Nevsky Prospekt: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I cannot hide the excitement at the sight of Nevsky Prospekt, a 4-km long avenue that stretches from Admiralty to Alexander Nevsky Monastery. A major road in St. Petersburg, it is Peter the Great himself who planned the thoroughfare and envisioned to connect two other important Russian cities, Moscow and Novgorod.

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A typical view of Nevsky Prospekt in late afternoon

Lined with a variety of shops, hip restaurants, cool cafes and bars, it was quite obvious why the sidewalks were made that wide. It is the Champs-Elysees of St Petersburg – famous and an attraction in itself. Nevsky Prospekt is dotted with various sites such as the Kazan Cathedral, the Stroganov Palace and a couple of statues and monuments. It is indeed the prime street every tourist would want to stay next to.

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Bolshaya Konyushennaya St, the street across our hostel that connects to Nevsky Prospekt

The hostel we stayed at was a few strides away, connected by a small street. Almost everywhere we go, we’re centrally located and were spoilt for choices when it comes to food. Along its bridges we had spectacular views of the Griboyedov Canal. In every meter or so, street entertainers abound adding more life and color to the entire stretch. Oh how we love, Nevsky Prospekt!

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Church of Savior on Spilled Blood as seen from Nevsky Prospekt

While it’s easy to fall in love with Nevsky Prospekt, its dark side overrides all the positive things I could’ve say about this busy strip. Such places that quickly captures the heart of a tourist are most likely to be a trap that devastates one’s good memory of a place.

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A group of dancers entertaining passersby, Kazan Cathedral on the right

On our last day in St. Petersburg, we had brunch in one of its pretty restaurants. We were all happy not until we reached the metro station. The fiancé was walking behind me when all of a sudden, he told me he has to come back. The look on his face froze my heart, I knew something bad happened. He rushed to the street and puzzled as I was, I tried to understand what he was saying.

He mouthed, “Nawawala yung dslr ko!” My dslr is missing!

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Look how cool a night at Nevsky Prospekt could be. You wouldn’t think something horrible’s gonna happen

When I finally understood, my heart wanted to stop beating. We both love that camera so much and more than the equipment itself, I first thought of the “memories” kept in it. Everything was lost. I managed to catch his pace and he kept on walking towards wherever. I told him it’s impossible to fall off from his bag so there was actually no point retracing our steps.

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Triumphal arch that leads to the Palace Square

Three days worth of memories captured in motion and stills were all gone. Add to the casualty was the camera bag (aside from the DSLR) and in it were 2 spare memory cards (apart from the 2 cards loaded in the camera), a full 4gb memory card and 5000 rubles. That makes 12gb worth of memories vanished into thin air.

Ouch.

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The fiancé was determined to return to the restaurant where we ate, secretly hoping he has left it there. I secretly prayed, too, that he was right but had to accept that we were not.

The incident tarnished the way we look at Nevsky Prospekt. Behind its lively and beautiful street lies a cancer that surely rots its beauty. The amount of police officers in the area is effin’ useless. I hate to hate this place because of a bad experience. And although it really has a reputation for being a spot for petty crimes like this, no matter how vigilant and careful you are of your stuff, this skilled pickpockets will make their way into your stuff.

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Nevsky Prospekt begins to get crowded by late morning and would only be less populated by late night

Then suddenly, I remembered what happened. On our way to the metro station, our friend led the way while I stand behind him and the fiancé at my back. One guy opened the door for us. He extended his arm to hold the heavy door while looking at me. He stared quite long, for about 2 seconds, quite unusual for someone who’s just being a gentleman. And then, when I looked back, that was the time the fiancé was rushing back to where we went.

His bag was open. The camera bag was taken out despite it being buried deep the bag, covered with scarf and some stuff. All zippers were opened despite these zippers being hidden by the flap of his bag. It took seconds. Argh, it breaks my heart typing these.

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RIP camera. RIP good memories of Nevsky Prospekt.

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