While I make an effort to improve my opening lines, my attention has been drawn to another of my writing faults, my titles. I must admit titles for me are always somewhat of an afterthought. Having written my blog I tend to think of a few words that describe the article content and just stick them together somehow or other. Sometimes this creates what I consider to be rather poetic titles, but predominantly the titles end up being rather dull and trite. The reason that my attention was drawn to this issue at all was because of my most recent post entitled ‘The Dangers Of St Petersburg’. The concern with this title was not its lack of creativity, but rather the fear that it sparked with people close to me. I received a number of messages upon its publication accusing me of causing arrhythmias and heart problems as friends assumed the worse. I had to accept responsibility for this as the title could admittedly be construed as a tad misleading. However, in my own defence I had meant the title in a light-hearted and ironic tone, but in the five words of the title, it is not easy to convey the specific tone intended.
While the problem of my titles weighs heavy on my mind I must admit that it is something I am unlikely to change in the near future, if ever. With that admission of guilt, I commence with other St Petersburg news. While the last few weeks has not been particularly filled with adventure, it has been a very St Petersburg few weeks. While that may seem rather cryptic I will attempt to define what I mean by that rather vague sentiment.
St Petersburg, as I have repeatedly claimed, is one of the most entirely beautiful cities I have ever been to in my life. Charm winds its way through the city like the numerous canals that it lies upon. It is the absolute definition of the ‘hidden gem’. Not only is the city rather a hidden gem, as it is not particularly high on many (English at least) tourists lists, but also the way the city presents itself means that you find yourself discovering new and delightful areas in the most unlikely of places. Up seemingly every dusty, misshapen and decaying staircase is a beautiful cafe adorned with something suitably strange like a decorative gold bath (yes, there is a bath in the centre of one of the cafes I frequent). This idiosyncratic beauty makes St Petersburg an absolute delight to live in, as just when you think you know the city inside and out, you suddenly stumble upon a new oddity that you fall in love with.
The charms of the city are not just hidden within the pale coloured buildings or up crumbling staircases, but also exist in the wide expanses that the city is also home to. In the last few days, the novelty of walking on canals and rivers has started to wear off. This is not helped by the fact that the edges of the rivers have begun looking distinctly slushy and thus have become increasingly difficult to walk on. So in an effort to get out of the comfort of the city centre, I made the decision to head to the sea.
The sea is not difficult to get to from St Petersburg, it is, in fact, rare to be more than about two miles from the coast at any one point. So I hopped on the tube with my two flatmates and headed northward. Having made it to the coastline, preceded by a large tree-filled park, we realised that at the sea, unlike the rivers and canals, was still frozen solid. So we decided to take a stroll on the ocean. It was a fairly awe-inspiring experience and rather belittled my previous experiences of walking on frozen bodies of water. Walking out onto such a vast expanse of ice tends to make one feel rather small. We walked for just over a mile onto the ocean until our only company was a lone fisherman sitting in a deck chair. We decided that rather than disturbing him in his solitude, we would take our leave and walk, or slide rather, along the ice back home.
As one might expect from a body of frozen water, its surface was rather slippery. This meant that most of our time was spent like children running and sliding along the ice. That is probably why we ‘walked’ so far because it was really fun and we got distracted. Some members of our group were having a little too much fun which led to me being rugby tackled to the ground not once, but twice. Thus with an aching back, I clambered back onto the tube and headed home, feeling windswept and content.