HELLO! HI! PRIVIET!
I’m sorry it’s been so long since I last wrote. What with all my travelling and then settling back into Moscow I appear to have abandoned my blog.. but never fear! I am back… and to make up for my disappearance I have written you all an essay… (I promise the next one will be shorter!)…
Well Simon’s Russian adventure is over and even though we never actually got around to visiting the cat theatre (we opted for the Bolshoy instead) I think he had fun.
Here are a few highlights from our trip:
First we flew out to Moscow and I had lots of fun showing Simon around my ‘hud. It was great to be in Moscow with someone who had never been before because I could relive that ‘oh wow… I’m in Moscow!’ feeling. We also did lots of touristy things that I’d never done before like visit the Tretyakov gallery, the Kremlin and the Armoury museum. We watched an opera at the Bolshoy (in Italian with Russian subtitles. Potentially, Simon could not enjoy this as much as me.) As well as being super cultured we tried to fool the Muscovites into thinking we were one of them… i.e. we went ice skating at Gorky Park (I don’t think we fooled them. Our wobbly skating and typical English laughter has no-one convinced).
Simon's excitement at RED SQUARE!!!
My happiness at being reuinted with SUSHI.
From Moscow we got a fourteen hour train to Petrozavodsk, a city in the north of Russia where I studied for a month last summer. The train ride was a lot better than last time and the ‘top bunk debacle’, Simon was the man and took the top bunk so no arguments with scary Russian men was necessary.
Last time I was in Petrozavodsk it was boiling hot and it never got dark (the white nights of the summer). This time it was -30 and very dark. Love the Russian winter. Not. It was however lovely to be back and especially to see the people I stayed with last year – Lyudmila and her daughter Olga. It was so nice to actually be able to properly communicate with them in Russian! Last year my Russian was so bad we normally resorted to drawing pictures of what we were trying to say to each other but now we could finally properly have a conversation. Phew. So glad I have actually progressed in the last year and a half.
From Petrozavodsk we took another overnight train to St Petersburg and Simon proved that he did learn something from his dissertation on chivalry because he once again took the top bunk.
In St Petersburg we were mega tourists. Day 1 was spent at the Peter and Paul Fortress where Simon spent much of the day enlightening me on Russian history. Day 2 was spent in one of my favourite places in Russia – The Hermitage. There’s so much to see there that it’s been said it will take you 9 years just to glance at everything! As I’ve been before I let Simon choose where we went, although I did make sure we went to see one of my favourite pieces. Picasso’s Violin and Guitar, which I based my GCSE art project on
The final part of our trip took us out of Russia and into Finland. We took a 6 hour train ride from St Petersburg to Helsinki, which at first I thought was a ridiculous amount of time to be sat on a seat for… until my mum pointed out that it’s actually just the same as travelling from Huddersfield to Cornwall. And we amused ourselves by continuing our epic Uno tournament (which I won. Just so you all know.)
We spent 3 days in Helsinki which is probably one of my favourite places in the world. After being used to the busyness of Moscow and St Petersburg we both felt like we’d entered a ghost town when we got there. There was just no-one on the streets. I loved it! The highlight of Helsinki (apart from the obvious BREAKFAST BUFFET… my two favourite words) was visiting Suomenlinna fortress. The fortress is on a beautiful island that’s just a 15 minute boat ride from Helsinki harbour. It was one of those places that just took my breath away with its beauty. As it was winter the island was covered in snow and even the sea was frozen. Climbing through the snow as high as we could go was so much fun!
But all good things have to come to an end and after Helsinki I had to go back to Moscow and Simon flew back to England. I thought having a friend visit at the beginning of term was a good idea because it gave me an incentive to go back… and I was right, I was really excited about our trip… I just forgot to think about the end of it. Flying back to Moscow on my own was NOT FUN. All I could think about was how my holidays were over, how I had to return to a place where everything was just that little bit more difficult than in the UK and how it was going to be 4 months until I could eat hummus again.
In the spirit of this being an honest blog, I’m not gonna lie – the first week back was awful. Everyday I woke up, realised I was in Moscow and attempted to go back to the dream I had been having in England. Going back to school meant returning to reality, returning to being exhausted after non stop concentration and returning to HOMEWORK. Eurgh. I missed my friends as soon as I got here unlike last time when I was too excited to think about home too much. So basically, I was sad. Very sad.
Now the first week hurdle is over. And I feel better. Missing my friends is still a big issue, but one which I feel I’m not going to solve. I just need to keep busy, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I have four months left to live in this city and I want to get everything out of it that I can.
So Moscow Part II. Bring it.