Posts tagged “Saint Petersburg

A Haunting

Posted on 10 June 2018

My most vivid memory of Saint Petersburg is this: Listen. The cold sun glares at me as I walk along the Fontanka embankment. I walk southwest to where the canal meets the Neva, and then turn around and walk back on the other side. I keep my gaze fixed straight ahead and step in time to the music in my ears. The grey of the streets and the buildings blends with the blue of the sky where the white light of the sun rubs them together. As a woman, I stick out with my flat shoes and casual clothes, but I’m stopped and asked for directions anyway. I’ve been here long enough, have been walking around long enough, to often answer. I walked a…

Kto Znayet, Who Knows

Posted on 12 October 2015

I used to walk the streets of Saint Petersburg, propelling myself forward at a strident pace. Sometimes, passerby would stop me and ask me for directions. I told them I didn’t know where I was, where I was going. I’ve seen people travel to Russia with an image in their mind. A romantic image: a dark but gorgeous, majestic place, literary geniuses winding their way through the lamp lit streets, symphony notes hovering in the air, poetry in the wind. A harsh image: never ending Soviet apartment blocks, grey sky, grey streets, grey faces, a hush all around, a terror gripping you, reaching out from every pulled-aside curtain in the window. A chaotic image: mafia men roaming the streets, lawlessness abound, money exchanges on…

A Brief but Pleasant Exile

Posted on 3 November 2013

Once upon a time, in a city far from here but in a mind very much the same, I needed to move. My edges were fraying, slivers were snatched away by the rude indifference to my person showed by this large city exemplifying cruel contrasts. It stared at me with a blank, grey face. I walked for hours along the embankments, earbuds firmly in, aimless, avoiding eye contact, snarling at beer bottles floating atop the dirty waters. I lurched on corners, waiting impatiently for the no one who would allow me to dash across the road. I stared ahead into darkness as I descended endless escalators into a stuffy, subterranean world where I held myself stubbornly, elbows out. Rage swelled as obnoxious Hummers sped past…

“Kill the King, Crown the Witches”

Posted on 29 September 2013

On April 24, 2009, I attended a Patrick Wolf concert in St. Petersburg. For those who aren’t familiar, Patrick is an English musician who is difficult to pigeonhole in a specific genre. He plays a wide variety of instruments and has a rather devoted fan base, which includes me. I considered myself very lucky: this was his first concert in the city and the venue was a short five-minute walk from my homestay—a far cry from the plane ride from Kentucky to London I took to see him previously. Fact is, I was very lucky but not because Patrick Wolf for once played a concert in the city where I was located at the time, but because I had the opportunity to attend his…