So these are the pictures from my last time in St Petersburg….but NOT my last time ever! I fell in love with that city & I’ve just GOT to return on my own someday. I met my friend ANDREW (the pic of the boy standing in the rain with a hoodie on) for the first time ever! We had met online after I left Moscow in 2003 and we’ve been email pen-pals ever since. This trip we met in person & had a fantastic time.
The picture of three boys sporting a bottle of Russian vodka are me, Ryan, and my friend Andrew. This was at Club Central Station in St.Petersburg
. And, as you can see, Russian vodka had put us in a good mood! DAMN! Look at those circles under my eyes! Can you tell I hadn’t slept in 24 hours?!!?!?
The picture of the boys in PASSPORT CONTROL was a lovely hour I got to spend in Russian customs at 6 in the morning on our way home from the club! We are SUPPOSED to follow some weird Russian rule that we have to enter the port area on a shuttle bus. Well, there are NO shuttle buses to our ship at 6am! The other guys were NOT pleased! But I guess I was more used to this red-tape stuff that really makes NO sense at all! I made friends with some Russian military guy named Igor and he had a good time teaching me dirty Russian words! Eventually we got through and I showered, ate breakfast, and went right back out into town again!
I FINALLY went INSIDE St. Isaac’s Cathedral. I have a few photos from inside. It was simply stunning, as most Cathedrals in Russia are. And I visited Peter’s Summer Garden again for a nice walk.
And for the first time on the Marco Polo, I watched the ENTIRE sailaway. It was so sad to me to be sailing away from St. Petersburg for the last time. It was one of those moments when I just kept watching till I couldn’t see it anymore…….
The ship finished the Iceland run. It was nice…very refreshing….calm…..but cloudy, rain, and cold! So I’m not so sad to leave all that behind! And not sad at ALL because I got to go to Russia again! Yes….here we go with more adventures in Russia!!!
The TOTAL highlight was being able to meet a friend of mine that I’ve never ever met before. STORY: after I left Moscow in 2003 I went Russia-Crazy and made online pen-friends & stuff. Andrew and I have been writing for almost 2 years now. And two days ago I met him for the first time and it was fantastic, He’s so nice. Polite. Friendly. Speaks English well…….AND he just happens to work at the club I love going to in St.Petersburg! He started working there about a month ago.
The pictures of the gardens with statues everywhere are of Peter’s Summer Garden. It’s smack-dab in the middle of St.Petersburg, totally free, massive, and an amazing way to spend a quiet afternoon just walking and looking at sculptures. It’s so relaxing there.
And yes….that picture of PASSPORT CONTROL was taken by me at about 6am! We didn’t come back to the ship on a ship-authorized shuttle after the club…we were in a taxi. And the passport dudes were not happy about that & weren’t going to let us back to the ship. But, as before, I made the best of a crazy situation, made friends with a passport soldier named Igor (surprise!) and a Ukranian musician named Alex from another ship who they weren’t letting through either!
And the rest of the pictures are just pics from the night on the town with Peter (blond), Andrey (dark skin), and Ryan (little guy!). We had a RIOT! Russian vodka definately played a part in our fun!
Okay, so this day was just amazing. Relaxing. Peaceful. It was one of those days that makes me want to live in Russia SO badly! And all this after only 2 1/2 hours sleep from clubbing the night before!
I spent the day walking all over St.Petersburg. I started out to Vasilevsky Island where Peter & Paul’s fortress is. There was an international Beach Volleyball competition on and the locals were out sunning themselves and taking walks in the park. SO nice….not to mention the Dolf Lundgren look alike I saw there in a black speedo.
Then I headed toward the centre of town up Nevsky Prospect. Took a few more nice phots of the Cathedral on Spilled Blood. And bought yet ANOTHER Soviet souvenir…this time a tuque! I’m already looking forward to winter so I can wear it! But I did the Russian thing & got a pre-made ice-cream cone for 10 rubles and slapped on my tuque just for the hell of it! I think it was like +28 degrees that day!
The rest of my day was full of sight-seeing around the city. I went to Peter’s Summer Garden which I think is about the size of Edmonton where I grew up in Canada! It was enormous and full of gorgeous sculptures. Saw more sailors and army boys at every turn. Met a little guy while I took a break on a park bench. He was eating a popsicle & I snapped a pic of him and it’s one of my favourite pics now!
I TOTALLY wanted to have a PETA moment to free that little bear on a leash. He’d just sit there all day & his owner would accept rubles for a picture or to touch it or whatever.
