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Pole to Pole

Day 30: Leningrad to Novgorod

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleWake up to my thirteenth-floor view of Leningrad for the last time. I shall miss the comforting presence of the broad river, with its embankment pathway along which I ran in the early evening, past boys fishing and men walking dogs and lovers arguing. One evening I discovered a dream house along there, number forty, Sverdlovskaya. It must have dated from the eighteenth century - the golden age of Tsarist Leningrad - for it had an elegant three-storey classical fašade from which extended curving crescents, each one culminating in a perfectly proportioned pavilion. The front of the house was guarded by a heavy chain running through the mouths of fifteen stone lions. It was deserted, a relic of another time, of Leningrad's aristocratic past, now almost lost among the factories, warehouses and apartment blocks of the proletarian present.

At the bus station in Leningrad is one of the small-ads boards which offer details of neighbourhood services, things for sale, and lost and found. The preoccupations of Leningraders look pretty similar to our own - 'Back massage, manual therapy', 'Rottweilers Club' - though there was one which surprised me: 'Seal . . . intelligent, lovable, tender'. Required for lasagne?
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 30
  • Country/sea: USSR
  • Place: Leningrad
  • Book page no: 65

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