Monday, 10 September 2012

st. petersburg

Russia, after everything we'd read and knew and imagined, we still experienced the worst culture shock of our lives. We arrived close to midnight, the streets were angry, staff were hostile and we were threatened and almost scammed the minute we stepped off the plane. We survived, dragged our bags through the streets just to hear that there was no room for us at our accommodation despite our booking. We were sent elsewhere with vague directions, a bus driver who refused to talk to us and the most unhelpful signs to walk up the dirtiest, darkest, foul smelling stairs we'd seen in all our lives to drag our bags up the second lot of five flights for the night to a place where nobody spoke English, their idea of lighting was a fluorescent green tube, the showers were in the living room with curtains pulled across and the only internet point was in the male managers bedroom. We sat down on the beds exhausted, holding back tears. All our illusions were falling away and there were hostile strangers everywhere in the corridors talking only in Russian.

The next morning, attempting to gather ourselves after we slept late, we booked some new accommodation and headed over there. With internet we could sort out train tickets, tours etc. and by then it was two pm. We set out on the forty minute walk from one end of the street to the other and when the Winter Palace came into sight we were stunned. Inside the Hermitage was one of the most amazing museums we've been to and over the next five days through the various other colossal palaces, colourful churches, captivating ballets and river cruises, Jess said to me 'How did you know?' I don't know how I knew that we would love it, but I did. It was our favorite place of the trip, the absolute best present for my 21st and worth every second of frightened terror. Before 24 hours was up I had grown to love the people I thought were scary with their leather jackets and individual taste, headphones and rollerblades. Forgive me for generalising but w
e have decided that Russians are the cool kids of the world that don't like letting new people in without a little hostility and a semi-cruel induction test.
The Winter Palace, once home of the Romanovs
 Russian woman exited by the visiting pigeon
 Bek outside the Church of Spilled Blood taking photos
The Russian Ballet performing Swan Lake 
 The Bronze Horseman Statue
Walking through the Summer Gardens at sunset
 Gazebo in the Summer Gardens
 Bek in front of St. Petersburg traffic
The Winter Palace indoor entrance Jess in the Fields of Mars
 Nevsky Prospekt at 2:00am
 Jess trying to listen to Britney Spears playing in the 90s club next door

View from the top of St. Issac's Cathedral
 View from our little apartment
 Bek trying to get a look because Pushkin's house was closed
 Busying crossing outside the train station
 The spectacular fountains outside the Peterhof Palace 

Jess outside the Church of Spilled Blood

 These pictures do no justice to the love we have for this city  <3 

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, Russia is so beautiful.

    I want to go to there.