Overland to India: The first kilometres of our journey

Today we traveled the first 400 kilometres of our next big adventure, from Järvenpää, Finland to St. Petersburg, Russia. Our first goal is to travel overland to India through Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the westernmost corner of China and Karakoram Highway in Pakistan. We have time until the next spring, so after we have had enough of the Indian subcontinent, we will probably continue towards South-East Asia.

Before leaving

In 2013 we were thinking about traveling to India overland, but that time and on that route, it turned out to be too expencive and too difficult for us. Therefore, after traveling through Russia, Mongolia, China and South-East Asia, we ended up flying from Thailand to India. But somehow the thought of getting from home to India overland sticked to our minds. So in a way we’ve had an idea of this journey already for longer but started seriously to talk about doing it 1-2 years ago – and now we’re giving it another go.

We started to arrange things a few months beforehand but still it surprised us, again, how much hazzle it is to organize a journey like this. Visas, the official invitations and hotel and transport bookings required for the visas. Vaccinations, insurances and hundred other things… The preparations also included us both moving temporarily out from our shared flat in Vienna – Johanna already in April, Seri three weeks ago. We are going to write about the preparations in detail at some point later. Anyway, besides packing our backpacks, we still had many things to solve on the day before leaving Finland. But by 2 am we had managed pretty much everything and could start to sleep with anticipation towards our upcoming adventures. Needless to say, after all this we are pretty much in need of a holiday and it feels great to be on the road!

Our first kilometres on the road

Today in the morning we said goodbyes to Johanna’s family, that gave as a ride to the airport, from where our bus to St. Petersburg was leaving. We chose to travel by bus and not by train as we managed to find a great offer from Lux Express. The 7-hour ride, including unlimited amount of hot drinks on board, costed only 10 euros per person.

We had the memory of our last bordercrossing to Russia in 2013, that it would be somehow difficult. But this was not the case. We just got out of the bus, walked throug the customs and didn’t even have to fill the immigration card by ourselves anymore.

The journey went fast and we arrived in St. Petersburg ahead of schedule. As we approached the city, we were surprised how different from our memories it looked like. We didn’t remember crossing over some crazy 3-storey bridges nor having almost endless view to the glittering Baltic Sea on our right side. The bus left us on some train station from where we took the metro and found our way to our guesthouse effortlessly (this was definetely not the case last time) ! So far so good!

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Hi! We are Johanna and Seri
and this is our blog about sustainable overland travel to offbeat destinations.
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