here I am again. I wasn't kidnapped in Russia so I am now able to tell you about my last weekend which was pretty amazing.
Last Thursday I left Helsinki with a bunch of other students. We took the M/S Princess Maria to St. Petersburg. On the boat most of the people checked immediately the duty-free-shop. There we already got the first hints how the Russian mentality is like. Normal ciders or beers where kinda over priced, but Vodka was available for 2,50€ the bottle O.o
Friday morning we then arrived to St. Petersburg. But already when coming down the Neva river towards the harbor we experienced the Russian braveness. There were people standing on the ice floes about 50m away from the waterway, and they were ice fishing there while our big ferry passes by. So I was sitting at the breakfast and watching with disbelief at those people. yeah, I know "Welcome to Russia".
After the passport control we had a city tour in order to become a bit familiar with the city. We were shown the most important sights (most of them we were able to visit during the following days of our trip). During that city tour we also made a stop at a souvenir shop. But buying souvenirs wasn't the main reason why we went there. The main reasons were free Vodka and a free toilet ;). "Welcome to Russia II".
After the city tour some of us went to see the cathedral on the spilled blood. The only cathedral in St. Petersburg which has the typical Russian fairytale style in its architecture. It was really pretty impressive.
The first day in St. Petersburg ended with a Russian dinner party. That was a really nice experience. We were able to try different traditional dishes and with that we enjoyed of course some Russian Vodka and some Russian folk music.
The Saturday started pretty early since we left at 9:30am to Pushkin where we visited the Catherine's palace. Pushkin is about 30km away from St. Petersburg and at the Catherine's palace the tsars/tsarinas usually spent their summers. The palace itself was pretty huge and impressive, though maybe a bit too much gold has been used in the interior design for my taste. Luckily I am not living in the baroque era ;). Just two rooms that we visited weren't gold, because there has been a fire in 1820, those two rooms' interior was designed according to the taste of the classic era.
Around 13:30 we drove back to St. Petersburg where some of us visited the St. Isaac's cathedral. I decided to skip this activity, so that I have some spare time for shopping and such things, before going to the ballet in the evening.
The ballet was great. The performance was named "The night of Russian Ballet" and it were shown different parts from the different ballets. I really enjoyed it and it was nice to finally see the dying swan live on stage.
After the ballet we went back to the hotel to have a ride in a limousine. That was party pure, kinda nice experience ;) and the champaign also tasted pretty good :)
On Sunday it was pretty hard to get up^^ even though I skipped the night club on the Saturday (and Friday) I really felt tired as hell that morning. But no time to rest, after our check-out at the hotel we went to visit the hermitage museum. It is located in the winter palace and some other buildings, so it was huge but I didn't get lost and found the right exit again ;). The guided tour through the hermitage museum was ok, at some point it just got a bit boring, but well life isn't always like a pony ranch ;)
Later that day we checked onto the ferry back to Helsinki and well it was kinda sad to say good bye after having such an awesome time in St. Petersburg. But I knew some people were looking forward to see me again and so was I ;) so yeah after all it is nice to be back.
I will put some photos online as soon as I have them on my computer, but now I have to go, I have my last Swedish lesson today ;)
Tomorrow I finally will take the maturity exam about my final thesis. Setting the date was once again a huge argy-bargy with my lovely supervisor. But well, now the date is set, and I am looking forward to finally leave my "University time" behind me, at least for some years. I probably will do a master at some point as a specialization in my profession. And if doing a master I would love to do it while working, but let's see about that in 3 or 4 years.
Since Saturday it is raining from time to time. Gosh, how I love the sound of rain against the window. Because here in Finland it also means, that the snow will melt a bit faster. So finally spring is on its way :)
Sorry for the short entry ;) but I need to go now :)