St. Petersburg: Recap.
After a nine-hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany…a four-hour layover…a three hour flight to St. Petersburg and a half hour bus-ride/tour to the hotel…we had been traveling for 16 hours. There’s a nine-hour difference, so if you’re wondering how the future was, it was awesome.
This is the St. Petersburg airport.
Our first night there, we took a walking tour to learn where food/internet/shopping/phone cards and what not could be had. The fast food chains there were mesmerizing to me. A blini fast-food restaurant is not something you see everyday. We took off back to the hotel and found a “New York Style Pizza” place because we had had enough “experience” for the day. We were ushered into the English-speaking side of the restaurant, which was bizarre. Cigarettes were on the menu, they came out on a plate with a lighter (I wasn’t smoking yet, but can you see how, when smoking is so ingrained in a culture, it was damn difficult to hold out?)
Detail on the Church on Spilled Blood you’ve seen so many times. My biggest wrong-impression was that I thought Russia would look a lot like that, onion-top-towers and everything. Instead, Russia looks like most European downtowns, with the major difference of the Neva River being central to the city.
We had a business visit one day to Baltika Breweries where we were given a “taste test.” In other words, they loaded up two massively long tables with about 4 beers per person. Literally, people got tipsy in the business visit. For most of us though, it was a great experience to try some new beer and what not. Beer is literally less expensive than water in St. Petersburg. For 53 rubles – or almost $2.00, you can buy a bottle of still water, and the average beer costs 39 rubles, or just over a dollar.
We took a cruise on the Neva River one of our last nights there. It was a beautiful night with authentic Russian food, starting with a layered salad with beets and mushy fish. It was good, though! This was from the boat on the Neva:
Me on the Neva:
We headed to a loft bar for our guide’s birthday one of the last nights there, as well. Missing a lot of the story, but we had a great night at the bar and looking for something to get into trouble with.
The very last night there was, by far, my favorite. I didn’t want to go out at all, we had to leave at 6am the next morning for Germany. A friend ended up talking me into going out with him and our guide from St. Petersburg (who was amazing) and we went to a bar for a drink. We met Skratch at the bar, who invited us back to his apartment. We all went, there were five of us in the group. Skratch is a student in college, a DJ and a musician. He played music for us, spun records all night, and we had a great night. This is Skratch offering up the graffiti marker to head out and graffiti St. Petersburg.
This is one of our team’s graffiti; the name of our university on the bridge of the Neva River. Someone else has the photo of mine.
Later, while we walked down the Neva to walk home, we ran into a group of people celebrating a birthday on the river bank. They were playing drums, making music and drinking church wine. It was a delightful evening.
This is my favorite photo from St. Petersburg, a kid fishing from the bridg over the Neva.
So that’s the most basic, broken-down, washed-over recap I could provide, but it’s exhausting to get any more detailed! I have some video from the night we met the people on the river, I’ll post that this week.
Hope you enjoy the photos and the story, I’m still loving catching up on what’s new with you guys.