One of the things that I love most is looking for vintage shops and markets abroad when traveling. Every time I plan a new trip after buying the ticket and booking my B&B the first thing that I do is looking for vintage shops in town!
And I did that even when I visited Russia, Saint Petersburg and Moscow, during a very cold winter. There are not as many vintage shops as I imagined but I found some very interesting addresses to share in case you decide to visit these two wonderful cities.
Today I will focus on Saint Petersburg, while next month we will discuss Moscow.
On my second day in Saint Petersburg (first one was dedicated to the Hermitage museum) I took an afternoon off from visiting to look for one of the most interesting vintage shops in town: Off. I found it in my Lonely Planet guide, but when I went to the place where it was supposed to be- I found out that it moved a bit out of town. So I decided to challenge the subway (mostly written in Cyrillic) and the fact that most of people don’t speak English to find my shop. I finally found it in a sort of small shopping center and it was nice to see that it looked like a very European shop…I’d say the kind of Scandinavian vintage shop, full of lovely things mostly coming from Europe. When I got in they were taking pictures to post on their social networks (not Facebook though, as they prefer a Russian social called VK – Vkontakte), still I managed to buy a folk pouch and two Russian pins.
If this trip to find Off was itself a kind of experience, the day after I did something worse.
I had been told by some Russian friends, and I also read on my guide, that if you were a vintage and antiques lover- you cannot miss the Udelnaya market, the most famous and the oldest Saint Petersburg market!
I the decided to brave the snow and the cold weather (and the subway again!) and head to the Petrograd area to see what it was all about: the first sensation that I had was the sometimes uncomfortable feeling of being the only stranger in a place. It was almost impossible to speak to anyone (as nobody spoke English), but people were very nice and tried to help even if in their language! The first part of the market is like other markets in the world: some second hand, a lot of cheap clothes and shoes (the most interesting to watch were often the funny people selling stuff!). But after the first rows of stalls a new world opened upon my eyes: an immense area of stalls full of antiques pre-revolution, soviet memorabilia, bric-à-brac, second world war pieces and every kind of lost treasure. Sometimes the stalls were just on the ground, where people brought what they found in their trunks or their attics. The problem was that the ground was totally snowy and that I was completely freezing. It was hard to negotiate pieces and to buy things even if there were many interesting pieces to buy, especially in the soviet memorabilia but the language was a huge obstacle.
See you next month then with a new story of The Vintage Series!
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