Let the busy days start

Saint Petersburg Travel Blog

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Me tired after Sberban reception. On the Neva-river

My boss (those days) was invited to speak at Saint-Petersburg International Economic Forum. It is the main business event in Russia so his presentation there was very important to us. As I was in charge of our big projects in this country, the company decided to send me to St. Pete with John (he is American living in Minneapolis and coming to Moscow when needed, normally for big public speeches). WOW! Travelling, I thoughtJ

The original plan was that John would fly to St. Pete directly from the States and I would take a train and meet him there. But then Sberbank invited him to do a seminar in Moscow just before the event, so I cancelled my train ticket and we booked 2 round-trip plane tickets Moscow - Saint-Petersburg.  

The last week before the forum was hectic: the seminar John was doing was for top-management and it involved some research I had to conduct. The event took the whole day together with meeting the bank people, so when I finally left their building it was already evening. The next day was devoted to finalizing things for the trip, and on the morning June 6th a taxi picked me up. We pick up John from him hotel and headed to Sheremetyevo-I airport (used for domestic flights, this is my least favorite airport in Moscow for sure).

John was mad we were not upgraded to business class on the plane but at least we could enjoy the business class loungeJ As we boarded, I’ve noticed that practically everyone on board was wearing a Forum name badge. “I want this thingy too!!!” said John in a childish manner, but I was there and pulled out our badges from my enormous purse (they were issued and picked up in advance from the Ministry of Economic Development in Moscow). Now, wearing our official Forum badges we could enjoy this 40-minute flight but first we had to look through our papers and notes once again (events, meetings, people etc).

As we landed, I called our driver (each speaker and top participant at the Forum was provided with a personal driver, nice) and told him we had arrived. But it took forever to claim our luggage (we had to check it in since we had lots of stuff with us). The airport was overcrowded with the Forum delegates, and not a single luggage claim was working. Grrrr… We had a meeting set in the city but we were stuck at the airport. I called our client, and she said that the city was almost closed due to security reasons for the Forum, so she warned us to be patented with the traffic and said that it would be hard for us to get through. So we decided to postpone our meeting till they are in Moscow.

Once with our luggage, we headed directly to the city, dropped off John at his hotel and then me at mine. We were going to Sberbank reception on a boat later that day but before that John headed to The Hermitage for a party (also a Forum event), so it gave me time to get ready for the reception. The plan was that the driver would pick me up and drive me to the Hermitage where I would meet John and we would proceed to the boat (the invitation said it would be just in front of it).

We were a little bit too early to pick up John as he was deep into talking to people plus for security reasons parking near The Hermitage was not allowed so I asked the driver to tour me around the city (why not to see some sights, right?). It was hard to get around because some streets very closed, and I decided to take a short walk along the Neva river and see Roman Abramovich’s yacht (the guy who bought ChelseaJ) I can imagine how funny I looked in my black evening dress and in high heals walking among laid-back tourists in jeans and T-shirtsJ

Then it was time to pick up John. We tried to approach the Palace Square but we could not come close to it because that night it was turned into a stage for the show "The Dark Side оf the Moon" by ex-Pink Floyd guy Roger Waters. It was nice of course but I could not find John and he could not explain to me on the phone what part of the Hermitage he was at (no wonder, though). So I decided to go to the pier and wait for him there. And in some 10 minutes the appeared in a company of Herman Gref, CEO of Sberbank. We all got on board and the boat took off. It was white nights, the best and most romantic time to visit St. Pete, but for us it was all about workL Anyways, it was some fun too. When the reception was over, it started raining and we were happy to jump into our car. It was late when I finally got to my room (but not dark at all!), tried to work but fell asleep over my laptopJ Next day was going to be busy.

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Me tired after Sberban reception. …
Me tired after Sberban reception.…
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