Russia was the first "foreign" country I visited - and talk about in at the deep end! Lufthansa managed to lose my girlfriends luggage, and due to that delay I almost missed the last bus into St Petersburg, and I didn't manage to convert any of the US dollars I had into Roubles.
Buses were the first hurdle - I was expecting a bus conductor to take money and issue tickets - Wrong you're supposed to get on at the front and pay the driver - I got on at the back and just sat down. Oh well! Getting off and transferring to the Underground was not without incident - waving a dollar at the lady at the ticket counter didn't really have the desired effect - in the end a friendly group of youths translated my needs, and lack of roubles to the ticket mistress, and she just waved me past the barrier.
Russian Underground's have to bee seen to be believed - they are SO deep (the plan was to use them a bomb shelters for the population if the USA started dropping nuclear bombs) and spacious - there's a digital count up clock which tells you how long ago the last train left - why? well, they say there is a train every two minutes.
I stayed in the St Petersburg Youth Hostel - with segregated dormitory rooms for Boys and Girls, and a midnight curfew. I only made it from the airport with minutes to spare. Luckily it was the time of the "White Nights" so it never really got that dark.
St Petersburg is a wonderful city, and everything you need to see is close to "Nebsky Prospect" the main drag that runs like an arrow through the centre of the city. At the end of Nebsky Prospect is the Hermitage (the Winter Palace) which is now a huge museum, with over three million catalogued works!
I took a day trip on the 'Meteor' Hydrofoil from St. Petersburg to Petrodvorets, where Peter the Great had a palace built over looking the Gulf of Finland. The palace and gardens are impressive, but the enduring memory of the place is the fountains. There are many of them, and all the statues spurting water are covered in gold leaf.
I had booked the overnight sleeper to Moscow, which left the aptly named Moscow Station at 23:00 - due to a slight technical hitch I was a little behind schedule arriving at the station, and horror of horrors the departure board was all in Russian. Just as the panic started to rise, a station announcement came over the noise, in perfect English telling that the eleven O'clock departure for Moscow would be leaving from platform 12. Phew. The train was everything I'd hoped for - bunk beds already folded down, clean sheets, and comfy mattresses, and no one else's snoring to listen to!