here, there, everywhere


In Mystery Trip, Russia on October 5, 2012 at 12:19 am

I’m going to call it – St. Petersburg is the most romantic city I’ve ever been to.  More so than Paris because it’s autumn and that automatically makes it much more intriguing, more than New York because it’s relaxed and lends itself to couples holding hands and strolling down even the busiest streets.  The palaces are gorgeous and the river is magical at night.  Two evenings ago we went to hang out at the cafes on 7th Line on Vasilievsky Island.  Instead of taking the metro back we decided to walk as the evening was warm and clear, and all the buildings lit up on the other side of the river made the city look like a fairy land.  Late night fishermen were casting their lines under a waning moon, the bridges were lit up with sparkling lights in honour of the home team’s football victory, and everywhere people were out enjoying the night.

St. Petersburg is worth the visit and one should definitely stay longer than 5 days, if only to have more time to soak it all in without destroying your feet in the process.  We had to walk though, we did not want to miss a thing and the whole city is so beautiful you could blink and miss something impressive.  Of all the things we’ve done and seen, so far I think the gardens at Tsarske Selo were the most magnificent.  The turning leaves made the grounds even more impressive than they already are, and the human artistry mingled with nature’s beauty combined to make every picture frameable.  I know people go to the Hermitage to see the art and the Jordan Staircase, but for me the most wonderful part was the ceilings.  If you go, don’t forget to look up because they are artwork in themselves.  And of course the fountains at Peterhof are even better in person – pictures do not do justice to the beauty of the sculptures framed by shooting water.

Both Doris and I agree that the people in St. Petersburg are prettier than those in Moscow, although in general the Russian face is stern and serious.  She figures smiles don’t come free here, even at McDonald’s.  Having said that, all over people have been generous helping us out whenever we look lost, and when they do smile they are beautiful.

Our flight leaves tomorrow morning at 6am which means we’ll have to be at the airport in the middle of the night.  In honour of this last blast we’ve decided to go without sleep and have booked ourselves a final fanfare.  Swan Lake at the Hermitage Theatre, late night dinner at a fancy restaurant, all followed by a midnight stroll to watch the bridges rise between the city and the islands at 1am.  Then we’ll catch a cab to the airport for a 6 hour layover in Frankfurt.  Fortunately I have friends there who are picking us up to take us home for hot showers and breakfast.  After that it’s one long flight back to Vancouver, my own bed and bathroom and laundry.  It’s only been three weeks but it feels like one blissful lifetime.  This definitely is the life.

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