Tag Archives: saint petersburg

The St. Petersburg International Forum – despite problems, still awesome.

Hi folks!

As mentioned in my previous post, I was up early down in Sochi after the long toasts the night before, and heading to the airport. Next stop – St. Petersburg; specifically – its International Economic Forum, which I was attending for the first time.

For nearly a quarter of a century SPIEF has been impressing with its scale and the caliber of its participants. Official figures state the number of those taking part this year at more than 19,000 – coming from 145 countries of the world. And that includes CEOs of multinationals, and ministers and presidents of countries – all toing and froing and hobnobbing and speaking up on stages, often with their deputies and press services not far away.

So. SPIEF. Herewith, the plusses:

It’s really convenient: in a short time it’s possible give a presentation in among other heavyweight speakers, give a slew of interviews, and meet and chew the fat with whomever you need to or want to – all under one roof and within two or three days. Indeed, this is the whole reason for forums such as these. Also – St. Pete isn’t far for me, plus it’s always a pleasure having a stroll up and down Nevsky. In short – the plusses are very substantial plusses.

Now – the minuses:

The traffic jams! Not that this is the forum’s fault, but still. From our hotel in Pushkin on the outskirts of the city to the ExpoForum Center it’s just a seven-kilometer drive (and you totally miss out downtown!), but every morning we were more than an hour getting there! First, because they reduced the width of the normally three-lane highway to just one lane; second, because the security checks at the entrance to the complex took so long; third, apparently, because there was a complete and utter – catastrophic – absence of any public transportation serving the event. Organizers: I hope you’re reading. In three words: ‘GET A GRIP’! Don’t let such basic logistics matters spoil an otherwise excellent event!

Wait – there are more minuses!…

The signage and guidance around the ExpoForum Center was idiotic. We twice ended up walking around in circles in trying to follow the signs to get from point A to point B – which were a mere 100 meters apart! Next, the line at lunch was so absurdly long I gave up waiting and went hungry. I don’t have time to waste like that! I’m sure the other participants don’t either. So, what, bring sandwiches next time? Looks like it, given such progressive organization of the catering arrangements.

Read on: The St. Petersburg International Forum – despite problems, still awesome.

Peter: Picture-perfect for KL-partner-conf.

St. Petersburg when the sun’s come out to play is to me the best city to be in in Europe. And I’m not alone in declaring such a bold sentiment – I’ve heard it from many others from many different countries too. But why ‘in Europe’? That’s just so as to be able to compare meaningfully. It’s difficult comparing Russia’s second city with, say, Hong Kong or Singapore, as they’re just so different on so many levels. But I digress. So, about StP!…

Read on: nostalgic!…

Flickr photostream

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5th industrial.

Hi folks!

The other week we had our annual conference on industrial security – our fifth: our first jubilee. Hurray!

This year it was a truly international event, with many of the speakers giving their presentations in English (since they knew no Russian:). In all there were ~300 participants from 170 companies! Thanks to all sponsors and partners, especially:

  • SAP – general partner
  • Rostelecom – IoT partner
  • MARSH – cyber-insurance partner

And thanks to everyone else too whose names you can find at the above link.

Read on: Most interesting bits…

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Railrood Good Mood.

Railrood good mood. It’s a different, special good mood. It’s a bit like motorbike good mood. There’s not much to it, but it brings a nice, calm, reflective feeling. You just stand there, in the engine control room at the front of a train and stare up ahead along the track and to the sides at the passing landscapes. Meditative almost. I’ve heard there are long videos on YouTube showing such railroad good-mooding. It’s so much better doing the real thing though…

Here’s the junction where we turn off the ‘highway’ and onto the ‘back road’ that takes us to St. Pete along the Gulf of Finland:
Read on: Railrood Good Mood…

Meanwhile in St. Pete…

A bit like with Manchester or Scotland, folks will often tell you the weather in St. Petersburg is normally terrible. In Manchester and Scotland it normally is. But not in St. Pete!

I’ve visited Russia’s ‘second capital’ plenty of times – and the sun’s been out on every single trip! This visit was no exception.

In fact, the sun’s not just shining, it’s beaming it’s intense heat down on this corner of the globe without mercy. Sat in a traffic jam upon roasting asphalt wasn’t the nicest of experiences, I have to say.

Read on: The sun is out!…

The tiniest biggest country in the world.

Hi folks!

