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Piter March 9, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.


A lovely snap from Leningrad in 1930, purloined from this nice Moscow photographic site, which I can’t remember how I came across. (I can now, I was looking for a photograph of Nizhinskij further to talk of him on Radio 4.) It’s an especially nice and peaceful bit of St. Petersburg up there by the Hermitage and I don’t have to bemoan how the city has changed since that 1930 snap as, bar the clothes, that view would be identical to this day, Millionnaja Ulitsa remaining mysteriously empty and quiet. Parallel to this street, on the other side of the Hermitage, in other words, is the embankment, which is utterly unexploited as regards tourism potential. A kilometres-long street, dotted with landmarks and wonderful views across to all sorts of other landmarks and yet it is nothing more than a high-speed thoroughfare, choked with Ladas and black with fumes. (Trying to cross it – to get right down to the river – is to dice with death.) And, equally mysteriously, it doesn’t yet seem to be a desirable address (at least it wasn’t four years ago). The houses house the regular choice of non-fronted shops, such as chemists, giving a hint to their identity only as you peer right into the grated windows and, I suppose, erm, houses. Noisy but nice. Which is all splendid, in a way, of course, that a (potentially) main drag of the city isn’t just a string of tourist traps but then it would actually be RATHER nice to sit and soak up the endless rays by the river on a perfect Piter summer day.



1. Paul - March 10, 2006

Great picture. Russia remains a great ambition of my girlfriend, and I’d love to go one day.

2. BiB - March 10, 2006

I can’t encourage you both to go enough. There are pretty dirt cheap flights from Berlin these days, and both Moscow and St. Petersburg are marvellous and beautiful cities to visit. (Don’t know about living there for TOO long though.) It’s tough tourism if neither of you knows the language as that would mean missing a lot of things, but it’s such an adventure, and so close by. You can even go by train, of course, thought the thought of getting a Russian visa AND a transit visa for Belarus might have you Saturday-afternoonishly curling back under your duvet and then plumping for Blackpool instead. Still, definitely an experience not to be missed, Russia.

3. Bren - March 10, 2006

That picture has got a sort of Ayn Rand quality to it. I write ‘quality,’ though she’s a fascist bitch…

4. Bowleserised - March 12, 2006

This is a roundabout way of communciating, but do you people want to come to a sort of blogging stammtisch on Thursday? Email the editor here for the wherefores. Wouldn’t send you off round the houses were it not for the fact that we all hide our email addresses…

5. Paul - March 15, 2006

Oops, missed this…thanks for the tips on Russia BiB, and it wouldn’t be that bad as my girlfriend, Ossi that she is, has a smattering of Russian somewhere in the recesses of her memory that is just waiting to be recalled.

How much does a visa to Russia cost, BTW?

6. BiB - March 16, 2006

Paul, I’ll need to ask a pal who recently got a Russian visa for his girlfriend. Actually, he said it wasn’t too bad. To be honest, it was never the money that much that was the pain – I don’t think it should be more than, say, 50 euros – but all the fuss that went with it. But it’s usually a question of getting an invitation from someone – which can’t just be a hand-written letter on toilet-paper but some real bestamped and beofficialdommed thing – and then going with that to the Embassy and queueing for a billion years and them telling you there’s some mistake and that your photo is colour when it should’ve been b&w or vice versa. But actaully a hotel will fax you an invitation in five seconds as long as you agree to stay there one night. Let me know if you need more concrete tips and I should be able to dig up the number of one hotel in each of Moscow and St. Petersburg that provides that service.

Are you all signed up for the Berlin bloggers’ convention, by the way?

7. Paul - March 16, 2006

i Berlin bloggers’ convention

Nope. I just saw the comment above from Miss Bowleserised, but I didn’t know anything about it.

8. BiB - March 16, 2006

Paul, I’ve e-mailed you the details. I love the photos on your blog, by the way. They are often sad, whereas your writing is happy, and enthusiastic, and full of lust for life. Nice to know you are both things at once!

9. Paul - March 16, 2006

Heh, thanks BiB. I don’t set out to take sad photos, but my favourite ones tend to be the moodier images. Thanks for all the info on Russia as well, BTW.

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