Hello guys! It’s been a while since the last time I posted something on blog. Please accept my apologies, but first months of the year brought a lot of work and tasks for me to do. But I am not here to complaint. If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, you definitely should!) you might have seen that our Valentine’s Day was quite different. It was not about heart shaped chocolates, roses and romantic dinners. Our Valentine’s Day started at 4 A.M. with us driving to Airport. We decided to spend few days in….wait for it… Russia!
It was about a time for me to visit my homeland and it was about a time for my husband to meet the rest of my family and for me to show him a place where I was born. There was only one catch: we’d travel in Winter. I think you will agree with me. Travelling almost 7,5k kilometers to Siberia and not try out the roughness of its Winter is not the same thing and to be honest I also missed the snow very much.
Before travelling to Russia, you must know that…
If you’re an EU country citizen, you must have a visa before your arrival to Russia. There are different kinds of it. You can apply for a tourist visa, contracting a travel agency to take care of your trip. May be this is a simplest, but also a bit expensive way of travelling, but in other hand you do not have to worry about gathering all your papers, queues at the embassy and other necessary stuff.
There’s also a private visa, which requires an invitation from a Russian citizen certified by the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry and then all you have to do is gather all the required papers and head on to a Russian Embassy in your country. Well, Flavio needed a visa and this was the kind of visa he had to apply for. Since there was a place to stay in Russia, there was no need to contact a travel agency. We started planning our trip few months before. Paperwork always was a bit stressful part for me and I wanted to make everything work perfectly, so I started to prepare everything way before. I needed to sign a visit request for Flávio and he needed to fill the form. We had a lot of questions in the middle of this process and I really didn’t want to come to the Embassy and had to start the whole process again, because of the tiniest slip. But thinking about getting a visa is a way scarier than it actually is. On a Christmas day we went to a Russian Embassy (yes, it was opened on Christmas, ‘cause Russians celebrate their Christmas on January, the 7th) and applied for our visa. Everyone at the Embassy was nice and helpful and ten days later, as soon as I got our passports back, I finally booked our flights!
Fly with Aeroflot
Our flight itinerary consisted in flying from Lisbon to Moscow and from Moscow to my homeland, Omsk. It’s been a while since I’ve travelled with only one airline. But fortunately, now, the largest Russian Airline (and formerly the largest airline in the world back in the days) finally started operating in Portugal. I’ve always had a positive feedback from Aeroflot costumers and that’s why I chose to travel with them, but few days before our departure I saw a bunch of negative opinions. It happens that they were opinions of merely frustrated people who in some way are unsatisfied with everything in their lives. Since the beginning of our flight journey ‘till its end, I have nothing to point out.
Our flight was scheduled at 7.45 am. When we got on the plane, every seat had a blanket and a carefully dressed, very polite cabin crew started distributing breakfast menus as soon as we reached the cruise altitude. I confess that I love eating on a plane. And for me getting just a cup of coffee and a bun is a great disappointment. (Unfortunately, a very frequent situation during my last flights). But this time, there was a menu describing that was about to be served and having pancakes with cranberry jam for a breakfast, just made my journey much more exciting.
Our journey took five hours to Moscow, plus three-hour flight to Siberia. We had a six-hour stopover at the Sheremetyevo Airport, which permitted us to calmly celebrate a Valentine’s day the regular way with a beef tongue salad, a bacon cheeseburger and a refreshing Coca-Cola at “Katie O’Connor’s Irish Pub”.
In general, I’d like to consider our journey pretty pleasant. I say in general, because there was a slight delay in our flight to Omsk. The water supply system on the plane got frozen, so the crew tried to defrost ’till they could with no success. So no hot beverages were served during the dinner. But in short, I would like to say I’ve never seen a flight departing strictly on time (or either before its scheduled time, yes! It did happen!) and arriving earlier than expected.
Welcome to the homeland!
It was almost 5 A.M of the following day when we landed at the Omsk Airport (thank you, time zone). The city has welcomed us with all its winter beauty: cold weather and lots of snow! It was so good to be back, feeling and hearing the snow under my feet, that I can’t really describe it.
On my next posts, I will share our complete travel adventure. So, stay tuned!