This here post is the last in my mini-series from St. Petersburg. It continues the ‘places to visit‘ theme, but with a difference; for the place it describes resembles a museum, but it isn’t a museum really, I think. Or maybe it is. It claims to be one… Hmmm, whatever it is, it’s unusual, unique, and a must-see!

It is a bit like a museum or art gallery in that you’re not allowed under any circumstances to touch the… exhibits, even though they’re not really exhibits… Confused? You won’t be…

 

'He touched the exhibit/model!'Sign: ‘He touched the exhibit/model!’ On shirt: ‘I’m being punished’

This is Grand Maket Rossiya! Maket is a Russian word with numerous, similar meanings, but choosing the right one to translate into English can be tricky. This is perhaps proved by the people behind the maket having left it as just that – maket, even though it isn’t an English word. When they describe the place on the site it’s put as a ‘layout’. They mean a scale model of the Russian landscape – a miniature version of the layout of the country, making it the smallest maket of the largest country in the world for sure. It’s also the second largest scale model of its kind in the world – behind Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg.

This is a truly unique, mind-blowing, thoroughly enjoyable place. From the outside it’s nothing much – a not-so-large, unassuming building; inside – OMG. It’s like Dr. Who’s TARDIS! A massive miniature (!) scale model – an impossibly large kid’s toy; an impossibly large adult’s toy. Again though – not really a toy; what sort of toy is one you can’t touch? :)

grand-maket-piter-2

Read on: railroads and highways, cities, towns and villages, factories, power stations… everything!…

Railroad feats in St. Pete.

There are different kinds of museums.

There are real museums (in the classic understanding of the word), there are expositions, exhibitions, installations… What other words are there for describing such events? Graffiti! Btw, good quality graffiti done in good taste – is it an exposition or installation or hooliganism? The latter I cross out since good graffiti (IMHO) is real art. Oops. Off piste before even getting on piste. I do keep doing that…

So. Museums…

St. Petersburg is ram packed full of them. It’s like the museum capital of the world.

Now, I understand that if St. P’s museums were to be compared with, say, the Louvre or the British Museum, St. P’s may lag behind somewhat. However, considering the very difficult past St. Petersburg has had, its museums are a bit of a miracle. Museums weren’t all that well supported in post-imperial times; the same goes for during the 70+ years under Communism; obviously WWII was a major setback; and of late, post-CCCP, the city’s museums have continued to be somewhat neglected with no generous state or philanthropic sponsors coming forward as they do in the West. Maybe I’m wrong. But that’s how it seems to me. Do correct me if I’m mistaken.

There I go again… OK. Back to the main topic…

In Saint Pete there are the usual suspects: the museums children visit on school trips – the typical, the bland, the traditional, the obvious. So we, naturally, decided to shake things up a bit and go alternative, rebel, renegade! We went to… the Railroad Museum!

piter-muzey-parovozy-1

Read on: let the pix do the talking…

St. Pete from above.

Hi all!

To get high up and look down and around, say, from up a mountain… it’s always cool and beautiful. But to fly up above for panoramic views of below – it’s even better. And best of all when it comes to flying for sightseeing purposes is the helicopter. Best of all when it comes to what to check out below…: a beautiful city. Best of all when it comes to beautiful cites…: one uniquely beautiful like St. Petersburg.

So of we choppered…

Pulkovo – Petergof – Bolshaya (Big) Neva – the Neva – Malaya (Little) Nevka – Pulkovo.

I’ve nothing much to say really. But a lot to show…:

Petergof:

piter-vertolet-1

Read on: Bolshaya Neva and so on…

Tricky St. Pete.

St. Petersburg in summer, especially June and July – it’s… tricky. You’ve probably already heard that there’s hardly any nighttime at all in summer, as, well, the sun – well up the northern hemisphere this time of year, just pops over the horizon for a few measly hours, before it ‘rises’ again in the wee hours of the next morning. As a result, days can seem endless; well, they almost are. And you need good thick curtains or an eye mask to get some proper shut-eye of a ‘night’.

There’s another thing: you gotta make sure you’re where you got to be before the bridges go up. If they do, and you’re not where you need to be: oops. On the other hand, these bascule bridges have their advantages: what better excuse can there be to not be where you should be (and really don’t want to be)? “Can’t make it. No really: can’t – physically. The bridges are up!”.

Like I say, Peter – it’s tricky this time of year.

It’s tricky, but it’s also awesome. Just check out some of these White Nights & bridges-up views you can get to see. Awesome indeed…

Tricky-Pete-1

Tricky-Pete-2

Read on: boats, canals, Neva…