Samovar’s escape to St.Pete

Quite clearly, I am failing miserably at keeping up with my New Year’s resolution of writing here regularly. I still have six months to improve. In the meantime, here is a small note from a little holiday I went on a month and a half ago.

Russians are very big on their public holidays. They have plenty of them – and 1 May is definitely one of the most prominent ones. Having found myself with a couple of days off I got in the mood for an excursion – and, very unexpectedly, I went to St.Petersburg. Here is what I saw and heard there:

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When you’re in Russia on 1st May, you’re bound to bump into a communist demonstration – or three.

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“The fight is a common cause!”

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“The Internationale”

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Red, red everywhere.
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Ecological lab turned into Stalin’s hub for the day.
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For the first time have I seen Stalin’s portrays displayed in public.

1st May seems to be the day for all kinds of political demonstrations. Here is a pro-Putin rally I have seen on Nevskyi Prospekt, just around the corner from the communists:

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The whole caption read “Putin – our national leader”
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“I trust Putin!”; “USA, hands off the Kievian Rus’! Fatherland! Freedom! Putin!”
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“Power to the head of state”; see above;  “USA, hands off Ukraine!!! Obama Barack – bloody maniac!”

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I was brave enough to chat a little with the gentleman in a hat. He said they often rally there on weekends and public holidays to protect the fatherland – and such a cause knows no days off. They were distributing pamphlets to convince their audience that some reactionary fractions in the Duma are hindering Putin’s enlightened decisions  and – as one of their posters read – that Putin should receive absolute power to lead the country to full prosperity. According to Levada Center, Putin’s approval rating in May was as high as 80%. One could then wander, why are they still there?

St. Petersburg is famous for its gates. Many of them look a little old and rusty, and thus the inhabitants of the buildings behind them hang little signs saying “Gate in use. No parking”. Here is my little collection of those:

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“Don’t walk on the grass”. My rebelious nature made me have picnic-lunch right behind that sign (but, as you can see, I wasn’t the only one).
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The Bronze Selfie
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Metro platform – with the train hidden behin that wall.
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Souvenir shop and the most important bust
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I will never believe the gossip of St. Petersburg being rainy and gloomy. The view from my wonderful hostess’ balcony.
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Rooftop sunsets
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St.Pete, you’re beautiful (albeit claustrofobic).
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I couldn’t resist. Rooftop sunset me – photo credit goes to Maeve.

 

P.S. The whole trip to St.Petersburg was completely unplanned, absolutely spontaneous. By the time I decided that I want to go, all the train tickets had been long sold out. I ended up going with blabla car, which turned out to be a bus, which turned out to be a marshrutka. I came back by a blabla car, which turned out to be an uncomfortable minivan. This complete lack of scheduling is what I liked most. There is tingling in my fingers, I want more, that must lead somewhere!

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