One of the amazing trips that ESN Joensuu does is to St. Petersburg Russia. On the 5th of April we went by bus to the harbour in Helsinki to take the ferry to St. Petersburg to be able to get a visa-free 72 hour stay in the city. On the boat we could enjoy a show with Russian dancing and a nice club. Since we couldn’t leave the ferry before 14.00 we had plenty of time to both party and sleep. Our time in the city started off with a bus tour to some famous places, like the Cathedral of the Spilled Blood, the Peter and Paul fortress and Nevsky prospect. Afterwards we were dropped at the hotel to check in and most of us went to the Russian evening with a show and dinner. The next day we had a nice breakfast in the hotel after which we went to Pushkin town to visit Catherine’s (summer) palace. We had a guided tour through the palace which was covered in gold and other wealthy items. It was a beautiful palace and interesting to hear some more about the history of Russia with its royals. Also the gardens were nice to visit before leaving back to the city. In the afternoon we had some free time which we spend exploring the city and having lunch. In the evening we went to the ballet to see the Swan Lake. I was definitely impressed with the live orchestra and the amazing dancers that nicely performed the story of the Swan Lake. In the evening there was a group going to a club and some others went to some bars. On Saturday we had another guided tour through an old palace, this time it was the Hermitage which is now a museum filled with art from all over the world. Also the building is however amazing to see. After the museum we had some free time and later in the afternoon we started the Cathedral tour, again we were informed by our guide of what we were looking at and we visited Nikol’skyj Cathedral, St Isaac’s Cathedral and the Cathedral on the Spilled Blood. Since we were kind of tired from the previous day we decided to do some powernapping before having dinner and drinks to later go to the club again. Some people also went on the limousine ride after which they also went to a club. We partied the night away before having to leave St. Petersburg the next morning after breakfast. Unfortunately we had to wait on the boat a long time before actually leaving and our rooms weren’t ready to sleep in yet but luckily it was nice and sunny outside so we could enjoy that for a little longer. We finally arrived in Joensuu the next day after some 30 hours of travelling but we were happy to have experienced the lovely city of St. Petersburg!

By Annelot van Rooij