Thursday, February 11, 2010

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg -
is what will come to every russian's mind when asked about the most beautiful city in Russia.Modernized western city.
I came to this city twice with 2 different groups of people.

Trip 1
The first trip was a little upseting due to  me losing my camera on the 1st day at 9am in the morning and the behaviour of some people.
On the bright side , i met up with Elena.One of the international counselors i met at Camp Molly Lauman in 2007.Although we weren't close during camp , we grew much closer during my time in Russia.And the best times i had were the long nights and dinners when she joined us after work.Elena was born in Kamchatka, but moved to Saint Petersburg due to the instability of the Kamchatka region when she was younger.

Galya left us for the first 2 days because she was invited to a dacha near saint petersburg.By the 3rd day , my tolerance level was completely breached , i took off during the day on my own when the rest of the group went to the Hermitage.I needed a break from the sarcastic comments that I had been hearing the whole trip.From the city center , i walked towards Smolney Cathedral and later to Alexandra Nevsky Gardens.The area wasn't well connected by metro and the thought of taking a bus strangely didn't cross my mind.I did get lost.And there were a few people who were so kind to help me find my bearings again.A babushka who tried giving me directions ( in russian ..not much help).She was genuinely concerned and wanted to get me on the right track but physical conditions did prevent her from doing so.And a few kids , who walked me out of the maze of small streets to the main street.

Selma came by on the last day on her way to Finland to visit a friend.And i escaped to join her and walked around exploring the city.
We were
1.followed by security because she was snapping away at factories with her dslr camera
2.found New Holland under construction yet still printed on the tourist map as an attraction
3.found the prettiest golden church
4. saw a submarine which was actually a museum open to the public
5.Found really good and cheap piroski (savoury pastries)

There is a russian saying that if you left something behind , you are bound to come back to the city again.Well , i did.I left my camera behind to pickpockets.

Trip 2
My second trip to Saint Petersburg was a blast.Zhenya made a sudden decision to join me and Elena in Spb!Zhenya is from Kharkiv, Ukraine and was also an international counselor at Camp Molly Lauman too.I loved hanging out with her back then!She was arriving in SPB a day before me.

Galya and I went with 4 guys from Moscow to Spb.4 guys who got drunk during the train ride to Spb and ended up sleeping alot in Spb.Hilarious it was.

Although i was revisiting a few of the spb tourist sights again ,walking around with the girls were amazing.Checked out Yelagin.A green park.Would have been nice to cycle around here in summer.Walking was a little painful.The guys were either sleeping or on a tour bus going around spb.

During summer ,SPB enjoys the white nights when the sky only gets dark around midnight the bridges along the river in Spb will open up for the ships to pass through.So cars will have to make a detour if they want to be at the other side.

Petergoff, is another tourist attraction which is a highlight.There was a tour group from Singapore nearby.The singaporean accent was ringing from far :)

We ended up drinking quite a bit in the afternoon after lunch on the last day when we found out that beer was cheap at the restaurant that we were in.Elena invited me over to her house for a quick meal again.Unfortunately , the beer and wine didn't go too well in my stomach at all.The food was amazing though.

Saint Petersburg.Either you love it or you hate it.My love hate relationship with the city continues.But perhaps it won't be that memorable , especially after Elena leaves russia for work purposes in March 2010.Visiting Saint Petersburg won't be half as fun as before. Or perhaps it will be :)

As i think about my experiences in Spb , i recall a conversation with Nate , a dutch exchange student .He was right.It is really the people who make a city or life more interesting.But then again , it is also people who can destroy the fun.Culture influences people's behaviour.Or perhaps the other way round.
chicken and egg issue.

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