So there it is! Another amazing time in Russia. I have to say: I always thought that IF I go back to Russia for a long amount of time it would be Moscow that I’d travel to. But I’m pretty sure it’s St.Petersburg now. It’s an amazing city full of amazing people and culture.
So after a long wait I got to go back to St. Petersburg, RUSSIA. And what news do I get the night before? I might not be able to get off because of some new lame rule about my Seaman’s VISA to gain entry to the country. BUT from my brief time in Moscow I learned how to fight Russian fire with fire! So basically, I smuggled myself into the country & had an amazing time!
I bought so much Soviet paraphenalia (does ANYone know how to spell that right?!?) from this totally nice man that runs a Soviet “gift” shop. I think I probably paid for about 3 months rent on his store! It was ALL worth it ’cause I ADORE it. He gave me all the history of each thing I bought & what it all meant and stood for. It was extremely cool.
Then outside the store I meet my newest Russian friend! His name is Igor and I met him just like I met my first Russian friend named Igor in Moscow! He just came up & started yakkin’, found out I was Canadian, and BOOM! Friends forever!
Only problem? He hardly speaks any English. I hardly speak any Russian. We’re gonna work on that!
Then I spent the night at a Russian Folklore show at the St.Petersburg hotel with Heather from my cast. It was unreal! The kind of Russian singing I luv & crazy-amazing Russian dancers!
And to end this day of all days? I head out to club Central Station! It was a fantastic night! Russian drag-shows, go-go dancers, and Russian club music all night!
Oh good gawd! It was even more amazing the 2nd time….I couldn’t get enuf…..I need to go back! Thank gawd my ship goes back 4 more times….but I know that even that won’t be enough!
This trip started off with a trip to the “Black Market”. I bought some Russian CDs and a Russian music video DVD that has a video of my friend’s group: Hi-Fi. I freaked out to find that. And I got a couple cool T-Shirts. And now the prices!!!! CD’s $2.50 each. DVD’s $4 each. T-Shirt $10 each. COME ON!!!
Then I hit the ballet with a tour from the ship. We got to see Swan Lake at the St. Petersburg Palace Theatre. It was okay. The leads were really fantastic. The guy who played the male lead could jump like nothing I’ve ever seen before in a live production. But overall the ensemble seemed not so together. I have to admit that this year’s production of Swan Lake by the National Ballet of Canada was far superior…but honestly: this was Swan Lake in Russia! That’s pretty cool on it’s own.
And then the nightclub! Went out to a great club called “Central Station“. 4 Floors of rooms, dance floors, bars, stages with drag shows, more bars, and people everywhere. It was fantastic….I loved it….I’m goinig back! I got to party all night. I left the club at 4:30am and it was still light outside (it’s White Nights in St Petersburg so it’s 24hour sunlight!) and the clubs & streets were STILL crowded at this time of night/day/whatever! AMAZING!
So I get back to the ship at about 6am. Eat breakfast. And head out on another tour! Nope….no sleep yet! I went to Catherine the Great’s Palace. It was amazing…huge….$$$$ everywhere…nuts. Got back to the ship and then went out sightseeing on my own all afternoon without ANY sleep and I wasn’t tired at all. It’s like RUSSIA is my RedBull drink or something!
Hot damn! I think it was the happiest day of my contract when I looked out of the ship and saw St. Petersburg. I LOVED it and never doubted that I would.
DAY ONE: I spent the day in Peterhoff….summer palace of the Tsars. It was unreal. The fountains are stunning. The palace is stunning. The Russian sailors walking around were stunning! You know it’s going to be a good day when your bus drives by about 30 shirtless sailors excercising in the hot, Russian sun (whoa, this is gonna turn into a Harlequin Romance novel!).
At night we went out to a nightclub. It was a typical Russian nightclub with a casino, restaurant, and dance bar. I won $30 at Roulette….that’s a lot for me! There was dancing and a random strip-tease act in the middle to please both the boys & girls!
DAY TWO: Okay. Honestly. Get this: I went on a Hermitage tour on a Monday. The museum is closed on Mondays. Therefore: we had the entire friggin’ place to ourselves! I couldn’t believe it. It was empty and quiet and it was the most amazing tour of the Hermitage I could think of! I spent way too much money on a “Faberge” egg…but I love it and it’s beautiful so I think it’s worth it!
Anyway: I need to be back here for a much longer time! So if anyone knows how I can get a job in Russia let me know!!!!