Articles

Sympathy for the devil

In Travels on June 24, 2007 by Pino

Because somebody complained about my last posts being written almost entirely in Russian, I’m writing today without using any Cyrillic alphabet, starting from the title, once again named after a song. I might finish up this post with the official Russian names later in Berlin, this should give me also more time to write instead of searching on wikipedia their right spellings😀 Btw, I chose a famous song by the Rolling Stones (who will be here next month, whoohoo!) mainly because of these lyrics:

I stuck around St Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the tzar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

Moscow Station
Yesterday I went first to the Moscow Station (named after the city where the trains that depart from here are going to) to check whether I could find a morning train to Novgorod. Obviously nobody there spoke English but with a bit of luck and my limited knowledge of Russian I managed to understand that the morning train is local, departing at 8 o’clock and the tickets are sold at the local train desk on the day of departure. I eventually decided to take the bus, despite my love for trains, because they’re cheaper and more frequent.

Smolny
After the Moscow Station I went to the Smolny Cathedral in the homonymic district. Who complains because the UN headquarter in NYC or the Park Güell in Barcelona are too far away from their nearest metro stations, has never been at the Smolny Cathedral:mrgreen: The long walk was anyway worth it: the district is very quiet and pleasant, almost no tourists and with a nice mix of Soviet and Slavic styles: exactly what I love. At the far end of a long avenue the blue cathedral by Rastrelli: so photogenic at sunset!
Walking back to the metro station I noticed two statues representing sphinxes, I had a look on the guidebook and found the description Sphinx Monument… Was it not supposed to be somewhere else? Mmm…

Петя, Петя!
Oh come on! Don’t say I promised no Cyrillic in this post! I can’t talk about yesterday night without writing this!
My idea was to have a dinner in Downtown, which is why I traveled by metro to Gostiny Dvor where I hardly found the way out with all the people there. I thought they were going to the concert for which a stage was build in front of the Hermitage, but… I didn’t imagine how many people were on Nevsky Prospekt until I realized it with my own eyes! Wow, it was amazing! Suddenly I didn’t feel sad anymore because I missed the CSD in Berlin🙂
I eventually had my dinner at Yolki Palki (whose Mongolian version I went in Moscow is far more delicious) and then I had a walk to the Neva with all the people screaming Петя, Петя! (Peter, Peter!) or something else that sounded like I’m proud to be Russian.
Beside the concert at the Hermitage and another on the Vasilevsky Island, the city organized fireworks and some other spectacles: it was very interesting.

New Leningrad
After a long night spent on the Neva banks I woke up today quite late and I went to the southern suburb of the city, where Stalin planned the New Leningrad, far away from the tzarist monuments along the river.
I could see then an overwhelming building of perfect Socialist Classicism behind a huge statue of Lenin: the House of Soviets. The buildings around are also very Stalinist and I enjoyed that view as well as I like walking down Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin.
Close to those monstrosities is the small Chesme Church built to commemorate the Russian victory against the Turks at Chesme: astonishing.

Crime and Punishment
I left the southern corner of the city to go back again to Sennaya Square: with the daylight there is no substantial difference🙂 Apparently the square doesn’t own only two souls but is more or less also divided in two: the southern part looks much more full of homeless than the northern side…
Anyway, from there I started my Rodia-tour, following the character of the novel by Dostoevsky. Unfortunately, although I found all the places marked on the book (Raskolnikov’s flat, Dostoevsky owned the flat and the house where the pawnbroker lived and was killed,) none of them were open to the public. The locals were maybe too pissed of by visitors😦 Too bad. I felt anyway part of the novel, mainly because the places were exactly how I depicted them in my mind.

2 Responses to “Sympathy for the devil”

  1. I lived a few doors down from where Raskol’nikov killed the old lady on Griboedova. Your posts are giving me major nostalgia.

  2. I want to live there too!🙂

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