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Photographs by Nadja Bülow

From Ronja to Russia

August 22nd, 2008 by Misja · 1 Comment

After a week of island hopping along the Finnish coast, we arrived at the Russian custom service in St. Petersburg. It was a strange get together in our ship saloon when the customs entered our ‘territory.’ It suddenly made me aware of the state we were in. The men all wearing uniforms and shiny shoes and the women on high heels with heavy make-up, sat next to us - a bunch of un-showered wilds, no shoes, dirty clothes, sunburned faces and that special look in the eyes that tells we have been in another world for a while. In this world of eating fresh fish from the barbeque, looking for wild berries on desolated islands, playing late night card games on the pier, constantly surrounded by the sound of the sea. I felt like ‘Ronja Rovärdotter’

Slowly we came back to the civilized world: took a shower, found a laundry to wash our clothes and drank real coffee- one of my favourite activities when entering a harbour. While we enjoyed dinner in town, I felt overwhelmed by the beautiful massive buildings and all the friendly people. When we went back to the laundry to pick up our clean stuff, we enjoyed the fact that this tiny place is also a nice café with a lot of freaky people. We got into an arm-pushing contest, enthusiastically cheering for our German friend who had a close battle with a Russian guy. Our bar tour ended somewhere dancing in ‘Datcha’. Walking back to the ship I noticed that, despite the city being so huge and mondaine, St. Petersburg had made me feel very welcome, almost at home even.
The next day the sun let us down exactly at the moment our festival officially opened. Heavy rain came as an unwanted guest, but as it turned out it give our festival opening a surprisingly special touch. The fantastic six-people blazer band, some eight clowns, the whole crew and all the sixty guests moved together with champagne and food from the dock to the deck of our ship under the small 20m² plastic roof. We sat cheek to cheek, enjoying this opening that felt more like a Kusturica film than an official reception. Even when some thirty minutes later the heavy rain stopped and the sun came out, people stayed under the roof, dancing to the great music and chatting in multiple languages.
I look forward to the next three festival days here in St. Petersburg, with the Russians who keep on surprising me positively with their openness and warm attitude. Although it feels a bit strange to write this while the war with Georgia is going on, I feel obligated to all the people I have met here, to express my positive impressions on a personal level.

Category: Off-shore · St. Petersburg

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Lathaiday // Nov 13, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Спасибо за пост! Добавил блог в RSS-ридер, теперь читать буду регулярно..

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