Saturday, May 7, 2011

The City that Peter Built

In front of the Bronze Horseman statue of
Peter the Great, the founder of St. Petersburg

It is currently 8am Moscow time and I've already been up for four hours (as the Russians say, "This is not normal situation!"). We took the night train from St Petersburg to Moscow (leaving Moskovskiy Vokzal at 10pm, arriving at Leningradsky Vokzal at 5:30am), which was definitely an adventure. Who doesn't love sleeping six inches away from a smelly stranger snoring in your face?

St Petersburg was, in a word, AMAZING. Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great as a "window to the West," the nation's former capital (and it's gone through quite a few name changes too, from St. Petersburg to Petrograd to Leningrad and now back to its' original) is a stunning example of an "artificial" city that's been carefully constructed to be as European as possible. Peter detested what he saw as backwards Moscow, and its true that St Petersburg and Moscow are vastly different cities. But I'll get into that in a later post...

For now I just want to say that I was BLOWN AWAY by St Petersburg and had a terrific time with my parents and my friend and fellow teacher, Rhea, and her father Mike. Things are still a little hazy right now (blame the lack of sleep!) and we just stopped by my flat to drop off our luggage, grab a quick breakfast, and then head out again so I've got to make this short. On today's agenda is Izmailovsky Park for the souvenir market and then the VVTs - All-Russian Exhibition Centre. It looks like it's going to be a beautiful sunny day here and I have to say, much as I loved St. Petes, it feels good to be back home in crazy, chaotic Moscow!

1 comment:

  1. Love Leningrad! I would take SPB over Moscow any day.