October 6th, 2008

Wanaka tree

If it's Saturday, it must be Pavlovsky Park


I was settling into my new surroundings by Saturday. Julia collected me from the hotel early and we went to meet up with Kate. For the first time I experienced the Saint Petersburg metro. I was stunned by the scale of it, the long tunnels with escalators going down deep underground, the splendour of the stations with their marble, chandaliers and statues, and the oceans of people.

We went to a railway station on the edge of the city, queued for tickets and boarded a train to take us about fifty kilometres south of the city to Pavlovsky Park. On the train, full to capacity with more people standing than seated, I had my Michael Palin moment when I realised that I was probably the only foreigner making the journey. The humanity around me was living life to the full, arguing, laughing, looking forward to their day out. After about forty minutes we arrived at the little station near the park. After a debate about how to get in we decided on the conventional method of actually buying a ticket.

It was a wonderful place full of woodlands of silver birch in the full flow of autumn and long tailways to walk, relax and enjoy the fresh air.


The long ride down under ground. Julia told me that it was forbidden to take photos, so this was the only one I got. I would love to have photographed the splendour of the stations, but I didn't want to draw attention to myself.

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Wanaka tree

Санкт-Петербург buildings


Julia had told me not to go out on my own because it could be dangerous for me. It was very wise advice and I'm very grateful, but on Sunday morning I felt like escaping for a little while. There weren't too many people around and I thought it should be okay. I decided that I would walk along Nevsky Prospekt, from my hotel, but in the direction that would take me away from the centre and the tourist attractions to the Neva River as it loops around back towards the city. It was trying to rain as I looked both ways from the shelter of the hotel doorway. I couldn't see anyone who looked particularly suspicious, so I ventured out.

Saint Petersburg is going through a major upheaval and a restoration of a lot of its buildings and this work is especially obvious along Nevsky Prospekt, as you will see.



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