Oh, St Petersburg! What a wonderful city! It’s full of curious little museums and strange but friendly people. I discovered that when people shout and frown at you they’re actually being kind and are trying to help you. And they love to give gifts; In 72 hours I received chocolate, magnets, shampoo, and a postcard of Putin caressing a puppy. And Russians are super comfortable with nudity. During a visit to a Banya (Russian sauna), I was whipped with branches by a naked woman whilst a bevvy of lythe naked ladies lounged around, legs akimbo, casually watching. The only things anyone was wearing were flipflops and acorn shaped hats made out of felt. It was utterly bizarre and superbly fantastic all at the same time.
Despite going down with a flu-like illness for one of the days I managed to fit in quite a lot. I saw Pavlov’s dog, stuffed and positioned next to a bell in an obscure little place called ‘The Museum of Hygiene’. And I stumbled upon ‘The museum of emotions’ where you’re lead through a series of rooms designed to inspire various emotions. Options include being shut inside a coffin (fear), picking up hissing cockroaches (disgust – although that felt quite a lot like fear!), and looking in a mirror that makes you thin (happiness of course!).
And I took a class to paint Russian dolls and tried some traditional cabbage pie. And that’s not even the half of it. Politics aside, this is a city worth visiting. I can’t wait to come here again.
But I’m on the ferry now. Next stop, Estonia.