Facts for the visitor to St. Petersburg:
1. Russians used to be sent to Siberia for taking snuff. And they used to have their septums cut out.
2. Young Peterites look lithe and hearty to the casual visitor
3. Peterites like eating ice-creams in the snow.
4. It’s beautiful in March. Except for the grey slush everywhere. Young Peterites are schooled in ice walking so that even when old and crooked, they can speed along the iciest of paths dodging hapless tourist gimps, offering to hold their hands when they stumble.
5. There are a fair few ‘English’ pubs serving fish and chips. But not as many as in Skeggy or Malaga.
6. Breaking ice on the pavement is a job for women. They have big iron rods which they pound into the ground, wearing headscarves and oversized facial skin.
7. Certain museums are closed on a Wednesday.
8. Gostiny Dvor is the city’s hottest place. Which means you have to get virtually nekked to pass any time in there, and walk very slowly to avoid passing out. It’s a multi-story shopping centre. Which sells jeans
9. Hotel Oktyabrskaya is okay – a single room with TV and own bathroom costs around 40 USD