We did it. Half the time of our tour is over in 7 days we will hopefully be back in Berlin, but before we are, we have a quite an exciting way to go and imprtant cities to visit.
Our second day in St. Petersburg, after arriving yesterday, has been packed with a tight schedule. Everyone met up at one of the five busses which took us around the city of St. Petersburg. A tour guide explained to us, what the buildings were and what their history was. I have to say that St. Petersburg truly is a fascinating city. Furthermore we did several stops at the Church of Blood or the Isaac Cathedral to take some photos.
The tour guide also explained to us that St. Petersburg has one of the deepest metro system in the world and we learned, that you do not buy tickets for the Metro, but get little coins in exchange for money, which enable you to access the system and as long as you stay inside, you do not have to use another coin. Even though St. Petersburg is very big – over five million people live here – you only need an hour from one end to the other with the metro, which is why many locals choose to go that way.
After the tours ended, the groups united to once again, join a memorial for the fallen defenders of St. Petersburg in World War Two over 470.000 thousand people are buried here. Other then that people layed flowers and griefed for the victims. Speekers at those memorials are very patriotic and proud of their history and nation, yet still they are usually very respectful and mind their words when it comes to those who fell on the German side. A veteran told me in one of my interviews at one of the memorials, that he does not feel like hating the German soldiers of that time, they were following their orders and so did he. In his mind he fought against the government who gave the orders.
We split in two groups after the memorial event. The one group went to a institution of the Malteser, where mostly elder people make food for a low prize so that poor can buy it cheap. Those elders also told the participants of the Tour for Peace how they had experienced the war.
The other group though went to church that is currently under construction. Under the Sovjet regime the chuch fell apart and now people are rebuilding it, financing the whole mission via donation. Now a lot of these donation come from Germany so the organization invited some of us to say thank for that.
We also got to ride the metro as we were heading towards our next location, which was a concert hall, where we heard a speech by the well known author and Russian party leader Nikolai Starikov. Though he also let the participants ask some questions after his short presentation about geo-politics and the current danger of propaganda, that might get Germans and Russians into a war. The organizers folllowed the presentation with a nother cultural presentation, which this time was a concert by German and Russian artists.
Tomorrow we will leave St. Petersburg for Twer, which means we are getting closer and closer to Moscow. But before we get there, we have a long ride ahead of us: 540 kilometres, 6 hours and 40 minutes.