After Moscow, the study abroad cohort spent the rest of Spring Break in SAINT PETERSBURG.
After our train ride from Moscow, we walked from the train station all the way to Soul Kitchen Hostel. It was like heaven entering the hostel and being greeted by such lovely people. Soul Kitchen definitely enhanced our time in Saint Petersburg and helped us to relax and unwind after our long days. Not only was it the coolest and most aesthetically pleasing place I have ever stayed in, every morning for breakfast, one of the nice employees baked us apple cake!! Did I already mention how this hostel was like heaven?!
During our time in Saint Petersburg, we saw so many sights and experienced a lot from the Russian culture. We explored the local neighborhoods and markets, seeing the homes of the main character and author from Crime and Punishment and trying local doughnuts along the way. Some of us were even excited to visit and buy souvenirs at the beautiful bookstore on the main road (which was also right next to Starbucks). I would definitely recommend stopping in!
Our days were also filled the visits to different museums, which were full of interesting information and collections. I visited the Kunstkamera, which is one of the first ever museums in Russia established by Peter the Great. It is an anthropology museum and also displays different scientific and anatomical finds of the time period. Other students visited the house of the Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova, Peter and Paul’s Fortress, and the Grand Maket Russia. Everyone could choose their own options, and this made the experience quite unique and intentional. We also visited the Hermitage in Palace Square, which was so impressive. There is so much to see there! I would recommend going during your free time to the main building and the yellow building (where we saw Picasso paintings). Even at night for free time, the museums were open until 9 p.m., and it’s sort of fun being there when there aren’t a lot of people looking around.
Our evening activities were just as exciting and spectacular as what we did during the day. We attended Feel Yourself Russian in Nikolaevsky Palace. We watched and listened to amazing dancing and singing performances in Russian. The show was very interactive, and it was so much fun to be clapping along with the audience. The next night, we all dressed up for the Russian Ballet. It was a lot like going to prom with everyone fixing their hair and putting on our fancy (and by that point our only clean) outfits for the ballet. We saw Swan Lake, and it was incredible, truly captivating.
Some other sights included the different churches: St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Kazaan Cathedral, and Spilt Blood Church. All were masterpieces and breathtaking both inside and outside. Some of us even chose to go to St. Catherine’s palace, which was again another impressively beautiful sight. If you like the movie, Anastasia, then I would recommend going to see this palace. I felt like a princess walking into the different rooms that portrayed the royalty who once lived there.
On the last day in Russia, the cohort visited the sauna. This is an experience I will never forget, and I would definitely recommend to future study abroad students. Not only was it a local, cultural experience, we got to meet some really nice women and enjoy our time at the sauna with them. It was so much fun and relaxing! Afterwards, we were ready to sleep as we left the city.
There was so much to do and see in Saint Petersburg. From bridges to churches to colorful buildings, it was an amazing city. Although our feet hurt after the long days, our hearts were full of all the memories we made on this journey.
The trip to Russia has so much to offer. It is a ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity. I am incredibly grateful for the experience and the work of our amazing coordinators. I bonded with different people from the cohort, saw things I had only dreamed of seeing, and felt a deep sense of happiness and fulfillment from this trip.
Russia, спасибо (thank you) for all of the memories!