Our international students are so excited spending their days in Petrozavodsk now that they want to snatch an opportunity to share their impressions of the town with others. Here is the first robin from Birmingham group leader Rhys Stefanssohn about the 310th anniversary of Petrozavodsk.
On the first weekend of our stay in Petrozavodsk, the Birmingham group got to experience the Day of the City! Not having an analogous festival in Birmingham, or indeed in Britain, we were all very curious about what such an event would entail. Needless to say, the day fulfilled our expectations and even exceeded them!
Heading down to the embankment by the lake, the festive atmosphere already became apparent to us halfway down Lenin Avenue, as traffic had been cut off to allow revellers on to the street, and people were gaily handing out balloons and flags with hearts on them. Even from one of our favourite haunts, Neu-Brandenburg bar, the beats and rhythms of the bands performing on the stages along the banks of the Onega could be heard.
When we arrived at the event, we headed straight for the rides in the theme park. Whilst these were greatly enjoyed by most in our group, some enjoyed themselves a little too much, going on several rides consecutively and ended up feeling rather sick for a while!
However, there is no cure for sickness like some good food! So we decided to follow up the theme park trip with lunch at one of the bars selling shashlik on the embankment. As British kebabs are normally greasy and dubiously cooked, many were rather apprehensive at their first experience of Russian shashlik. Luckily, the concerns proved to be unfounded and the much better quality Russian version of the dish was a resounding success amongst the Brits!
After lunch, we then perused the many stalls along the embankment, which were ideal for gift buying! Having stocked up on all sorts of nick-nacks for British grannies back home, some of the braver in the group had a go at some of the many games on offer. We threw darts at balloons, and tried to suspend from metal bars for two minutes, but clearly, the fact that we were novices to the games didn’t pay off, as we neither managed to win prizes nor beat the Russian contestants in strength! We will have to do some training before next year!
All in all, we had an unforgettable day out and saw Petrozavodsk in a new light. We can’t wait for what the city still has in store for us!