At customs, we met and became best friends with literally the nicest customs agents in the entire world. They were curious about our trip but not in a customs-agent way, they were just like aw have fun. What a great start. I dare Russia to top that with their agents. Ha. We took various trains and trams into the city center, which took about an hour and change. It's kind of daunting to figure out what the right train is because the language is super confusing, but as usual in European countries, everyone speaks great English. We headed over to the Eurohostel on the little peninsula hanging off to the east of the city, where we dropped our bags in our literal college dorm room. Seriously, I think the producers at this here Truman Show just borrowed the set from the Penn State dorms and used my concrete wall-tile floor-two tiny twin beds- room with the separate men's and women's group bathrooms down the hall for this set as well.
Hey the border control guy just came around to check our passports and our visas! They worked, yayyy! I'm obsessed with how my name is spelled in cyrillic on the visa. Well not Randi because it just looks like pahdi, but Jill is hilariously complicated. Fun with languages!
So after we dropped our stuff in college, we walked around the city, which like I said is super charming. Like Sweden, it's on little lakes and marinas and it was really nice to see water, especially because this trip is going to be super landlocked (look at that map!).
There was one place open late, Iggy's Bar and Food Joint, which was on HappyCow. They have thin crust pizzas and a few, according to HappyCow, are vegan. On the chalk menu at the joint, a few did indeed have green V's next to them so we ordered a few to share. But it came out with cow cheese and the lady was not very sorry about it. She said they are vegan if you ask for it to be, which of course I should have done but when the info I read in advance just said 'they *are* vegan, not they *can* be, I got complacent. Oh well I really didn't have room for pizza in there with all the soy ice cream anyway so it worked out fine, just mad that I let my vigilance slip for a minute. NEVER AGAIN. NEVER SURRENDER.