Arrival in St Petersburg, Vol II

Hello and welcome to my first edition of the St Petersburg entries! It’s been an absolute whirlwind few weeks, so even some of my nearest and dearest have yet to be updated on my activities. I arrived just over three weeks ago with my Dad, and we plonked ourselves in a hotel on Vasilievsky Island, which is on the left, a short walk from Vasileostrovskaya Metro. We spent the week exploring the university area (the southern bank of the island), and occasionally venturing to Nevsky Prospekt on the mainland! (the diagonal orange one)

It was SO cold. But, to be honest, it’s headed above zero a couple of times now, and it makes me wish it were -25 again! The great melt is so disheartening: the paths are all icy, everything is brown and slushy instead of white and crisp, and blocks of roof-snow fall on your head while you’re trying to find your keys >.<

I want to describe everything I’ve found and everyone I’ve met, but it would take far too long. I ought to have written sooner! As it is, I’m going to have to try and remember snippets of things as I go along.

So, to update you with facts:

  • I have been living in hotels/hostels for my entire time here thus far. I have forgotten how to cook, but learnt how to poach eggs in a microwave.
  • Thanks to the amazingly helpful church out here, me and my new flattie Holly (from my Russian course in Edinburgh) will have a lovely two bedroom flat to live in by Thursday, half the price of anything else on the market.
  • I have fallen in love with pancakes: savoury, sweet, GIVE THEM TO ME
  • Caviar takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s actually quite nice. Bit weird when you bite into one.
  • I have class for three hours a day, five days a week, at the Russian Institute of Language and Culture, on the bank of the Нева (Neva).
  • St Petersburg is the most beautiful and grand city I’ve ever been in.

Living here is spectacular. It reminds me so much of Edinburgh, with its old stone buildings (though here it’s painted like something out of Balamory) and its coffee shop culture. There are so many things hidden down side streets to be discovered, and beautiful walks to be had. You can’t even move for the number of pictures that beg to be taken. The whole place is divinely exquisite, and every single day thus far has brought new and exciting things to my doorstep. Just this weekend, I’ve played Cluedo in Russian, I’ve been to a protest March, I’ve played Russian Scrabble (with natives…and WON!) and been to the Maslenitsa (Pancake Week) festival on an island that is entirely a National Park.

I imagine I will get a lot less enthusiastic when my class starts getting harder, but for now, I’m firmly on cloud nine. God has blessed me through and through, any problems I’ve had have been superficial and actually quite an adventure to solve (Russian bureaucracy, for example…more deets another time).

Anyway, I’ve nearly finished my cup of tea in Кофе Хауз, so I’ll be off. You will hear lots and lots more from me in the next few weeks, and I promise it’ll be more specific!

Samantha

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