St Petersburg | Russia

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What a wonderful opportunity! After a successful store opening in Kazan, the team flew to St Petersburg to present new store concepts to the client. Whilst I hate flying and it is probably one of the most stressful things I endure, the joy of touching down in a new country with new culture is enough to keep me going. And Russia is such a different place!

But I surprisingly love it.

I must say that it helps immensely going around with a good friend and translator. I fear I have only been able to pick up ‘Please’ on this trip, but I have added it to my repertoire of words quickly. How strange that a passion for learning this difficult and strange language has already engulfed me! I have been looking at courses ever since I have returned.

We did not get to spend much time in the city as we were with the client most hours, but I certainly saw a lot of it from the taxi window. We did go on a night walk to the old palace, which is now the world famous Hermitage Museum. It is a stunning site, even at night – and such a brilliant green by day!

And we stayed at the W Hotel, which I must say was well appointed and very close to the museum and other churches.

So sorry for the bad image quality as night shots aren’t the best on an iPhone! But I had to share the beauty with you.

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Kazan | Tatarstan

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The other week I went on a business trip to Kazan in Russia to review a new store we designed. I headed there armed with no more than my notebook, iPhone (for pictures), tape measure, and a pack of drawings. And even as we boarded our first flight towards Moscow, I had no idea what to expect.

And I was pleasantly surprised.

When we arrived to Kazan in darkness after a day of traveling, I jumped into a taxi with my coworkers unable to speak any form of the complex language. I felt entirely in the hands of my friend and translator – where would I be without her! And I quickly learned that Ben’s driving is significantly better and safer than I previously believed. I saw nothing of the city that night except for car parks and our hotel lobby, with a blackness in the distance that could have only been one of the lakes or rivers that run through the city.

When I woke up to sunshine and 20 degree (C) weather, everything looked so much different! What a stunning city in the sun!

We had a small bit of spare time on the last day we were there and thus we walked down the main shopping street to the Kremlin. On the street was fantastic architectural buildings from old Russia, and ending with the beautiful white brick of the Kremlin against the blue sky was a definite treat.

We ate pilaf which was delicious – and sampled a Russian dessert which was a light mousse with chocolate on the outside, but rolled up into a ball. It was delicious. I can’t remember what it was called. We had fruit juice water which was very tasty – and a tea flavoured with autumn (apples, cinnamon, and green tea).

Plus by the end of my trip, my lovely friend taught me some words! I can now say ‘good afternoon,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘goodbye,’ and my room number in Russian!

Stay tuned – I’m heading to St Petersburg in 2 weeks time! X