4 weeks in Russia: Seeking Serenity in St Petersburg

Today, Sunday, was a beautifully cold but sunny,  blue-sky day in St Petersburg and I took myself off to Старая Деревня, north of the city (where, I only discovered later, Restoration and Storage centre of the Hermitage museum is open to the public) I was there to visit the northernmost Buddhist temple in Russia, built in 1915,  officially recognised in 1989 and now very popular with tourists. It took me twenty minutes on the metro, changing once, and then under ten minutes to walk to the temple. It looks incongruous next to tall concrete skyscrapers with the noise of traffic from the main road,  but when you enter the large gates you are in peaceful oasis. The temple is fronted by a garden with sculptures and spinning prayer wheels with benches to sit and relax.  It’s free to go inside except for the five roubles for those ubiquitous blue plastic shoe covers, and you can visit the ornate prayer rooms and even go into the basement for cabbage soup in a little cafe.

The area seems fairly prosperous – a contrast to the long walk I did on Saturday with my son from Lomonosovskaya metro to Obyxovo metro, where we walked parallel to a sinister-looking industrial plant, hidden by high walls and barbed wire, next to an equally sinister looking “”State psychiatric hospital number 6″…

This week I am on leave from Moodle and am continuing the lessons at Liden & Denz without the stress of an upcoming exam. I feel I’ve been through some of the mental stress of the latter picture from Saturday’s walk and am hoping now for some of the serenity of the former picture from today’s excursion 🙂

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