24.12.2022 (Day 1) : The day of departure and arrival
The first difficulties begin with the journey
For personal reasons, for family reasons, I have to go to Russia. I already did it a few months ago and I told you about it in a single article. This time I will try to be “your eyes” on the journey that also crosses the lands of war.
go intoformer Soviet Union in this period it involves many difficulties. Character obstacles grow bureaucratic. Many are due to sanctions that the conflict in Ukraine has generated.
- Visa; in fact, it has never been easy to have it. There have always been difficulties, but in the light of what is happening, and with some EU countries denying entry to Russian citizens with a tourist visa, the passes for us Europeans are released with a dropper. The writer has a visa as he is married to a woman of Russian citizenship and by virtue of the approximately five years of entry into the Federation that make resume as they say in jargon.
- The means of transportit is necessary to arm oneself with infinite patience considering that from the European Union there are no more direct flights to Russia and therefore you have two choices: go to countries from which there are direct flights to the main cities (Turkey, the Emirates and Middle Eastern or Asian countries) or, the only way experienced in Europe, fly for about three hours to Tallinn, Estonia, and then continue by bus to St. Petersburg in about six and a half hours (if everything runs smoothly at the Russian border, otherwise it takes 10/12 hours) … which is my preferred option.
- Credit cards. The icing on the cake though is theban on all credit cards issued by Western banks and pertaining to the main international circuits, the Russian cards (of the same circuits) naturally work; therefore, it is necessary to organize oneself also from this point of view (keeping in mind also that it is not allowed to bring euros in cash from the EU).
However, I decided to spend the holidays here (in St. Petersburg) not only because of my family connection with Russia. For this reason, I will try to write and tell what I see and I will try to do it as faithfully as possible, so that reality is not just a form of perception.
Upon arrival in St. Petersburg. The journey was tiring as always but there is a positive note dictated by the beauty of the landscapes that can only be admired by land; boundless frozen expanses populated by conifers and for tens and tens of kilometers without a living soul, clear skies due to the intense cold and spectacular sunrises with colors that change from yellow to blue passing through red.
Returning to human nature the first thing you notice, already during the journey, is thetotal absence of tourists; whereas St. Petersburg was counted among the most visited cities in the world, realize you are the only one not Russian it’s like an anomaly and it’s also a clear sign of distrust and insecurity, in other words one is afraid to go to Russia during this period.
That’s all from Russia for today, the day 1 is coming to an end (it’s after midnight) and I just have to wish you all a Merry Christmas by making an appointment for tomorrow to start telling you about what happens here and which is not always faithfully reported to us Westerners … but it’s part of the game and we all know it.
Antoninus Pope, 25 December 2022
My trip to Russia. My travel diary. I’ll tell you what happens – Antonino Papa