привет! That’s hello in Russian – and honestly, I had to Google it. I don’t speak a word of Russian and with no particular desire to start, I relied on a great big smile and hand gestures to get me through a week in Russia. The hand gestures worked – the smile, not so much.
How Russia landed on my travel map
Admittedly, I never had a pressing desire to visit Russia. For me, Russia was an even colder part of the world (remember, I’m Canadian) that came alive, now and then, via movies like Enemy at the Gates, an amazing film featuring Jude Law as the fictitious hero of the Battle of Stalingrad. Then, as I worked my way through university, taking courses like Eastern European Politics, and History (before and after 1945), I found that my interest in visiting Russia had finally been piqued.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to places with a troublesome pasts (and sometimes presents) but the rise and decline of the great Russian empire is so complex and so full of drama (father murdering sons, wives murdering husbands etc.), romance (Catherine the Great had a long list of lovers after her husband died), mystery (including subversion, spy games and espionage), and social and political turmoil (from the October Revolution through to the Cold War and the rise of the oligarchs) that I couldn’t help but want to see it with my very own eyes.
Thus, St.Petersburg was added to my travel bucket list and earlier this year, I was able to cross it off for good! Continue reading “A 3-day discovery of St.Petersburg, Russia: Pre-departure, Transportation and Hotel”