Earlier this month I was in the rainy St. Petersburg on a short bus trip organized and subsidized by the Union of Museum Professionals (MAL).

The travel programme:

3.9. Departure from Helsinki at 8:00. Monrepos Park in Viipuri (Vyborg). Lunch in Hotel Druzhba. Arrival at the Hotel Moscow at 21:00 (local time).

4.9. The Peter and Paul Fortress (to the left), Kunstkamera, Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Gostinyi Dvor. Lunch in Sadko with its astonishing red chandeliers. A dinner in the Armenian restaurant Amrots on Nevsky Prospect.

5.9. Pavlovsk Palace (to the left) and it's garden. Lunch in Hotel Pulkovskaya. Imperial Porcelain Manufactory shop. Ballet option.

6.9. Departure from the hotel at 9:30. Smolensk Lutheran Cemetery. Lunch in the Round Tower in Viipuri. Arrival at Helsinki at 20:30 (local time).


I took advantage of the ballet option, which turned out to be the Swan Lake in the St. Petersburg Conservatory. The performance itself was a "romantic painting in gilt frames," and as a whole I actually liked it a lot. I suppose seeing Swan Lake in St. Petersburg is a 'must,' although I think I have seen it often enough in Helsinki to last a lifetime, and I shall see Kenneth Greve's new version later this autumn.

Hotel Moscow to the left, statue of Alexander Nevsky, Alexander Nevsky Bridge ahead with Neva flowing invisible under it, and Alexander Nevsky Monastery to the right.

Being a tourist, especially in a group with everything organized in advance, is a strange sort of bubble, totally isolated from the place visited and from one's normal life.


One effect of the trip lasted: I caught a cold. A couple of days afterwards my nose was running - a Gogolesque image in the context - but now it's sitting quietly in the middle of my face, as it should.