St. Petersburg

The train from Helsinki was super boring. Though it was empty and I got to stretch my shit out, you know what’s in between a major city in Finland and a major city in Russia? Nothing. And I got all excited when we crossed the border into Russia. Nyet. Stupid. Now, arriving in St. Petersburg, the first thing you do is, real quick like, turn around and try to get back on the train. That station is bleak son! Oh how time hath forgotten thee. Anyway, I try to buy a ticket to Moscow for the next day because I heard I may have some train scheduling issues. I go to the information office, it has about 10 people in it, and not a soul spoke English. I mean like, what language is he speaking kind of not speaking English. As a spoiled American, I was like, you dumb bastards, may god have mercy on your soul. So I go outside to get a cab. There are about 5 of them. And, yeah, not one of them spoke a word of English. I was going to the Corinthia hotel, spelled, even on their maps (we’ll get to the Russian language in a sec) exactly as I wrote it. So I am trying my best Russian, Core-in-the-aaa-ski. I say this over and over to no avail, my “skiiiis” getting longer each time, then suddenly, one cab driver looks up and says, oh you mean Cornth! I say, I have no fucking idea but let’s go brother! To my amazement, he takes me right there and charges me 350 rubles, which in English terms means jack shit for a cab ride. Hey, maybe they don’t speak a word of English, but they are honest! Wrong. Wrongski. He was, however, in this particular instance, seemingly honest.

St. Petersburg is giant. Maybe not Moscow giant but pretty damn giant for a “European” city. Though, I’m not sure this is European. Honestly, if this city was in say Italy, it would be one of the grandest cities in the world. It has canals everywhere, not Venice small, but not Copenhagen big. Perfect for beautiful bridges and wide enough for large ships to pass through (apparently all the draw bridges go up at 2am daily but I saw none of that shit). When I arrived it was the 70th anniversary of the “victory in the great war”. They take this anniversary very seriously. You know how many people died in Russia in WWII? 20 million. If 20 million Americans died we would just be called Germany. They sacrificed more than anyone else by far, and thus it’s serious business when honoring those that fell, and those that are still around. It was quite touching to see military types (of all varieties as far as I could tell) receiving roses and flowers from citizens. Plus, they have this gigantic square (Dvortsovaya) where they did a massive celebration…including military equipment and gear, which was nice! The St. Petersburg streets are long and packed with people. The sites are found everywhere but the bridge area next to Dvortsovaya has tons of old buildings and a fortress and a huge statue laden park and other things of that nature. It was a cool day.

Going back to the English thing, I tried to use an ATM, and yup, no English. So I tried my best and I think ended up transferring money into your account.

I like St. Petersburg. I think anyone would…especially if it wasn’t so damn…far away…and how do you say…Russian.

Notes to self:

-This city is perfect for a day…maybe 2…but considering other European go to cities…probably zero.
-Main road that I was on was called Nevskiy Prospekt. While I was a little far away from the center I would argue, it runs all the way to the river and passes over all kinds of cool bridges before letting you out at the Alexander Gardens and Column (which has huge celebrations). The view from the main bridge at the end of Nevskiy Prospekt is sweet with tons of monuments along with the massive fortress in the distance. The main train station is on this same road and was right next to my hotel, though the train station coming from Helsinki wasn’t near shit.


Hotels

Corinthia Hotel (May 2015)