I’m not even sure what to say about St. Petersburg that wouldn’t fall short of the reality. During the first two weeks I hardly took any pictures, because everything is so nice that I didn’t know what to photograph (my brother said this after spending a few days with me driving around in Ireland and now I understand what he felt like, it was true for me in St. Petersburg).
I didn’t have much time either, because the last 3 weeks were quite intensive, it felt like having a job. Strangely enough…. Who would have imagined that taking an intensive course is intensive?! My plan was to take 2 weeks of Russian classes in the morning and afternoon and to spend another week only for tourism. I liked the course though and figured that I wouldn’t get up at 8 in the morning anyway to see the city, so I took another week of classes in the morning and went for sightseeing after lunch.
In both Yekaterinburg and St. Petersburg I felt at home really quickly, maybe I’ve developed a routine of getting routines in the last 10 years (settling in my room, finding places that I go to to relax, enjoying food, …). And friendships help as well, these friendships are a big part of this impression of leaving home each time I leave a city. Thanks to all the amazing people I have met so far. 🙂 (I wish I was good at writing references on couchsurfing…)
Here are some (or actually a lot of) snapshots of my time in St. Petersburg:
These come after a technical Odyssey that is an anecdote in itself: Before I left St. Petersburg I forgot to charge my computer, then asked the nice lady in the museum in Velikiy Novgorod to charge it and almost forgot it there, if she hadn’t reminded me to take it. On the train to Moscow I tried to connect to the internet with my USB modem, but it didn’t work. I have been trying for a few days to upload pictures on wordpress, but had to give up and use picasa instead. Trying to embed the album into my article, but I only get a grey box. Now my camera tells me that the internal memory is full, even if I have memory card with space in it. (Probably I should buy a better camera anyway). Curious to see what’s next…
And finish, some things I have learned in St. Petersburg:
-Opening hours: Double check the opening hours BEFORE you pay for the ticket, after summer some museums close earlier and you can end up seeing only a small part of the museum. Well, at least I know now that whoever wrote the explanations in Kunstkamera (Museum of Ethnology and Anthropology) couldn’t even write the correct word for Inuits, it’s not Eskimo… But that’s about how far I got in the exhibition.
-Getting places: It takes more than five minutes to get places… It will take 10 minutes only to stand on the stairs in the metro (remember, it’s up to 86m deep). When I see on the map that I only have to cross 2 rivers I can be sure that it was a bit inaccurate to say I’ll be there in 5 minutes
-Tech: before you enter the Hermitage make sure you have space on your phone for apps. It would have saved me 450 Rubles for the audio guide.
-Bridges: most bridges are pulled up in St. Petersburg at night, so if you live on one of the islands you either go home early or the party is good and long. Or you just go out on the same island. Some tourists didn’t realize and asked me if the taxi is really that expensive and if the bridge is really up, and both was true, they have to do a big detour to get home. Or drink more and wait until the morning.
-Meeting points: if you meet up at a metro station you need to be quite precise where exactly you meet up. And always double check the exact name… I ended up at a completely different place with almost the same name! And realized because there was no Lenin statue to meet up at (they are not quite everywhere).
Weird things need to happen to serve as anecdotes I guess.
Now that studying is over and I’m travelling on the Golden Circle around Moscow, soon I’ll post more about that.