Ramona – Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Semester 2, 2016
It has been over a month since I have started studying in Lapland UAS in Rovaniemi Finland. I do feel a lot more settled in – and one thing I expected the least is the travel opportunities that I have experienced and will experience considering how far north I am in the globe.
Just a week ago, I sat on a 12 hour bus ride and a 12 hours cruise to St Petersburg, Russia. The best part was that it was completely organised by a student exchange association in Rovaniemi and it was also visa free. It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity that I never thought I would experience, and although the travel time was extremely long, it didn’t stop me from having a great time.
St Petersburg, itself is quite a touristic city within Russia, and to my surprise – pretty much no one knew English, making my experience in Russia even more entertaining. The city was beautiful, filled with canals and islands surrounded by the sea. It had a lot of old extravagant buildings and a lot of crazy drivers, but I think it makes the city more memorable and characteristic. It was also surrounded by cathedrals and churches that dominated the city and made it even more beautiful.
The hermitage museum on the second day was also not what I expected. A palace with over a thousand rooms filled with all kind of art taught me a lot more about Russian history beyond what I was taught in school. It really showed how you can never really experience a country until you go there yourself – although St Petersburg is quite tourist dominated, I am extremely glad that I was able to experience at least one side of Russia.
It was cheap, easy to travel and more importantly, you could actually use a taxi frequently since it was also extremely cheap and the most convenient option.
The hotel, three stars, but fit for a king, especially for a student that has been sharing 1 apartment with 5 other people. It had the view of the century, one of the tallest buildings in the city.
The city was covered in Matrioshka dolls, and the boat ride along the canal allowed me to also see the city at night. The bars were always full, and cocktails were extremely enjoyable. The fashion made me feel like I was living in the 80s and the food was definitely to die for – I’m quite upset that I didn’t get a chance to have Russian pieroshki, but I did get a chance to eat some savoury pancakes, some really good chicken breast and a hotdog to die for.