You are being watched

Amol Gokhale
Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The writer shares his travel and tour experiences, and also catches the fun and revelry during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

I could feel that people were staring at me when I walked with my new friend Stas, the manager who looks after the day-to-day affairs of the hostel I am staying at.

The reason? While I stand at just a little over five feet, Stas is about seven feet tall. No wonder we turned heads when we walked the streets of St Petersburg.

We went to the Neva riverfront and also wandered in the area near St Isaac Cathedral and the Hermitage Museum. Apart from the halts that I took for taking pictures, we were stopped by strangers too, who wanted to take pictures of us.

It wasn’t a new experience for Stas, what was new for him was that he was walking around St Pete, as the locals call it, with a foreigner for the very first time. The 24-year-old graduate in Management, with a little difficult childhood, was opening up to someone for the very first time and I listened carefully as he kept talking. It was an interesting conversation as we talked about our love for Gaming and how we spent hours in front of our computer screens playing Counter-Strike, Age of the Empires or DOTA. 

We walked along the banks of the Neva river, and the aforementioned historic sights in the city as he showed me the part of town I had not seen during the course of my stay so far. He also took me to a place called ‘Shaurma’, which was more of a budget option for both of us, and provided really delicious shaurma without burdening our pockets.

We decided to call it a day with a beer and dessert at a place next to my hostel, and where I had already spent most of my morning, writing postcards to friends. The name of the cafe/restaurant is MarketPlace and just like a grocery shop, you pick up whatever you want to have and find a space to sit and enjoy your meal. 

It’s very similar to our buffet system at weddings but the place had a vibe of its own, as I could sit there for hours writing.

My stay in St Pete will come to an end today (Wednesday) as I head to Moscow for the final week of my journey. I have realised that I need to come back to this beautiful city just as a tourist and tick all the usual boxes since I have already ticked the unusual ones this time around.

Related News