Friday, 27 July 2012

First week in Lund

My first days in the sunny town of Lund, in the south of Sweden, are being quite good and relaxing. Lund is a small student's town of around 80.000 inhabitants, very clean, safe, and with bike lanes everywhere. People don't actually need cars here.
Only 10 km away from Lund there is a small municipality of Lomma in which there is a very nice beach with shallow and calm water. There is even a 10km-track for bikes only to get to Lomma beach from Lund. There is, as well, a 20km-track to get to Malmö. I've been here since 9 days ago and I feel very healthier than normal since I go to work by bike everyday and I can also go to gym after work or in the hotel. One more positive thing related to health is that beer here contains maximum 3.5% of alcohol and can be bought also in 0.33l cans, so if I need to open one can of beer when watching TV, it doesn't need to be 0.5l with 5% of alcohol. I know it's not a big difference but can definitely be perceived on long-term basis.
Beer with ~5% alcohol at bars/clubs cost around 50 SEK (~6 EUR), so it's also preventing me from buying those since I don't 'like' this price. So, when partying with friends, it's better to drink beer from supermarket with 3,5% and complement with high-quality Polish vodka. Since alcohol is veeery expensive here, if you are the person carry some bottles and offering vodka to people here, you can get many friends! ;)
The weather here is awesome. For the last 5 days, it's been so sunny and warm that I "had" to pay a visit to to Lomma beach (by bike, of course) with my new group of international friends (from Couchsurfing and Facebook) to play some volleyball and to barbeque. I haven't taken so many photos so far but I am putting them on my picasa album, little by little. To see the photos, click on the link below:

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Saint Petersburg

My last stop in Russia was the marvelous city of Saint Petersburg. I decided to remove Moscow from my original travel plan, so I could enjoy seven days exploring the enchanting streets of "Leningrad" (this is how St. Petersburg used to be called before 1991). 
St. Petersburg is a very big city! Its metro has five interconnected lines which are very efficient and one can ride for as low as 27 RUR for a single-trip. It's definitely recommended to get a map at airport because it's easy to get lost and people won't talk to you in English on the streets - So get your self a phrasal book too!

It's summer, now in St. Petersburg they have their so-called 'white nights'. The sun actually sets but it won't be completely dark until it rises again. Nice time for parties and clubbing. 

If I would have to describe St. Petersburg in one line I would simply use the equation: "Vienna + Amsterdam = St. Petersburg". The sumptuousness of Vienna with the channels and fun of Amsterdam. Does anyone have a better equation? Please comment on! :)
One thing I should warn you, my reader, is about the price of the beer! Russia in general is famous for cheap alcohol and drinking practice but, well, this won't apply to Moscow or St. Petersburg. Beer costs more than 200 RUR (~ 5 EUR) in bars/clubs in the city center. I've seen a pint of Guinness for 270 RUR (~6,50 EUR). So, organize well your 'pre-party' somewhere else before going to a bar or club. By doing this you may save a lot of money.

Most of the fancy places to see, restaurants and bars are located in Nevsky avenue (Nevsky prospect) or close to it. If you like arts, you should definitely see the hermitage  museum. I'm not much into arts, so I just visited nice spots to take photos like the church of the spilled blood (depicted in the photo beside), as well as the fortress of Peter and Paul and Kronshtadt island. I was much more tuned in the night life. :)
I guess this is my last post about my 1-month trip to Russia, so here are my last comments on Russian beer: My favourite Russian beer is Nevskoe lager! Really nice one! The beer "Baltica 7" is also good, but must be very cold. I really miss the Nevskoe now that I'm back to Poland! 
Bottled Guinness in Russia are fake, they just taste like a normal "porter" beer (bitter dark beer). They can fool other people, not me! I've been to St. James' gate in Dublin, I know the taste of a real one. ;) 

I've added more photos to the album, so there are more than 200 now. To see them, click here!