After a night in the Latvia airport we were finally on our way to Saint Petersburg. We spent the cloudy cold days visiting museums such as the State Museum, Russian Museum and the Hermitage. I think that you could spend a week in the Hermitage and still not see everything. The place must have over 100 rooms and filled with Russian, European and Asian art. Spectacular, but you need some redbulls to do it all in one go. We broke it up by visiting some recommended cafes and pubs leading, in some cases, to the consumption of $5 bottles of Soviet Champagne followed by a juice called “birth sap”.
One night we manage to get tickets to the famous St. Petersburg ballet for the performance of the Magical Nut. It is a precursor to the Nutcracker and perfect for children and uncultured foreign university students. On the way home the boys finally lived out their dreams by finding some “Khlav kalash” which featured some unidentified street meat served to us by a one-eyed man just outside our hostel. The boys ended up ordered two and one of them (not mentioning names) paid for it a few hours later in the hostel.
Our first overnight 3rd class train ride left for Moscow at 11:30pm, we would arrive in the morning in preparation for V-Day.
Warm weather, AKs and beautiful women… that is what this country is made of.
We spent the first 5 days of our trip enjoying the Ukrainian precursor to Russia. The weather was warm and sunny which made it easy to wander the streets and view the old orthodox churches mixes with the cement communist buildings. A walking tour took us around the town and gave us a glimpse of the history as well as the amazing looking women that seem to be found all over (Jam!). We rounded off the day by attending the Opera, Aida for $2.50 Canadian which is hard enough to understand in English let alone Italian with Ukrainian subtitles.
The next day consisted of being guided out of the city by two British brothers Henry and George to try our hand at firearms. We all shot the AK47’s and dragonov sniper rifles, and most of us surprisingly hit the target. Large firearms were not the only thing that the shooting range had to offer, you could also try hand guns, drive tanks and take pony rides. We rounded out the day by drinking homemade cherry vodka and dancing at a Ukrainian gay club with our new friend Greg.
Our last day we headed north on a full day tour of Chernobyl and the surrounding area. Although we were a large group it still didnt make the sombre experience of a ghost town any less moving. The pictures of deserted buildings and overgrown yards along with the geiger counter beeping slower or faster depending on how high the radiation levels are. Hopefully the pictures to follow can show the details of what we saw.
Next stop St. Petersburg!