I honestly still don't know how I feel about Moscow. We spent four days there, and saw all the things we wanted to see in four days, and I just feel like I don't have a handle on the city. There's a lot going on and every area feels like a different city or even country. The center is really fancy, with every high fashion design house and jewelry company represented on polished streets. But 10 minutes outside the center, and by the train stations, it looks like how we'd imagine Russia at the collapse of the Soviet Union. It's all very incongruous, and not being able to grasp the correct mood of the city made me feel uneasy. Although, it could just be because of the P.O.S. hostel we stayed at!
There's so much more to talk about from St. Petersburg! Russia fun is only just beginning! We had a jam-packed less-than-a-week in the 'bourg, seeing everything on our must list and most of the stuff on our maybe list. We really enjoyed our time and would happily return one day, maybe for a more leisurely visit, maybe to do all the clubbing we missed out on ("well I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it"). I covered all the main highlights in the previous post, but there's still so much cool stuff we saw. I want to share the last of the museuming we did in Peterbourg, a few random things worth commenting on (at least from my perspective), and our day at the Russian version of Versailles.
I knew St. Petersburg would be the easiest place of the summer for me to find vegan food, but I didn't know it would be so good too! I made a HappyCow list a mile long before we left, but I barely scratched the surface of it because most regular restaurants had something I could eat. Being so close to western Europe means the vegan thing is starting to catch on, and there are a few restaurants that have gone all in with menus labelled with vegan options! For the most part though, you have to just figure out with your brain what dishes could be vegan, but there are lots of options. When all else fails, there's Teremok, and there's pickles, and there's hleb (bread, the most important word to learn).
Greetings from Cankt Peterbourg! I wish I could access the Russian keyboard on this little netbook but I can't/don't feel like it. We're having a great time in St. Petersburg, which in English adds the 's' after Peter but in the Russian there's no 's'! Fun! With! Languages! Before this trip, my only exposure to this quite charming city was the song from "Anastasia" that starts: "St. Petersburg is gloomy! St. Petersburg is bleak! My underwear got frozen standing here all week!" But it's better than that. Well that is a very low bar but St. Petersburg is very nice. Though it has been raining hard a lot which is gloomy, and yes it is cold but like, for the summer, not for the earth, and definitely not cold enough to freeze undies. The city is a very interesting mix of old and new school while still seeming totally European. We are surely easing in slowly to the onslaught of Soviet towns we will be seeing later, because right now it still feels like we're in Europe.
I'm writing this from the train to St. Petersburg! Just like Anatole! Except he was probably writing love letters (written really by his sister ewwww) to married or betrothed women, his faaave. Okay that's enough of The Great Comet (just kidding I already listened to the whole album once today and it's like 11am). We just pulled out of Helsinki (so it won't get preggggnannnnt) and there's wifi on this business so here I am! We really didn't have much time at all in Helsinki, Finland, but it was a charming place that had vegan milkshakes so I would happily return once we are in a position to think about future travel.
Yay it’s time for our big news! This summer (and some of the fall!), we are taking the incredible sabbatical trip that we’ve been talking about for so long. For years now, we’ve been planning this adventure (well, Husband has), and this summer – THIS FRIDAY! – we finally get to start it. You might have guessed by now that that epic google maps screenshot at the top of the page is a map of our route. Here it is again: