Greetings one and all! My version of Euro tour 2012 has officially begun. I have left Vladivostok behind and have spent the past week or in St. Petersburg. I am now in the Riga airport waiting for a bus that will take me to Lithuania. I stay there for two days to process my new Russian visa and then head back to Riga, to catch my flight to Frankfurt. Finally, on September 5th its back to Petersburg.
As usual, the time to pack up and move along came upon me surprisingly quickly so I was scrambling around at the last minute to pack up my stuff in Vladivostok. Aeroflot once again proved itself a most capable airline. I took a good several days in Petersburg to recuperate from my travels before exploring in ernest. I also had real humdinger of a wisdom toothache that had me worried for a few days before it went away. I’m hoping it stays that way as tooth extraction is not something I have on my “things to do in Russia” list. I was lucky enough to stay in a flat with some friends of a friend of a friend, right in the center of Petersburg for my interim period there. This was nice because I was able to get a head start on my navigating and exploration and also makes accessing public transit easier. Preliminary thoughts on Petersburg: in short, I’m very glad I choose this city for my longer period of study rather than the other way around. Now in all fairness, I think doing summer study in Vladivostok is not typical of the usual program there (I don’t want to freak out those who may be going/considering going to Vladivostok) but I definitely like Petersburg better. Even if you discount all the grandeur and museums, it also has some very practical advantages. 1) Much cooler in Petersburg than Vladivostok. At the end it was just way too hot in Vlad. Very uncomfortable. Way better in Petersburg. 2) Petersburg rivals Iowa in its flatness. Which again means that I am sweating less and also that you can walk very great distances and not get tired out. It’s also just cleaner, less claustrophobic and you can actually find a park with grass, something impossible in Vladivostok. Put all of that together with the knowledge that I’ll have a homestay instead of that accursed dorm, I am very excited for the semester. Here are some photos from the last days in Vladivostok and the short stint in Petersburg. I will try to write something or at least post some photos from Lithuania and Germany. Auf wiedersehen!