Author Topic: Time in Pushkin now days  (Read 13096 times)

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Offline vladm

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Time in Pushkin now days
« on: August 23, 2007, 04:14:03 PM »
Folks,
I am spending some time in Pushkin. I apologize for silence and secrecy (but I have a reason for it), I have only few days left to stay, and I am planning to stop by at AP and Catherine Palace. I can fulfill minor requests in regards - taking some pictures of the particular places, but you must hurry with it.
It short description, how did I like changes in Pushkin/St. Petersburg for past 10+ years: I did not! Complete report will follow...
You can't avoid our past.
Virtual Pushkin / Tsarskoye Selo

Offline dmitri

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2007, 08:14:27 AM »
enjoy the gardens at Tsarskoe

Offline vladm

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2007, 04:41:45 PM »
I went through entire Catherine Park/Palaces, and took close to 2000 pictures, unfortunately time was very compressed.
Let me describe positive experience about this travel first:
1. despite huge amount of visitors, entire park able to distribute them across evenly, but I should give this benefit to its original architects.
2. I was glad to see, a lot of reconstruction and repair, but everything about Catherine Park, and structures located there.
3. Catherine Palace and Park in Excellent condition
4. Taxi in Pushkin arriving with in 4-5 min upon request and taking you to other Pushkin destination no more than $3-$5 per trip.

now lets review negative points about traveling to Pushkin/Tsarskoye Selo

1. Pedestrians should watch out for cars at all time, regardless of presence crossing zebra, and run crossing intersection, because car, will not wait for you.
2. Prices at Pushkin restaurants and quality of the food completely unreasonable, so bring your own sandwich, only possible to get from local stores normal mineral water (prices on the level of $1 per bottle), I would recommend Aqua Minerale (Coca Cola)
3. Pollution of the most of the cars on the really high level due to the bribe method acquiring smog check license, regardless of the car condition.
4. Drivers insist in most of the cases not to put seat belt, only my answer: "I have 2 kids, buzzing them off".
5. All of the restaurants without smoking restrictions, so if you can not stand smoke of cigarettes, tough luck for you... 
6. Prices for foreigners double or triple already high price of the museums
7. Catherine palace divided on two alleys east and west, east alley for organized tour buses and west for regular visitors, because of that, palace looks very small, if you have a desire to see entire palace, you have to ask specifically to take a second tour, and pay for second entry, or just simply sneak in the tail of the second group (in the main entry) and switch behind the yellow cable in the Great Hall joining one of the organize groups (this way you will miss only 2 rooms of the palace).


I could continue very long about my trip, but I don't want to discourage you to visit St. Petersburg / Pushkin
As much I love my hometown, where I grew up, I become very alienated from this place, and all experience of seen my friends and family give me great grief instead of happiness.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2007, 04:55:25 PM by vladm »
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Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2007, 06:09:10 PM »
Hi Vladm--

I read your comments with great interest since I visited Pushkin and the Catherine Palace with a tour group in 1993. We were in Pushkin during just the late morning and early afternoon, our hotel accomodations being in St. P.  The Pushkin restaurant where we lunched was very pleasant and our meals were included with the cost of the tour, so I'm not sure what the restaurant charged us, but the food was quite good. However, I did notice that automobile regulations are not typically enforced, and smoking is almost the rule rather than the exception.

I greatly enjoyed our tour of the Catherine Palace. Unfortunately the Alexander Palace was not open at the time, though I did hike over and took a few photos of the palace from a distance. 

I should mention that during the tour of the Catherine Palace I purchased a large poster-size calendar for the 1993/1994 years, featuring a very fine artistic despiction of Nicholas, Alexandra and their children. Perhaps because we were visiting in August 1993 and 25% of the calendar time was in the past, it cost me just one American dollar for two calendars. (Although I understand that one American dollar was worth quite a lot in the Ukranian economy!) The seller neatly rolled them up and secured them and I was absolutely thrilled to bring home what I considered two very inexpensive treasures!

Our time in Pushkin concluded with a visit to the fabulous Pavlosk. Of course the entire day, from sunrise to sunset, could have been spent just at the Catherine Palace and Park, or just at Pavlosk!

If I could return to Russia I'd definitely spend more time at Pushkin; it is quite beautiful and historic, and obviously there's a great deal to explore.

Janet


P.S. I understand your feelings about revisiting your hometown. My hometown also has changed; of course, so have I! The passage of time does bring about changes, whether we like them or not . . .

Offline vladm

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2007, 09:38:56 PM »
Janet,
I left Pushkin in 1995, 2 years after your visit, and changes I've seen, will be similar, from what you would see visiting Pushkin today. Restaurant prices, quite changed from that time, for example tea in one of the restaurants in Pushkin will be 200 rubles - about $8 US, honestly this is more than Ritz Carlton in Paris, service and environment not even on comparable level. Other restaurant served duck with raspberry vinegar sauce, but chef forgot to do reduction of the blend - my plate had 1/2 of the duck and 1/2 of the defrost raspberry literally blended with white vinegar, and duck probably died last year from running for its life, however price was about 680 rubles ~$25 US without garnish.

I not mind to pay adequate price for its service, if business owner asking that much, he/she discouraging clients to comeback. I am truly believe, I can find better places to enjoy my vacation elsewhere.
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Offline Belochka

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2007, 07:16:04 AM »
... I could continue very long about my trip, but I don't want to discourage you to visit St. Petersburg / Pushkin
As much I love my hometown, where I grew up, I become very alienated from this place, and all experience of seen my friends and family give me great grief instead of happiness. 

Hi Vlad!

How very sad to hear this. I however am not discouraged to return next year. We spent many wonderful days leisurely wandering around Pushkin.

The Imperial Lyceum where Alexander Pushkin attended school, seeing the lab equipment, the globe and books, wandering pensively along each of the levels and being allowed to sit on the classroom chair where he sat and received his lessons was awesome. I could almost visualize Pushkin standing before me in that famously depicted pose giving his magnificent recitation of "Reminiscences in Tsarskoye Selo" in the main hall. It was in this place where Alexander Pushkin developed his literary passion and became Russia's finest poet!

Sadly hardly anyone else cared to be there whilst we were visiting.

Margarita
« Last Edit: September 01, 2007, 07:19:27 AM by Belochka »


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Offline ChristineM

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2007, 01:42:43 PM »
I'm afraid I have to agree with Vladm.   Its not the same place.   More prosperous, but due to rip off, not because of fundamental economic improvement.   I think that the Soviet Pushkin of almost 20 years ago was much closer, in many ways, to pre-revolutionary Tsarskoe Selo.   The profile of its occupants had obviously changed, but there was something relaxed and magical about the place.   These qualities have been touristed (apologies for the clumsy neologism) out of the place.   Twenty years ago the tourists were mostly Russian - their reasons for visiting, were very different to the endless processing of humanity which goes on today.

Best thing - go in February (but keep it secret).

tsaria

PS:  I trust you found your, distinguished, father well Vladm.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2007, 01:45:05 PM by tsaria »

Offline dmitri

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2007, 11:51:36 PM »
I was warned by my very good guide to avoid the high season as it is simply unbearable. I went in January and although cold it was wonderful and there was no trouble seeing anything. I guess you just have to pick the right time and if you go as a captive tourist without a great knowledge you do get taken advantage of anywhere. You have to be insistent on what you want to see. I didn't find it a problem and I found the people I encountered most obliging. I had my own guide and driver and it is really not that expensive for the value you receive and the time saved in not being herded like sheep with others who waste time.

