We took the 'Siberia' train to St. Petersburg, Russia. It was cold (-18 °C) and were going to a even colder location! Well, after a trip of 4 hours we arrived in St. Petersburg. The only thing we saw in the beginning were just garage boxes! Thousands! Apparently people couldn't park there cars by their houses. And we saw industry, very dirty industry. Well, of course I’m used to the clean factory's in The Netherlands, so this was a real eye-opener for me. We arrived at the grand station, where we were picked up by my sister! It was very good to see her again! Se showed us around while we were going to 'our' house. We could stay in a apartment of Russian people my sister know, and they were going for a few days outside the city.
Our appartment (somewhere)
So we paid 100 euro for 4 nights and had an apartment for ourselves. Much cheaper than a hotel (yes I know, I'm Dutch ;-)). The apartment was not very luxury, but we had electricity, water and heating. So we had everything we needed. The next day we travelled through the big city (5 million inhabitants). We visited the old chapel of spoiled blood, took a look in the office of my sister, we saw a very nice cathedral. We travelled with the metro. Well, a lot of things are not very nice of Russia, but the public transportation is excellent. At least the metro and the costs are. For 18 Rouble (€0,50) you can travel all day with the metro, no limits. And the metro of St. Petersburg is an attraction on itself! The stairs to the metro are more then 400metres long, so in the beginning you can't see the end of the stairs the way down.
The metro stations are also used as shelter bunkers.
Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take pictures of it. Just like statues of Lenin or Stalin. And in restaurant you may not take pictures also. In many restaurants or stores there were soldiers with machine gun. Which gave me the question, am I safe, or am I just the opposite!?
You weren't allowed to take pictures of record video's sometimes. In the Matrouska's it was ;-)
Well, and the people on the street were not very nice unfortunately. I wish I could say the opposite, but it was the truth. Everyone was walking in expensive clothes with fur. We were there in our simple Dutch winter clothes, and people looked at us like we were poor and less worthy! I don't know if this is the mentality of the people in the city of of all Russians, but it got me angry! I mean, I probably have more money than those people, but that doesn't mean I'm better or something! The stupid thing was, everyone was clothed the same (fur) so you couldn't see if they were really rich, or poor.
Poor people in fur clothes got out of the bus, metro or car in very poor neighbourhoods, but the same dressed people stepped also out in very nice rich hoods! In short, apparently people were shamed if it was visible that they are poor.
OK, I understand that, but why buy expensive clothes of poor animals!!! Because the clothes they had, wasn't fake (you couldn't get fake fur clothed in stores). If you are poor, you shouldn't expend it on expensive clothed. But maybe that's just my vision of things. In Russia it's very normal (al least in the city). Oh, I could have gone home with a Kalashnikov! Haha, some guy on the street asked me if I would buy the gun from him. Well, I didn't say anything an quickly walked on. The Russians also don't laugh. In the metro people just stare and had all long faces.
The train to russia, Kouvoula, Finland
My dad said to me: "Well, what a death party" (a way to say in Dutch that it's a boring moment), so I laughed lout out. All the people in the metro looked at me like a was a sinner! Well maybe I was, I don't know.
But I have to say, when my parent entered the metro, or bus or matrouska (little city busses), the younger people stood up. Maybe that's normal in many countries, I don't know. In the Netherlands it's not a habit, but it used to be. Very rarely it happens. I think it's very good of the Russians to act this way. We should do that more in the Netherlands! A weak point of the Russians is that they can't handle critics very well. If you say something negative about Russia, or Poetin, they get angry at you. At least that's what I discovered.
The nice Cathedral of St. Petersburg
But I was to short in Russia to get a clear vision of the culture there, but I smelled it for a few days.
After a few days it was time to go back to Finland and say goodbye to my Sister.
It was an experience which I never forget, but I was glad to be back in wonderful Finland! I have experienced a lot more on this trip, but I can't write it all down.
The russian garage boxes (thousends!)