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Great Peter, Great Petersburg – 1

Posted on: 15/04/2009

It’s hard for me to describe Saint Petersburg, but before making any descriptions, I have to say it’s an amazing place to visit and I recommend it…it’s worth it.

I got there on a Friday morning after a ride of six hours by bus from Tallinn, where I live. The bus station we got to, Baltiyskaya, was in a dirty and not very attractive area. Everything’s dirty after winter, but this was more than dirty. There was a small square in the center of the station, with some stray dogs I hand’t seen since Venezuela and a lot of dust everywhere. There was a metro station right infront of us and we got there. With the help of a colleague who had travelled on the same bus we bought our tokens and knew where to go: the center.

Here came the first great impression: the escalators where the longest and deepest I had never got into. Saint Petersburg Metro is one of the deepest subways, or even the deepest, in the world. I counted with the stopwatch on my mobile the way along the escalators of one of the stations and it was a bit more than three minutes, and it was not the longest. Imagine that!

Our objective was to get to the center and walk along the Nevsky Prospect, the main avenue of the city where there are lots of sightseeing spots. After we walked for about thirty minutes we realized, as the view was changing to something that didn’t seem so magestic as we were expecting (but still amazingly big and full of nice buildings and bridges), that we were walking along the Ligovsky Prospect, the wrong way. So we decided to take some shorcuts to get directly to the Hermitage, you can read more info if you click the link, but let me tell you some facts: it’s one of the biggest museums in the world, it’s said that if you look at each object it contains for a minute it will take eleven years to see them all, it has six buildings and the main one used to be the Winter Palace of Catherine the Great. This was the only building we were planning to visit, as we had just two and a half days that were not worth to be spent inside museums.

Anyway, on the way to the museum this is what I could see on the street: a lot of old cars, really old cars mixed also with lots of limousines, hummers, and other extravagant or fancy cars, a lot of old people, bunches and bunches of military men, military students, sailors, police men, also stray dogs and a lot of women wearing lots of make up and very high heels, dust everywhere, but also tankers cleaning everything, many big buildings which seemed all like an important place that you were supposed to visit, but then we discovered that many areas of the city were that…just that: big nice old buildings. There were also lots of people wearing those funny tall hats -the ushanka- everywhere, so with that and the Cyrillic alphabet everywhere, and a lot of drunk men around, you could feel you were in Russia 🙂

Back to the museum, we didn’t get to see the avenue before getting there at 9:30 a.m. We started to go round at 10:00 and finish almost at 4:00 including a couple of stops and looking at the second half of the stuff as if we were in a hurry. At the beginning, yes, is great to see all these things together: Da Vincis, Picassos, Monets, Rembrands, Rubens, Miguelangelos and a no end of other great and not so great artists! There were mummies, egiptian and roman art, and once again, a no end of other pieces of arts! I was vomiting art from every single part of my being! But yet, it was something that had to be seen 🙂

Till here, issue number one. On the next one, a bit about the Vasilievsky Island, an important area of the city, the couch surfing community of Petersburg, the Dostoevski museum and many more 😉



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