RUSSIA BY WORD OF MOUTH

A month in St. Petersburg. A month in Moscow.
Walking home at midnight from an excellent Georgian dinner me and my flatmate Ellan happened to see this exquisitely Russian mob of 200 people on rollerskates and bicycles quite randomly mobbing through the streets of historical Petersburg.

Walking home at midnight from an excellent Georgian dinner me and my flatmate Ellan happened to see this exquisitely Russian mob of 200 people on rollerskates and bicycles quite randomly mobbing through the streets of historical Petersburg.

Ceres, goddess of agriculture (I had to look that one up), also lives in Letniy Sad. I was talking to a graduate student in sociology who works at the Museum of Ethnography and had the good fortune to walk through Letniy Sad with some or other French expert of sculpture and she said the sculptures currently on display were disastrously bad. She said the original sculptures in Peter the Great’s collection were taken off display because they were just too valuable. She said these sculptures are too clean and have extremely terrible proportions. As a sculpture layman, it all looks fine to me and I can’t tell the difference between good proportions and bad proportions.

Ceres, goddess of agriculture (I had to look that one up), also lives in Letniy Sad. I was talking to a graduate student in sociology who works at the Museum of Ethnography and had the good fortune to walk through Letniy Sad with some or other French expert of sculpture and she said the sculptures currently on display were disastrously bad. She said the original sculptures in Peter the Great’s collection were taken off display because they were just too valuable. She said these sculptures are too clean and have extremely terrible proportions. As a sculpture layman, it all looks fine to me and I can’t tell the difference between good proportions and bad proportions.

"Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher" has a statue in Letniy Sad.

"Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher" has a statue in Letniy Sad.

The dreamlike Letniy Sad = Summer Garden.

The dreamlike Letniy Sad = Summer Garden.

Another bridge, even closer to my apartment: “don’t smoke on the bridge!”

Another bridge, even closer to my apartment: “don’t smoke on the bridge!”

A bridge very near my apartment in St. Petersburg.

A bridge very near my apartment in St. Petersburg.

A schedule of departures. Am I actually supposed to be able to read this? All I can get is “Helsinki” at the bottom. :/

A schedule of departures. Am I actually supposed to be able to read this? All I can get is “Helsinki” at the bottom. :/

The entrance to the hall. Big, intimidating clock.

The entrance to the hall. Big, intimidating clock.

The interior of the agency. It turns out that in St. Petersburg, even the place where you buy your train tickets is intimidating.

The interior of the agency. It turns out that in St. Petersburg, even the place where you buy your train tickets is intimidating.

Buying a train ticket to go from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The “North-West Train Agency” or something like that.

Buying a train ticket to go from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The “North-West Train Agency” or something like that.