Sunday, 23 December 2012

russian royalty

Don’t believe it when people say Russia is expensive. Yes, some areas like Moscow maybe  but St Petersburg is dirt cheap for an Aussie and a Japanese person to live it up like Russian royalty (well not really!). We went to get supplies at the local supermarket at spend about $4 AUD for two days’ worth of breakfast and snacks for two.  Beers at the supermarket were about $2 and a bottle of Russian chilli infused vodka (whic is my new favourite) was around $12. It was pretty cheap to eat out, I don’t think we ever spend more than about $10 for both of us and as for drinks, you’d pay similar prices to Amsterdam. 

While we were in town we visited Peter and Paul’s Fortress and the Saviour of the Blood and walked around until our toes were frozen. There are so many incredible buildings in town that all you need to do is walk in any direction and you’ll surely stumble across some jaw dropping architecture. I became a victim of the Black Ice. Be careful, it hurts, a lot. It’s so cold here that everything just freezes and the dirt and ice mixes together and freezes over the road making it hard to see but easy to slip. I slipped and fell straight on my arse but luckily I saved my camera! I have had a really sore foot since though and think I may have actually done some sort of damage!

With only 72 hours in St Petersburg we decided to go out partying that night. Since the nightclubs didn’t really kick off until 12pm we had some pre-drinks at the hostel and by 11pm there was a little possy that were keen to party; the Canadian guy, two dudes from New York, a couple from the UK, and a Brasilian guy. Pretty good mix! We had a super fun night but didn’t get back until about 6am and some wise guy had an idea to get up and go to the Hermitage museum in the morning (which we were doing regardless of our state).

Mai and I were up (we had to check out by 10am) but no one showed so we ended up falling asleep on the couch until about 12pm when the others finally started climbing out of their princess beds. The Hermiage is one the oldest and one of the largest museums; there's around 3 million pieces including the largest collection of paintings in the world. The museum itself is in a large complex of six historic buildings including the Winter Palace; former residence of Russian Emperors. 

Museums in general are kind of tiring when you're hung-over. However, this is one of the most famous in the world and it's THE must see sight in St Petersburg. We obviously weren’t going to miss it but this place was like a maze and when you don’t have your wits about you, you can get seriously lost which is especially annoying when you’re desperate for hydration and/or the bathroom. Mai was stoked and took a million photos. Although an astonishing museum the whole wealth thing got to me a little and I’d had enough of seeing what seemed like kilometres of golden vases, ridiculously expensive art and an overkill of chandeliers. The sheer contradiction of rich vs. poor is overwhelming and it's certainly an experience! 

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