We got on the train at 9:24am in Bennäs. The trip was fairly uneventful except for the fact that Sam had ants in his pants and couldn’t sit still. He kept pacing through the cars and asking if we could go to the restaurant car. We held him off until 11 when we went for lunch. 38 euros for sandwiches and pop! In Helsinki we had 90 minutes to wait for the train to SPB, during which time we walked around the newsstands and bought some candy and magazines. The next leg of our journey seemed to be the longest train ride ever. It took 6 and a half hours on the Russian train. At one of the stops in Finland, a Russian girls’ figure skating team boarded. They were so cute. A couple of them were doing their English homework, and were reading extra loud . . . I think they had heard the boys speaking English and were trying to impress them. One girl turned to the boys in their seat and said, “boy”. Another little girl about 4 years old, kept stopping at Joel and staring at him. It looked like she was waiting for him to say something.
We arrived in St Pete at 22:52 local time. It was a short drive to the hotel, because there was no traffic. The city sure is pretty in the dark with all the festive lights! We’ve got a good room with lots of space for all of us and our stuff. We were all in bed by shortly after midnight, excited about the day ahead.
The outskirts of St. Pete
Saint Petersburg: Sankt-Peterburg, Russian pronunciation: is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (1914–1924) and Leningrad (1924–1991). Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on 27 May, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its foundation, Saint Petersburg was selected as the main motif in a recent Finnish commemorative coin, the €10 Mannerheim and Saint Petersburg commemorative coin, minted in 2003. The reverse of the coin features a view of Saint Petersburg, with the Peter and Paul Fortress and its three turrets. In the coin the words "St. Petersburg 1703-2003" can be seen.