I have been in Saint Petersburg for a week now, which is enough time to reflect on first impressions and revelations. They are as follows:
— The Hermitage is not as big as I thought it would be (I think after seeing Versailles everything looks miniature.). Still pretty spectacular though. I have yet to go inside and will report on that after my first visit this Saturday!
— The city is more beautiful than I imagined. You can’t walk more than ten blocks without having to cross a canal. The one pictured below is Griboyedov Canal which I walk across everyday to and from school.(I did not take this picture…but will take one soon of the sun setting over the canal.)
— Russian women know how to DRESS UP. The women here wear three inch stilettos everywhere, which can be quite hazardous walking across all of the pebbled stone streets. I have also seen a trend developing of said women needing their boyfriends to prop them up if they are walking distances farther than 3 blocks. A necessary accessory perhaps?
— That being said, Saint Petersburg is a happening city. I see lots of different styles of dress including hipsters, hippies, super prepstars, classic Russian (men in leather jackets and scowls, women in mini skirts and flesh-colored panty hose) and pension-dependent babushkas. A Russian friend of mine said that even five years ago you would not see such variance in people’s personal style but that the influence of non-Russian styles of dress is only really seen in Saint Petersburg. This is definitely the most open-minded of Russian cities.
— Russian nouveau-riche is slightly intimidating and slightly awesome. So many Range Rovers, BMWs and Mercedes parked all over the city.
— English speaking skills are not widespread.