27 July 2008

A good bit on Vyborg, and not very much on Novgorod.

Yesterday, I left my house at 6:55 in order to catch a 7:40 train. I ended up leaving much later than I intended to, and needed to take the metro to the train station. As I may or may not have mentioned, my host family lives about 15-20 minutes away from the nearest metro station on foot. So for the first time by myself, I flagged down a car and paid a guy 100 rubles to take me to the metro station. (Don't worry - that's completely normal in Russia.) Anyway I got there in time for the days's excursion. After a two hour train ride, we arrived in Vyborg (vui-berg), which is an older town on the Baltic coast that's got a history including both Russian and Scandinavian ownership. Consequently, it's much less heavy on the Russian architecture than Pskov or Novgorod or Petersburg. We spent the morning walking around the city with the best tour guide I've had on this trip (an old pensioner), and he would frequently stop in front of buildings and tell us about them. He was also one of the most understandable tour guides I've had. He spoke slowly enough to process what he was saying (even long enough to process chetirnadsataya veka = 14th century = .... 1300s), and had a good sense of what words we did and didn't understand.

In the afternoon we walked around a bit more and went to a park, which was quite wonderful. After our tour ended, a couple of folks went swimming, and then while she was climing along some of the rocks on the shore, Olga, the organizer of our cultural excursion program, slid down the rocks and fell in the lake. It was hilariously funny (though not from her perspective), but her clothes dried before the bus ride back to Petersburg.

That pretty much sums up this weekend. I suppose I could tell you about last week, though.

Last weekend we had a trip to Novgorod, which is also really old, too. There was a big beach there, and some of us went swimming, which was incredibly enjoyable. I was trying to throw rocks from the river bed around with my foot, which probably looked pretty ridiculous. We also drank some of this delicious honey beer they sell at this tent next to the beach.

Then, the highlight, or rather lowlight, of the week was that I happened to catch a cold. I brought five doses of Tylenol Cold along with me, which lasted about a day and half. My host family gave me some herbal tea that was supposed to help, but it tasted really awful, so I went back to the regular black tea. They also gave me some stuff, which I think works kind of like Vicks, but I opted for taking my Tylenol Cold instead. Wednesday, after school, I went to a drugstore and found some 'Antiflu' medicine, which has been working well, when I remember to take it. I then proceeded to go to a little grocery store and pick up some orange juice. My strategy for handling anything with cold-like symptoms is to drink orange juice. I mean, if I have orange juice, I can't be sick, right? The two don't mix! So I drank the bulk of a 1.5 liter box in about an hour. It was awesome.

Oh, I also got my first sunburn here in Vyborg. After spending about 7-8 hours outside. And I'm not even that burned. What a deal!

And in the spirit of 'pics or it didn't happen' (a CPAAG thing (a Ravelry thing)), photos will go up tomorrow, when I'm not paying for wi-fi access at Idealnaya Chashka.

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