We are cool


Ozerki to Zelenogorsk by bike – then by train to St Petersburg

In all senses – it rained overnight and by morning the temperature had dropped. As it was Sunday there was little traffic so we rode off towards St Petersburg. We passed a red and white lighthouse almost completely obscured by trees, several abandoned shops, a few small villages and some unlittered beaches. The bus stops along the road broke the monotony of the landscape that is mainly forest, forest and more forest.

The traffic increased during the morning so it was a relief to find an off-road walking and bike path (in variable condition) for the last 5 or so kilometres into Zelenogorsk from where we took a train to St Petersburg. Ticket purchasing was aided by Google translate – I held up my phone so the woman could read what we wanted in Russian and I could avoid revealing my bad accent.

St Petersburg is a big place, but not too bad for cycling on a Sunday. There are trams and trolley buses and lots to take in. We made our way to Vasilievsky Island to find our Warmshowers hosts – not easy to do but we eventually succeeded. Sasha (designer and illustrator) and Vlad (cook) live in a tiny apartment in an 8 storey building. The area around here has many medium and high rise apartment buildings, not all in a good state of repair. Sasha is an aspiring triathlete and had just completed a swim around an island in the Neva River, after which she needed to take antibiotics to counteract any effects from the poor water quality.

After drinking a cup of Karelian tea, we went out to walk a km or so to the Gulf of Finland along an expensively engineered and landscaped canal that should be a public recreation asset but has an air of delapidation. Near the sea is a view of many massive high rise buildings, football stadium, huge freeway, cruise ship terminal and the Lahkta Centre, an 87 storey skyscraper.

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