Maybe inspired by the flurry of emails from a month ago, but also aided by the fact that friends have just moved there, I spent the October holiday break in Russia – namely Moscow and St. Petersburg.
To be honest, I don’t remember a lot from my Moscow visit of 20 years ago – I remember a few snippets like having to write down the metro station stops on little pieces of paper and having to hold them up to maps, since we couldn’t read the cyrillic alphabet, or street side Pepsi machines which had a washable glass you could pay, fill, drink and leave the glass for the next customer and running around in Red Square. But I don’t remember what we ate (aside from Pizza Hut and McDonald’s) – nor do I remember where we stayed or what we saw aside from Lenin, GUM and Red Square. I don’t even remember going into the Kremlin Museum (did we?).
So with a guest bedroom to stay in, I packed my bags and headed off to Russia on Oct 1. And after landing and dinner, we set off immediately for St. Petersburg via the overnight train.
St. Petersburg was gorgeous. Amazing. I, unfortunately, had done about zero research for this trip and mainly just walked around with Justin and Kelly and Dave, so I don’t know the significance of many of the things we saw, but St. Petersburg (in contrast to Moscow, which we’ll get to later) was a beautiful beautiful city. Very European in feel, it felt like any of the streets could’ve been in Paris or Madrid. Also in contrast to Moscow, it seemed more western friendly – maybe due to the number of cruise ships on the Scandinavian seas which docked here, but people were sunnier, friendlier and more ready to help out with English as well.
Photos after the jump
The Winter Palace/Hermitage – one of the great museums of the world. Well, allegedly. Maybe perhaps because I had recently been to the British Museum, I thought the stuff inside was underwhelming, but what a fantastic building. Both inside and out. This is the Winter Palace portion of the musuem.
The city’s fortress -the Peter and Paul Fortress
The Singer Building (yes built to showcase the sewing machines)
More to come on Moscow and travel in Russia in General