‘It’s 05:16. About forty minutes already that I have made my first steps on the immense Russian territory. Crossing the border took a lot of time, as I was warned. I abandoned the idea of going back to sleep; the bus isn’t very comfortable, the sun has come up a long time ago already and the excitement I feel when discovering the landscapes approaching St-Petersburg is keeping me awake. So I use this moment to take my notebook and my pen out, despite my tiredness. I have the impression of going a step over in the series of unknowns in my daily life. I suddenly realize that it has been almost a month since I left, and it’s a little shock, because I’ve lost all notion of time. However, when I think about it, I lived so many things during this short month. It’s crazy, so little time is necessary to get attach to some people. Whether it’s the beautiful people who lived in the Euphoria hostel in Tallin, with whom I shared beautiful musical moments, Daiva and Kees, those two angels guiding the wandering souls of travellers, Harry, my colleague and companion of laughters who I miss already, David, who I shared an interesting hitchhiking trip to say the least, Matei, my accomplice, my brother’s roommates, Simonas and Margarita, that I already knew from Morocco but I rediscovered in their ‘natural environments’, and all the others, with whom I shared a discussion, an evening or an afternoon, and who are too numerous to cite. So, so much love everywhere, so many smiles and kindness, pieces of advice, encouragements. I couldn’t dream of a better started, I am fulfilled. From my small seat in the bus, I send all this love back, to my new friends as to the old, that I don’t forget, never, and even to the entire world, because it is this love that will save us. At least I believe it, and I have the intention to keep propagate in it until my last breath. But enough with the cheesiness, I now have to present a more hardened face here, at least, that’s what they say. The previous month enabled me to apprehend the culture of three beautiful little countries, ex-members of the Soviet Union and all the heritage that this implies. I am now in the state at the heart of this tormented history, and it is with a thirst for discoveries that I close off these few lines.’
I therefore went off the bus, that day, and found myself in front of a station where I took my very first (and far from last) picture of Russia.
My first moments were a bit troublesome, I couldn’t find an ATM that would let me take out roubles, I didn’t know what metro to take and the cashiers were really not cooperatives, but I still figured out how to get to my destination an hour later, only to find myself in front of a huge portal equipped with a security system that needed a code, which of course I didn’t have… Thankfully, a janitor was walking by and allowed me to go in. Once inside, I had to wait for a good twenty minutes before anybody showed up to welcome me; needless to say that, being tired as I was, I was a tiny bit irritated. But I quickly forgot all of that the moment my head touched the pillow.
The hostel staff was actually really friendly and eager to give loads of useful tips for the city. It’s therefore very enthusiastically that I went on its exploration!
That’s less cool, and I have seen it a lot here … 🙁
Parks, paaaaaaaaaarks 😀
In the hostel, I met with my friend Sebastian again, that I had met in a bar in Tallinn. It was fun! We continued our visit together:
Kazan’s Cathedral. I like that I could take a picture of those people and their aristocratic disguises without having to be them…
The metro stations are super deep, some of them even take up to 7 minutes to reach the bottom!
The next day, we went to visit the famous Peterhof palce, with Keys, a retired Malaysian man, as well as Michael, from Thailand. We took the boat to get there.
The weather wasn’t very nice.
As we approached, we could catch a glimpse of it:
We get closer, without really knowing what’s coming…
We do a detour in the beautiful parks around.
We even got to feed squirrels!
And then, we arrive. I stayed awe-struck in front of so much splendour!
It was so beautiful! St-Petersburg went back up in my esteem, because until then, even if I found the city to be nice, it hadn’t fully lived up to my expectations (that I must admit, were high).
And then finally, the next day, we went to visit the famous Hermitage museum. The Russian Louvre. It was very big, very beautiful.
That same evening, I said goodbye to everybody and took a night train for Moscow. I’ll tell you all about it soon, it is still stressful for me to keep up with writing those articles in time.