Far from our goats

St. Petersburg, Russia


Pelagaeya, from the Ural Mountain region of Russia, wrote her first story for InterestEng. in 4th grade. She’s now in grade 10 and continues to delight us with her Russian stories.

EVERY summer vacation I go to my grandmother’s. I help her in a garden and with the animals. (She lives in a village.) Boring days are passing by with lots of work.  Feeding the sheep and goats twice a day, collecting eggs from the chickens, weeding the garden. There is always lots to do.

     But this year she decided to visit her old-almost-like-family-friend who lives in St. Petersburg. She had not seen her friend in over 45 years!  For many years they wrote each other but then they lost track of each other.  They found each other about five years ago thanks to a Russian version of Facebook called “The Same Class” [i.e. in school].  For grandmother it was a reunion to go see her friend. But for me it meant only one thing: I will go to culture capital of Russia! 

     On the day we arrived our friends showed us a bus route to the center of the city. The next day we woke up late because we were talking a really (really!) long time in the evening and into the night. The next day it was already 2pm when we finally went outside to explore the city. A bus from the place where we were staying to the city center took about an hour. So we visited only the famous Kazansky Cathedral and the Mikailovsky Garden that first day.

     The second day our alarm clocks saved us and we went to the Hermitage. If you have never been to the Hermitage, imagine a huge museum. Then imagine it even LARGER than you imagined it. I will only say that we were wandering there the whole day, but it would be too optimistic to say that we visited even one fifth of the rooms filled with thousands of art works.

    The third day we decided to visit Peterhof, the palace built by Peter the Great. It’s a big park with many beautiful fountains. If you are ever in St. Petersburg, you have to see it! But, please, don’t make my mistake: never buy an ice cream there, if you don’t know the price before you buy it. We bought a cone with two balls of ice cream. When a seller said, “That will be 420 rubles (about 6 dollars),” I was shocked.

     The fourth day we went to the Russian Museum. This museum is full of famous paintings. The most famous is “The ninth wave” by Aivazovsky. I wish I could tell you how wonderful the art works are!  

    The fifth day we visited what is called “The Tsar’s Village,” but it’s really a palace. We didn’t go into the palace museums, we only walked through what is called Catherine’s Park. I don’t know why but I really loved this place more than the other places we visited. There were beautiful ponds, bridges, ducks and woods.  What could be better?

     And the last day we went to the train station to go home. It was a little bit sad, but it was an amazing journey to a great city that I will always remember and always love.  I really hope you get to visit St. Petersburg someday, too, even if you don’t buy any ice cream.  —Pelagaeya

                                                         “The Ninth Wave” 

The title of this painting is very significant.  A wave builds (and rises) nine times.  The ninth wave is the largest.  In the painting, the ninth wave is coming, but we do not know if the men in their small boat survived it.

 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com