On Wednesday me and Pippa decided to go for a walk around the islands of Petersburg, covering two, Vasilevsky and Petrogradsky. Vasilevsky is where Pippa lives and is quite pretty, and Petrogradsky is where Zenit (one of Petersburg's main football teams) plays their matches. Petrogradsky was actually very posh and had some beautiful buildings and very expensive shops. Here are a couple of snaps from our jaunt:
(Top left: FC Zenit stadium; Top right: A pretty building on Petrograsky Island; Bottom: An entertaining sign in a fast food restaurant, listing mainly N. American cities in Cyrillic.)
On Friday, my friends George and Seb hosted a party, which was pleasant. We had two visiting guests, Tom (from Manchester) and Adam (from my uni but studying in Moscow), so it was nice catching up with them. The party moved on to our friend Nick's flat, which is 2 minutes from my flat, via a lovely Russian gypsy cab... This trip was eventful as at one point the poor driver, who appeared to speak no English, actually got out to check his tyres for punctures. Four drunken English students + one poor conked out Lada's back seat = recipe for disaster. Luckily, we all got to Nick's flat alive, though a few card games later I was starting to feel pretty tired and went home. It was a nice night, though I wasn't quite drunk enough to deserve the hellish hangover I received on Saturday :( I've resolved to quit drinking (yes, in Russia!) for the time being... Or maybe I should just quit the cheapy 9% 'cocktails' made up of unknown alcohols I insist on drinking, and stick to the more traditional beverages. We'll see.
On Sunday, me and Pippa decided to check out this flea market Pippa had read about on the internet. It was quite far from the centre in an area neither of us had previously visited, so we were a little worried about what we'd find there. The website Pippa had found directions from appeared to be from the age of dial up, so we were dubious as to whether the market even existed anymore... Luckily, it did, and our Удельная adventure began! It was basically one huge car boot sale, only with no cars, just tarpaulins laid on the ground... Cue a few hours of browsing amongst the market, which stretched as far as the eye could see in a field that made Glastonbury look well kept. Me and Pippa were pleasantly surprised at how friendly all the salesmen and women were, even when they realised we were foreign. It felt like we'd left the ever-xenophobic Russia far behind! We were brought back down to earth when we saw the sheer amount of scary 'military goods' on sale, such as knives, bullets, rusty army helmets - some with bullet holes - and grenades (no such thing as Health & Safety here!). All in all it was a great trip, even though all I bought was a pair of socks, and was a chance to speak to some lovely people... I intend to buy more next time, as we've decided to visit as often as possible, hopefully every weekend :)
I would have added some pictures of the flea market to this post, but I didn't actually take any. I was a bit scared that taking pictures of people's items might have seemed a little rude... I'll take some distance shots next time we go and upload them so you get more of an idea of what the market's like!
The aforementioned market seemed even better after we visited the tourist market near Nevsky Prospect later that same day... It was a stark contrast, as most people at the tourist market spoke English to us and were really on the hard sell. I didn't like it at all! Though it seems to be one of the better places to go to buy souvenirs, and I think if they'd realised we spoke some Russian the prices may have reduced quite drastically. Oh well, I don't need to buy any souvenirs for at least another 6 months, so I'll worry about it nearer to the time! Oh and the quote which forms the title of this post is some market stall owner's reponse when we questioned the extortionate prices of his watches...
Anyway, this is a rather long blog post considering I said I didn't have much to talk about, so I'll end it here! Also, I'm supposed to be going to my landlady's dacha (country house) on Wednesday, so hopefully I'll have lots of fun to report and nice pictures to share from there! Here are a couple more pictures from the last few days:
(Left: Amazingly named English pub near my house; Right: These snowflakes were big enough to be picked up by my camera! Winter's a-coming!)