I landed in St Petersburg after just over 24 hours of flights and airport transits. I met up with my traveler friend in Moscow, flew straight to St Petersburg and checked into out Airbnb abode. The location of our digs is in the heart of the Nevsky Prospect, only a stones throw away from the Metro station and an abundance of fabulous restaurants.
This is my first time in Europe and while I’m from New Zealand and as a result am very westernised, there are so many things that seem different and most certainly different from my expectations of Russia.
The majority of people I’ve seen so far have the most captivating blue eyes. A shade of blue that I can only liken to an icy azure blue. It’s absolutely stunning paired with their fair skin and golden locks. I’ve seen many couples where the woman is taller than the man which doesn’t happen much at home. People speak softly and are very kind. They have a soft temperament and I feel safe at all times, regardless of the time of day.
Supermarkets and large department store chains seem non existent. To be fair, they probably do exist somewhere but probably only out in suburbia. Convenience stores offer fresh produce, various fish and dairy options, as well as alcohol. Very different from a dairy (7/11) back home. I really don’t like the taste of the milk here, so I’ve switched to very strong coffee with milk on the side to start my day as opposed to a trim flat white. Other stores such as shoe shops are specific to shoes. No need for large corporates that sell everything from coat hangers to drill bits, if you want shoes… go to a shoe shop.
English is not very widely spoke here, but we get by with a little help from google translate and natural instinct. I’ve managed to decipher a few words from signs and can get by when having short conversations with shop keepers and ticket booth operators. However, I spent my first 2 days here confusing the word thank you with goodbye and wondered why waiters would look weirdly at me after I’d ordered my meal haha.
The Metro system is very user friendly, cheap and so efficient! Since our arrival we’ve used a combination of transport. Metro, boat, Uber, Gett taxi and bus. Tomorrow we will catch the high speed train to Moscow. All of these options are easy to use and very affordable.
Food here is incredible. We’ve had Siberian, Georgian, Italian and are about to opt for Russian. There are traces of American fast food chains, but its not the norm. People dont’ seem to be so fixated on highly processed packets of things and tend to opt for a more natural approach. It’s normal to go for dinner in the middle of the night and restaurants are often open until around 4am. This is something that just doesn’t exist at home, and I really appreciate this option given that insomnia is a very real aspect of my life.
The streets are lined with beautiful architecture. Even the dingy backstreets are lined with the most incredible facades and formidable structures. My eyes are subjected to a constant state of feast as we twist and turn through the streets of St Petersburg.
This city is beyond words and well beyond my expectations. We’ve covered a lot of ground and ticket off everything on our must see list, and then some. Yet I feel that I haven’t spent enough time here. Why must time be against me when I’m in such a state of bliss, in such a beautiful city.