Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 3 - Streets of St. Petersburg

Saturday, June 25

I had set an alarm before going to bed because I didn’t want to accidently spend the whole day sleeping. No worries on that… I ended up waking up on my own before 7:00. It really never gets totally dark here so that is probably some of it. Nothing much I could do that early in the morning, so I ate a Luna bar and read some of my book until about 8:30 when I headed downstairs to check out the hotel’s breakfast. Actually was pleasantly surprised with the selection. 

Ate a bit then headed out for my only real objective of the day – to find out where to pick up my race packet.

I had tried Google mapping from my hotel but the address and the name of the building were not recognizable to Google… either that or the choices they gave me were in Russian and not knowing the translation, I didn’t know if that was what I was looking for or not. I compared the map from their website to the one I had received at the airport, and I was pretty sure I had a general understanding of where it might be.

I walked around for a bit doing more sightseeing, knowing that the expo didn’t open until after 10:00.

Kazan Cathedral (My hotel is a few blocks away)

Shopping Mall

"Horse Tamer" on Anichkov Bridge

I happened to find the building with very little effort. Yay me! The building wasn’t labeled in any way that I would have recognized, but there were balloons around one of the archways. The “expo” was tiny. The only vendor was Mizuno and the packet pick up was pretty disorganized. There were only maybe a dozen people in front of me, but it took about a half an hour to get through. Didn’t hear anyone speaking English, but saw two guys from Mexico. I know basic Spanish and tried to initiate conversation (I haven’t talked in like two days), but they just smiled and ignored me. Boo. Then while I was waiting in line, a volunteer brought over a chair – “for the lady to rest.” LOL!! What?? I’m running a damn marathon tomorrow, I think I can stand in line to pick up my bib. Hilarious. All the information in my race back was Russian only, but the volunteer that gave me the info knew enough English to let me know there was a FREE pasta party (with FREE beer) at 5:00. Score. I’m there.

Race fee of 25 Euro ($37.85)

With that out of the way I had the rest of the day to do nothing. Wandered around a bit more then decided to head to Subway to get my lunch. I know, I know. I’m in Russia and I’m going to go to SUBWAY? It’s one of my preferred pre-race meals! And it’s right there! Hmph. Most of the signage was still confusing. All Russian with teeny tiny English translation. Of some things, but not everything. Again, the guy behind the counter knew enough English for me to feel confident that I was getting a turkey & cheese 15 cm (6”) sub. I also got chips (wow, I was feeling crazy) and a Pepsi LIGHT. It was certainly less expensive than the other meals I’ve had here. 

Figured I’d walk around a bit more and see if there was any other souvenir type stuff I would be interested in.

Russian Museum
Russian Museum

Kazan Cathedral
Found a “mall” where I had seen a Hello Kitty store advertised, but was sad to see it had closed down. Everything else seemed out of my price range. I had to use the bathroom and all the public restrooms you have to pay to use. So back to the hotel to drop off the race bag and use the bathroom. Only I was feeling tired so I figured… what is the harm in taking a nap? It was around 1:30 and I figured I could use the rest since I hadn’t slept that much the day before.

About 45 minutes later, I hear housekeeping walk right in. There isn’t anything to hang on the door for privacy, so I guess it wasn’t really their fault. Of course they could have knocked first… at least I don’t sleep naked. Dozed off and then the next thing I know it is after 4:30! Almost time for the pasta party already! Wasn’t too upset about resting in the afternoon, everything is open late here anyway.

Headed back over to the same building where I had picked up my packet and the pasta party was in full swing. There were volunteers making the plates so that slowed down the line considerably. Again, the line was short but it took a long time to get through it anyway. Like China, a pasta dinner means just that. Pasta. Got a plate of pasta with some sort of meat sauce and my free beer. All the tables were full but being in a stadium meant plenty of seating. I saw this as a great opportunity to do more people watching.

Mmmm Beeeeeer...
Took my time drinking my beer, then finally headed out. What to do for the rest of the evening… Wandered around a bit more. Then decided that hadn’t been enough food, so I stopped at a café across from the one I ate at last night. I got a Greek salad, a piece of bread, and a slice of cake. It was delicious. 

The road was briefly closed for a bunch of... roller bladers?

Had to use the bathroom again, so I headed back to the hotel and then decided to wander for a bit in the OTHER direction from hotel that I hadn’t been yet.

Not nearly as touristy and busy as the other direction, I found myself walking through quieter neighborhoods. I was starting to get tired, and wishing I wouldn’t have waiting so long before heading back. I’d also gone back a different way than I came and was concerned that maybe I was getting lost. Luckily, I have a pretty good sense of direction and ended up exactly where I wanted to be – the hotel.

Russian Bee Rad!
Trinity Cathedral

It was after 9:00 by the time I returned but I wanted to go to bed early and try to get a good nights sleep before a race. For once. But it was still too early so I played on Facebook for a while and did more reading. The race wasn’t scheduled to start until 10:00, so I had my alarm set for 7:20, which gave me more than enough time to get ready.


  1. Loving this - all your photos are great. And it's so interesting to hear how they do races in other countries...

  2. Looks to be a very pretty city. I am not likely to ever be in Russia so thanks for the pictoral mini tour!

    Hope the race is a good one for you!!

    P.S. I live in Longmont, CO and will also be doing the Longmont half in July. I'll look for you and say Hi!

  3. Maybe I'm a creeper, but one of my FAVORITE things to do is wander around residential neighborhoods while I'm travelling.

    That sounds weird.

  4. Gorgeous city! And lovely weather! How was the vodka? ;)

  5. great pics, thanks for sharing

  6. Loving all the photos. How fun to travel on your own and be able to go and do whereever you want!

  7. What a fun day of seeing really cool looking buildings! That mall - I would have never guessed it was a mall!

    It must be weird to go so long without actually having a normal conversation with anybody!

  8. this is really interesting
    I like seeing all the pics
    I love Eastern Europe
    I have been there but not to Russia.


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