On the first day in Saint-Petersburg we wanted to treat ourselves to the biggest highlight of the city. The Hermitage! But thanks to couch surfing, Uli and I’s plans should suddenly change after getting up. I had indicated that we were in St. Petersburg and that we would like to meet people.
An Olga wrote to me (of course it was an Olga) and asked if we were spontaneous. I briefly remembered the past two days and said that spontaneity was our middle name. Would we like to visit her in her dacha? She could also show us an abandoned Soviet camp there. – yeah sure!
Then Olga began: “Well, you have to take the Red Line from the Sasskaya station to the end in 20 minutes, it takes about an hour, then you get out and go up the stairs to the train station, there you go to the ticket counter and point The following text. You will then receive a return ticket. You drive to Kuzmulovo, my place, about half an hour. Get off, go to the left to the street, then to the right. If you want really good Russian bread, buy there There is a market behind it. Buy some vegetables there.
There are always cars opposite. These are taxis. Give the phone to a driver and I’ll show him the way. “
Wow. I was flabbergasted for a moment, then I pulled Uli out of the room so that we could get our subway in time. Olga’s plan worked like clockwork. At the train station we were unsure about the ticket counter and stammered something too Russian and Olga’s text in front of a railway employee. The cheerful, spherical woman laughed and took us to the right counter and said a few words, after which we immediately received a couple of tickets, which she immediately punched out and let us through to the locked platform.
The train rattled through the forest for what felt like an eternity until we reached Kuzmulovo. We buy bread and vegetables and talked to the first guy in the car and put my cell phone to his ear. The guy was only in sweatpants, of course, and drove the shabby junk box I’ve ever seen outside of a junkyard. But that’s Russia. He smiled and nodded, smiled and nodded, smiled and nodded while Olga talked to him, until after an eternity he passed the phone to me. “Alex. How are you. You – that’s not a taxi driver at all!”
But the guy was waiting with us smiling and grinning, talking to us with our little Russian vocabulary (Mercedes good), until another junk box came, which was actually a taxi. Our friend explained to the driver where we had to go to finally go to the greengrocer.
The taxi left the village, the street and the last remnants of civilization with us and rumbled for a while along a gravel road into the forest to an even tighter village of wooden huts, in which one had never even bothered to do anything to asphalt. He stopped in front of a fence and we gave him a few rubles before he left us.
We peered through the garden gate and were greeted by Olga – a young woman with tangled hair and a jacket in the same turquoise color as the walls of the dacha behind her. The hut made your impression that it was only held together by the same color.
Olga herself traveled the world for a few years and spent years in Southeast Asia, which is why we have great topics to talk about. Globetrotters always get along well because they share a certain mixture of curiosity and relaxation.
After a first round of getting to know each other over tea in the garden, we take a walk through the surrounding forest to visit the promised ghost camp of the Soviets. Olga knows every plant and its effects. We don’t know every name in English, but we’ve seen most of the plants. She herself is very interested in the inhabitants of nature, but lives in Saint Petersburg herself and only comes to the family dacha on occasion.
Through the bushes we see a couple of half-dilapidated wooden houses, which give an idea that they once had a nice paint job. The color is pale and cracked, there is dust and splinters on the floor. Olga explains that this place was a youth camp for the young communists. At one point you can see a huge sinister bust of Lenin on a pillar, which has already been taken over by the trees of the forest.
“Here the young people gathered every morning and sang a song”.
We leave the Soviet camp through a dilapidated iron gate, above which the Cyrillic letters of the name are lost in the rust.
Not far away is a thinned hill. This is where people supposedly come to ski or toboggan. However, they do not get far there.
When we return, Olga sends us both to her garden to collect girsch for her stew. She takes the vegetables she brought herself and mixes everything possible in a pan and various pots due to lack of space. The “kitchen” of the dacha consisted only of a hotplate. There was water from a tap outside the house. There was also a small outhouse behind the house.
She throws up herbs and vegetables while she continues to talk to us.
She also gives cooking classes, she says while I am trying hard with a lot of salt to breathe life into the dead plants in front of me. When it comes to eating, Russians seem to love bread with sunflower oil and salt, and it’s actually quite tasty. My smartphone suddenly rings and a lady from O2 is on the line. She laughs in surprise when I tell her that I don’t have time for her offers at the moment, because I’m eating in the wild wasteland north of Saint Petersburg.
Olga is enthusiastic and wants Uli and I to speak more German. “I love the German language. Please, talk a little bit more ”. We had never heard that before. In return we heard one word from Olga very often: “tak”. This word is a filler word and is used by Russians anywhere in pauses or at the beginning of sentences. A tak always fits into a silence.
Uli and I want to leave slowly anyway. On the way to the train we meet Olga’s grandma. The two had called beforehand and we recognized each other on the way. The lady actually spoke a few words in German and wished us all the best.
The way back to Saint Petersburg went without any problems. Instead of a taxi, we decided to walk to Kuzmulovo. We were very impressed by how clean it was here in the village as well as in the city of Saint Petersburg. We hardly saw any garbage. They’re very clean, these Russians.