A Travellerspoint blog

Apples and Vodka

London to St Petersburg


View Two Pairs of Shoes on arianemeena's travel map.

Day 1, 7am- Terminal 5 Bag Drop
"I assume my bag will be checked through to St Petersburg?"
"Erm, no. We don't have an agreement with Air Berlin so you'll have to collect it and check it in again for your onward flight. But it looks like you have 55 minutes from landing to take-off..." *shakes head despondantly* "I'm not sure you'll make it"
"Shit"

Cue comedy dash through two Berlin terminals, profuse sweating and funny looks from German airport security.

So began my adventure and despite the unpromising start, so far so good. St Petersburg is stunning; full of history and architectural delights. Sunday night, having met my fellow passengers, we were treated to a celebration of 'Saviour of the Apple Feast Day' by the hostel manager. Apparently this festival calls for vodka, a bowl of apples and a replica Kalashnikov, specially unlocked from the wall.

There has been plenty of sight-seeing. My first metro trip was to the Fortress of Peter and Paul, where they have pimped their spires.
(Here is proof I'm here and not just sitting on my sofa uploading google images)

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The Peterhof Summer Palace gardens were fabulous, the fountains rival Versailles and the boat trip back through the gulf of Finland and Neva river afforded great views of the embankments.
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The morbidly named Church of the Spilled Blood was lined with mosaics and Spanish tourists. large_4D3EEF9F2219AC6817240E16125D0E27.jpg4D34247D2219AC6817C1F638A0CCD0B1.jpg

I ushered in 29 at Stirka 40°, a bar-come-laundrette that started life as a degree show art project and wouldn't look out of place in even the wankiest street in East London. Despite the obligatory birthday vodka I managed to get up to visit the Hermitage, an enormous repository of art housed in the glorious Winter Palace. Not even the American cruise ship groups with their CIA ear pieces could spoil the splendour of the interiors. image.jpg

Tonight we take the midnight train, leaving behind West-facing St Petersburg and heading to increasingly backward-facing Moscow.

Posted by arianemeena 07:44 Archived in Russia Comments (2)

They made me do it

Let the navel-gazing commence

With 11 days until I leave for my travels I have capitulated and started a blog. This is the inevitable, slightly cringey, 'welcome to my blog, let me tell you about myself' post. For those of you who have somehow avoided me droning on about my plans in the last few months, it is also a handy summary of the what and where and why.

Last November I made the decision to defer applying for specialty training. Whilst ostensibly allowing me to complete my paediatrics rotation before committing eight of my best years to it, it was in reality a thinly disguised ploy to avoid updating my ePortfolio and sod off around the world before I hit 30.

With F2 done I now have 5 months until I need to be back in the country for (I'd better not be jinxing this by typing it out loud) interviews. I am starting in St Petersburg on August 18th and taking the Trans-Siberian/Mongolian railway via Moscow and UlaanBataar to Beijing. This is followed by a three week tour of China before flying to Hanoi on September 26th. I have 9 weeks to get to Singapore, from where I am flying to Auckland (November 25th). A month later I am meeting my parents in Christchurch to fly to Melbourne where we will be spending Christmas with my uncle. Then it's a quick roadtrip to Sydney before arriving back at Heathrow on Sunday 5th January 2014.

I can't guarantee I'm going to be updating this religiously but seeing as I'm going it alone I need somewhere wang on about it all. I'll probably still update Facebook (although not sure if I'm capable of anything other than sarcasm there) and for the more tech-savvy I have Twitter and Instagram to bore you with (@arianemeena on both). I will also have whatsapp and iMessage if you want to get hold of me directly. Basically, it'll be like I never left the country.

So read this, or don't, but any comments, messages, or updates will be gratefully received. In return, I make a solemn promise never to post a selfie.

Posted by arianemeena 15:43 Comments (5)

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