Zdrahst-vooy-tyeh! Hello – We made it into Russia!!!!
This morning we had breakfast at 5am. We left the hotel and made great time to the ferry. We had 10 private cabins reserved so it was a lot easier to store our luggage. It also allowed some kids to rest. We were first off the ferry and made it to the train station and onto the train with 4 minutes to spare with all of our luggage.
We ate lunch on the train – sandwiches, caesar salads, meatballs and mashed potatoes, salmon soup etc. Craig had 2 “sun buns” – his new favorite pastry….. I wonder if he can find it back home.
It was lovely and easy being on the train until the Russian border control. When we first got on I asked the Finnish customs to stamp my carnet. They said that I didn’t need it and so they didn’t stamp me out of Finland. When I got into Russia – I handed the carnet to the customs man – he was very unhappy that the Finnish hadn’t stamped my carnet. It’s amazing how the “left hand” doesn’t talk to the “right hand”. It was a bit of a stressor since they took pictures of all the violins, viola and bows before we could get off the train, but in the end they stamped the carnet.
It was good that we had the carnet – they did a random check on Ulla’s viola and asked about her customs declaration for her viola. I was grateful that we had the carnet and that it covered all of our instruments. You never know…..
We met our guides Olga and Natasha as we finally exited the train and got right to sightseeing by going to the Church of the Holy Saviour (Church on the Spilled Blood.)
It was beautiful and spectacular. I couldn’t believe I was seeing it up close with my own eyes.
We are having internet problems here at the hotel so I’m not sure if this blog is going to make it out tonight so I’m going to stop here right now.
We have a big concert tomorrow night at the Glinka Capella