Rubles and Ramblings

Rubles and Ramblings

Friday, May 15, 2015

Это Россия

This post is my farewell to Saint Petersburg.  With the title translating to "This is Russia", enjoy these pictures and video from my last week here in this beautiful city.  Now, here's goodbye to my Russian home, Санкт-Петербург.
St. Nicholas Cathedral
Victory Day 05.09.15
Admiralty Building 05.09.15

Peterhof Palace 05.11.15
Peterhof Gardens 05.11.15

Peterhof  Palace & Gardens 05.11.15
Peterhof Palace & Gardens 05.11.15

Rainy days 
Matryoshka Dolls
Sunset on my walk home
Entrance to Palace Square
View from the top of St. Isaac's 05.12.15
View from the top of St. Isaac's 05.12.15
View of the Hermitage from the Neva
River Cruise 05.14.15
St. Petersburg~ Venice of the North 05.14.15
Goodbye, 28 Grazhdanskiy Prospect 
Thank you again to everyone who reads my posts!  I have had the best semester of my life and am sad to see it go.  This experience has taught me so much about myself and the crazy world we live in.  Russia, I will be back someday 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

My Weekend In The Land of Abba & IKEA

If you didn't guess from the title, this weekend I packed my bags and flew to Stockholm, Sweden with my two friends Kathleen and Shayla.  It was an impulse decision to go; we had a 4 day weekend so we said "why not!" and booked our tickets.  The weekend turned out to be one of the best trips since coming abroad!
Day 1 in Stockholm began with breakfast at Espresso House, basically Starbucks only 10x better.  They are all over the city, so it became our little tradition to go there every morning for breakfast.   
After bagels and fresh juice for breakfast, we decided to wander around the city.  We walked along the harbor admiring all the sailboats and buildings.  
Our wanderings took us all the way to a different island of Stockholm. 
On this island was the Vasa Museum.  This is a museum dedicated to the Vasa, a Swedish ship from the 17th century.  I'm not kidding when I say this ship looks straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean!  It sank in the harbor during its maiden voyage in 1628.  In 1950, it was finally located and restored.  Now, the Vasa museum houses this beautiful ship that is 95% original.  It was hard to get a good picture because of how massive the ship is, but it was incredible to see and learn about its history.

Replica of the Vasa before it sank
After the Vasa Museum we went to the Abba Museum!  Being a big Dancing Queen fan, this was a really fun experience.  They had all the costumes the band wore, a disco room, and a stage where you could sing and dance with Abba holograms...That was actually really creepy.  We ended our long day of walking around the city by treating ourselves with a few drinks at a bar.  Note to self: Swedish drinks cost a fortune.  
Day 2 in Stockholm was cold and rainy...That didn't stop us from exploring the city though.  We went to Sweden's largest steel bridge where they had incredible panoramic views of Stockholm.  It was so windy and rainy that I had a difficult time getting good pictures, but it was still really fun and we had a good laugh walking along trying not to blow away. 
Lock on the bridge
After the bridge, we checked out the Old Town of Stockholm.  I really loved this part of the city, the winding alleyways and old Swedish architecture was really charming.
Since we had been walking around all day, we desperately searched for a place to eat in the Old Town.  The moment we landed in Sweden I was determined to have Swedish meatballs.  This was a difficult feat simply because of how expensive Sweden is, every place charged at least $18 for a dish.  We ended up finding a small cafe that had our sought after meatballs and they were delicious- way better than IKEA's.  
We stuffed ourselves with meatballs then popped into some souvenir shops and had a good time trying on some Swedish themed hats...That night we signed up for a bar crawl, which ended up being the best night in Stockholm.  We met up with our friends from the hostel and had a great time dancing and meeting new people.

Overall, Stockholm is a great city.  The only complaint I have is how expensive everything is there...When I'm not on a college student's budget, I would love to go back (I say that about every place I visit, I know).  Now I'm just enjoying the rest of my time in St. Petersburg before I leave.  The trees are starting to bloom here, so it is finally beginning to feel like spring!  Thanks for reading, more posts about my final weeks abroad will be coming soon!

Breakfast with our 2 new friends from Austria & Paris
Goodbye, Sweden!