Border Control – Russia Edition

Five hours sleep, a champagne breakfast, priority exit treatment, and almost being part of an episode of Russia Border Control later, we have arrived…and how!

Our ferry ride was better than I expected except for the glaring, possibly deal breaking inconvenience of no internet access during the entire trip. Our departure from the ferry was painless enough apart from having to walk from the ship to the Russian immigration building under the rain – surprised there isn’t anything built to protect ship passengers so minus points for St Petersburg on this one. My personal nightmare nearly came to pass however as the woman checking my passport was taking her time looking over my brand-new, pristine passport, staring at it then at me several times. When she at the last moment discovered that I hadn’t signed my passport, she gave me a worried, tut-tut look then proceeded to call someone on the phone. My heart skipped a beat and flashes of Australia, Canada, and Dutch border control shows started swirling in my head. I imagined myself being told to wait then be brought to a small enclosed room to be asked more questions while they ruffled through my luggage of dirty clothes, and food that Anthony had bought for a friend in London. The fact I didn’t declare the food would surely mean jailtime in Siberia. After what seemed like forever on the phone, I was given back my passport to be signed – whew!!! – and another few seconds later given all my other documents. It really did seem like I wasn’t going to make it through so with a sigh of relief, I bid her thanks, grabbed my possessions, and met Anthony who had finished long before I did. We were finally, officially, legally on Russian soil and it was with great joy when the exit doors swung open and our ride was there waiting for us. That was enough excitement for one day.

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