Offline vladm

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2007, 02:21:03 AM »
I'm afraid I have to agree with Vladm.   Its not the same place.   More prosperous, but due to rip off, not because of fundamental economic improvement.   I think that the Soviet Pushkin of almost 20 years ago was much closer, in many ways, to pre-revolutionary Tsarskoe Selo.   The profile of its occupants had obviously changed, but there was something relaxed and magical about the place.   These qualities have been touristed (apologies for the clumsy neologism) out of the place.   Twenty years ago the tourists were mostly Russian - their reasons for visiting, were very different to the endless processing of humanity which goes on today.
tsaria, you've got my point of view with 100% expression, Pushkin/Tsarskoye Selo - become money milking machine: level of education for people, who visited today, pop culture our time, they come to town, because its written in the tourist guide, not because this place tells them something, and reason to come - take a picture "me and Catherine Palace". Luckily or maybe sadly AP remaining a side from tourist attractions, luckily because AP not commercialize they way how CP, but sadly because AP cut off from the founds, what AP deserved for restoration. 

PS:  I trust you found your, distinguished, father well Vladm.

tsaria, thanks for asking, but unfortunately, main purpose of my trip was a funeral of my father...

but don't take me wrong, anger I have about TS or Russia little to do with loosing my father, mostly what this place become, or to what extreme people took there own place. Most of the Russian people blaming situation, what there end up with, but none of them actually do something that can make a difference, for example: education does not exist as a class, schools are not teaching anymore, universities the same way, education places corrupted all the way, in order to pass exams or pass through the grades, parents of the kids need to bribe. So, kids stop learning: because why to learn? - if you paying for it. Medical service, also does not exist, emergency service come to the patient and first question they ask: "how old are you?", not "what's wrong?", diagnoses done by wild guesses instead of base on proven medical evaluation: blood pressure, cardiogram, temperature. Patients are not treated at all in the hospital, even if you pay for it.
If patient don't have a relatives, usually he/she just left to die with out any service at all.
Police stop acting completely: if someone will attack you in front of the police vehicle, they will not going to help you in any way.
Everything I described here, my personal or my friends/relatives experience, and not just one or two situational problem, this is country wide horror.

Also, I am talking about fundamental base of the country here!
School, Medical service, Police

Every single direction, I can backup with endless horror stories I've learn during this trip, and high/slow season nothing to do with it.
You can't avoid our past.
Virtual Pushkin / Tsarskoye Selo

Offline dmitri

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2007, 10:36:45 PM »
interesting observations .. mind you the school groups I saw in the Hermitage Museum were far more able than in many other countries in their ability to concentrate and listen .. it can't be all bad

Offline Belochka

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2007, 11:45:44 PM »
interesting observations .. mind you the school groups I saw in the Hermitage Museum were far more able than in many other countries in their ability to concentrate and listen .. it can't be all bad

Their teachers are still able to maintain better discipline and the pupils are probably genuinely interested.

Margarita


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Offline vladm

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2007, 10:53:38 AM »
interesting observations .. mind you the school groups I saw in the Hermitage Museum were far more able than in many other countries in their ability to concentrate and listen .. it can't be all bad

around St. Petersburg close to 2000 schools, each of them has on the level of 6 classes qualified to visit Hermitage Museum for many reasons, 12000 classes divide by 300 school days in the year, - so in order to keep nation floating you should be able to see somewhere close to 40 classes during one day or 10 per hour, because they can visit only during the morning hours. What have you seen in Hermitage, it was probably commercial lyceum, only few people can afford it.
Kids asking to patents: "how much did they pay for passing the unit", and answer "nothing" considered as a joke.
I spoke with few of my friends, and folks told me level of bribe, in some cases, they have to pay per year for kids to study is close to $16k, I ask them why to bother with Russian universities at all, when kids can go to any part of the world for that much money, answer I got, they will not be able to join, because all of the openings taken by kids of the officials (in Russia for foreign universities exchange program run by "appropriate" people).

also dmitri , I am not doing just observation, I am trying to make a difference with a less fortunate, I don't like to donate through organization I do direct, and mentoring
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Virtual Pushkin / Tsarskoye Selo

Offline dmitri

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Re: Time in Pushkin now days
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2007, 07:04:33 AM »
The display of art from Russian children in the Hermitage was simply marvellous.