camping as well and it is going to be my main type of accomodation during ride in Central Asia. The night seemed to be the coldest one, but I managed to survive in the tent. The temperature wasn’t that low, but I brought old, worn out sleeping bag so I was frozen to the bones.
We woke up before the sunrise to reach border as soon as possible. It was cold and it was raining so it was the perfect weather for me, because for the first time I rode with my self made panniers in the rain and was able to check its waterproofness
We got to the border at 11am. It was my first Russian borer crossing and I was stressed a bit. I had read on some forums that crossing could be tricky. Actually it wasn’t that bad. We were walking from one window to another, filling up migration cards and customs declarations (I asked for English version and got it!). We didn’t pay any bribe and after an hour we were in Russia!
The roads there were… straight. I mean 40-50km between noticeable turns! The most amazing thing was the fuel price, which was around 2PLN/l! We arrived to St. Petersburg during rush hours and stuck in a huge traffic jam. After some line splitting we got to a hotel and stayed there till Semptember 23rd. During out stay we behaved as usual tourists. Just walking and sightseeing Petersburg
Return trip was pretty fast. We rode through Estonia and covered 860km from Petersburg to Kaunaus and the next day we got home.
During the trip I tested my panniers and they are absolutely waterproof. External bags stop all the water. They stay tight on the racks and no readjustments were needed during ride.
I used my Russian tourist visa and it gives my possibility to apply for multiply entry business visa next time, which I need during my journey to Mongolia. That was main reason, why I visited to Russia this year.