After 36 hours with no sleep, I arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia ready to rock. The taxi ride to Gorkovskii Prospekt was the most exciting and most terrifying experience I’ve had in a long time – we drove 80 kilometers an hour on the shoulder of the road; even if I wanted to wear a seatbelt, the buckle wasn’t working; I joked about American politics with the cab driver. We arrived home safely, drank some tea (and ate the snacks appropriate for a tea party), and I crashed.
Waking up at 9am, I expected it to be dark outside. We’re in Russia, after all – this is pretty far north. What I did not expect was for the darkness to linger past 11:30am.
I saw in a coffee shop on the top floor of Dom Knigi, St. Petersburg’s famous book store.
I ordered a cappucino in confused, exhausted Russian, ended up paying waaaaay too much for that coffee, but I didn’t care because I was hanging out in a Russian coffee shop for goodness sake. I sat in that coffee shop for 3 hours drawing Isaakavskii Sobor, conveniently situated across the street.
For the rest of the day, I walked around with a camp friend, Osya. We went to this cathedral, ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the Orthodox artwork inside; I exchanged money at a bank, trying to be casual and not seem like an awkward American; we snuck into the student section of an art university, smiling at the students’ work (which sometimes was more impressive than the real thing).
A great first day in the country I’d dreamt about visiting for many years.