Sunday, September 20, 2015

A few concluding sights from around St. Petersburg

I read about the Upside Down House on a list of unique and unusual things to do in St.Petersburg. While the photos are better than the experience, I'm glad I saw it. A business opportunity for someone in Vancouver!
One  of the joys of travelling to other countries and cities is seeing how some things are done differently. Below are some of the unique and interesting sights I discovered during my week in St. Petersburg. 

The Russian Museum is not as busy as the Hermitage, but definitely worth a visit. Just a few of the works I saw there, and other museums.

It's quite an amazing experience to wander into a gallery and find hundreds of French impressionist paintings

Some of the T-shirts available for sale on the streets of St Petersburg. Chuck Brook and I will soon be wearing our Putin kick-boxes Obama shirts, although not necessarily on the streets of Seattle
I thought this was a somewhat expensive way to let pedestrians know when they could safely cross.
Interest rates are a lot higher than in Canada!
I thought this was a clever way to advertise mortgage rates. (Should we be investing?)
The current exchange rate for US dollars and Euros. I got about 50 roubles to the Canadian dollar. When I first started going to Russia in late 2013 I got around 30 to the dollar
Pylons for a new expressway that will connect the airport to the main sports stadium
Driving along one of the highways I was surprised by the elaborate road lighting details.

 I went to a lot of museums and art galleries during my stay. However, one of the most interesting was a Street Art Museum, created on an industrial property. The organizer is a young lady Albina Motor who I met when working with Strelka in Moscow. The project is described as "a mediator between street artists, government and the people". What is fascinating is that each year the project attracts more than 60 artists from Russia, Ukraine and other countries. However, the works are painted over by new works in subsequent years. For more information go to www.streetartmuseum.ru
A men's washroom at the museum
Above and below: my favourite installation
Outside of the museum, but throughout St Petersburg I came across advertisements stenciled on the pavement.
The Saint Petersburg Metro is the underground railway system in Saint Petersburg and opened in 1955. The system exhibits many typical Soviet designs and features exquisite decorations and artwork. Like Moscow’s system, it is considered one of the most attractive and elegant metros in the world. Due to the city's unique geology, (it was once a swamp) the Saint Petersburg Metro is one of the deepest metro systems in the world. The deepest station, Admiralteyskaya, which was my station, is 86 metres below ground. According to Wikipedia, the Metro serves 2.15 million passengers daily, making it the 16th busiest system in the world. A single ticket anywhere on the system costs 31 rubles or about 60 cents. It took four minutes to ride the escalators down to the tracks at the Akmiraltyeyska station illustrated below.
In the Pushkinskaya station
Outside of one of the stations I came across this merchant selling herring. (I was tempted to buy some, since it was much less expensive than in most of the restaurants I frequented!
Around the city (and indeed throughout Russia and the Ukraine) I came across coffee outlets like this.
Outside my hotel I was surprised to find two ladies who offered horseback riding to patrons. My wife noted from another photo that these ladies were wearing high-heeled shoes. Hmmm
Inside my hotel room the emergency escape route was phosphorescent and lit up at night. A good idea.
At the Museum of Ethnography I came across this fellow. Sadly, I don't know the significance of his headress but hopefully Michael Audain will inquire for me when he visits the museum in 2017
Around the city are public toilets. They're expensive, but convenient. 30 roubles for a visit...the same amount as a Metro ticket anywhere in the region!
I left St.Petersburg on a 6:15 am flight through Paris. I assumed the airport would be deserted at 4:15 when I was told to arrive. Boy was I wrong. The airport was packed...busier than YVR except for a holiday weekend! St. Petersburg is a great city and I highly recommend a visit. But give yourself plenty of time to arrange your travel visa....otherwise it can be quite expensive. My rushed visa, (fortunately paid for by my host), ordered in Vancouver but processed in Ottawa, cost $523 for a single entry.

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