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Saint Petersburg

RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Tuesday, 1 January 2008 | Views [450] | Comments [6]

Whew!!! I made it to Saint Petersburg after an 8 hour train ride crammed in with 3 burly Russian babushkas!! I missed my French mate who at least could speak English! Anyway, ariving at 7.30am didn't seem to please my transfer driver who got lost in the seedy neighbourhood my hotel is in. Maybe seedy isn't the right word, but dirty, dark, scary (anyone seen that movie 'Hostel'?).

It's also about 1km away from the nearest Metro train station, so after getting my bearings right, studying the Metro rail map, you wouldn't believe it but I got lost again in the subways! The St Petersburg system is worse than Moscow, as wherever a station has a junction with another line, they give it two names, and each one is on a different subway level! Mamma mia!

After soughting that out, I was pleasantly in awe of St Petersburg city centre which just oozes pomp and regality. The Winter Palace, the Admiralty, the Bronze Horseman, the General Staff Building, St Isaacs Cathedral, the Church of the Spilled Blood, the bridges, the waterways, the statues, the museums - all glorious testimony to Peter's grand visions for his city. Where Moscow basks in its monuments to power, St Petersburg bathes in artistic finesse and beauty. Pity it was such a cold overcast day, 'cos this place would gleam in the summer :)

Also a pity my money dramas prevented me from enjoying the insides of these places! The long weekend and New Years holiday prevented my cash transfers on time so I'm kind of stuck with $50 for a couple of days. Needless to say, my new years was a quiet, lonely affair between me and a bottle of beer in my 'hostel' room, as I had visions of my Freo family partying it up in the sun! I first had a bite to eat at a cafe down the road run by some Greek-looking Russkis who conjured up images of mafioso (what with their secret hand shakes and peck on the cheek greeting style), so it was a difficult decision to decline their offer to come to a strip club for New Years. :P.  Anyway, back in my room, I had time to think about home and everyone there, and reflect on the year just past - what a year indeed!

By the way, thank you everyone who's written comments on these stories :) I can't respond to each of you individually but I appreciate everyone's kind words. It helps me heaps (*wipes tear from eye*).

I've got another day here before flying into Poland (just when I'm starting to get a grip on the Cyrillic alphabet, hmm) but I'll try to upload some pics if they let me do it at this cafe. Its been a testing time for me and I'm looking forward to moving on, so stay tuned for more annotations from the long road west :)

Dasvidaniya!

Tags: Sightseeing

Comments

1

good to hear u arrived safe mattsovsky..sounds like a pretty extravagant city..load up the camera full of pics lol...take care bro..look forward to ur next post from poland :)

  Chris Jan 1, 2008 9:25 PM

2

Howdy again mate. Sorry to hear about your money dramas. I hope it's all fixed now. Bummer about not being able to spend New Year's eve in a russian strip joint. I recon that would have been an experience! Stay safe and may you enjoy easy transfers and english speaking company :)

Steve.

  steve Watson Jan 2, 2008 1:51 PM

3

Hi Matt
This may be a repeat.
Happy New Year.
Really enjoying the travel notes - almost got the world covered - friend in London; friend in New York; Kate in S.Africa and of course you!! In Basil Brush's view, you are a brave, brave boy!!!!!
Keep safe, look forward to hearing more.
Luv Den

  Denise Jan 2, 2008 3:21 PM

4

Yo mattso,

Great journal mate! As enticing as a Russian strip joint sounds for new years, I bet you're happy you didn't wake up with a hairy Stanska or worse, an itchy cossak.

Happy trails!

  mileage Jan 3, 2008 12:48 PM

5

Hey Mattie - did someone say poland? My friend is currently over there (and also speaks polish fluently). I'm really not great with the geographics of the area but if you find you have any spare time (impossible) and need a drinking buddy who speaks the language let me know.
Be good :)

  Sarah Melville Jan 3, 2008 2:56 PM

6

Hi Matt keep that fantastic travel blog going, Did you get into the Hermitage Museum in St Petersberg, and what about the Nevsky River, was it full of chunks of ice? We only saw it in winter as well. Its a scorcher here today 42 deg, been for a couple of swims down Scarborough. Have a great New Year and enjoy Poland. Love Trudi and Jeff xxx

  trudi Jan 3, 2008 6:03 PM

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