Almost ten days in one city! Not just any city – in Saint-Petersburg! It does not happen very often on my trips that I am able to book myself for such a long time in the same area. I was truly blessed with the most beautiful weather – not a drop of rain! The Dostoevsky-style of gloomy, wet, and windy Saint-Petersburg-in-the-fall weather has not arrived yet and I have been enjoying my long walks to my event locations instead of hiding away on the subway or in cabs.
One thing is very common: my teaching schedule is being constantly “corrected” by my local ministry partners and some days turned out to be overbooked, while others left me with the whole day for visiting friends and sightseeing. I even managed to cross over to the other country – Estonia – and spend half of the day walking around the medieval Swedish castle of Narva, walked across the bridge over the Narva-River and toured the opposing fortress of Ivangorod back in Russia. Interestingly, in both of them I listened to an audio-guide telling the history of the same wars and battles, invasions, and uprisings – but with totally different perspectives and accents on completely different details.
By the way, I counted the times I have crossed international borders on foot in my life:
- from Afghanistan to the USSR with my parents in 1964
- from GDR to West Germany – the Berlin Wall – in 1986 (unsuccessful)
- from Moldova to Ukraine in 2011, with a load of Surprised by Faith books in my suitcase
- from the USA to Canada over Niagara Falls in 2018 (unsuccessful – I forgot my passport)
- from Estonia to Russia in 2021 (just for fun)
I had two events yesterday, and I will be teaching two long classes today back-to-back: to public school teachers and to the catechism leaders. The first one is only an hour walk away from where I am staying and I am looking forward to taking more pictures of the Neva River banks on my way there.