We were off on a new journey. This time it was our northern capital, Pskov, Izborsk and Pushkinskiye Gory that expected us. We were 20: eight children and two volunteers from the Centre for education and adaptation for children of refugee and migrant families, six pupils and one teacher from school in the Leningrad Region, two Petersburg kids that Ilya Semonovich Berdyshev worked with, and Ilya Semonovich himself. The journey was organised within the joint project “Tolerance, equality and integration in school education” of the Memorial of St. Petersburg and the “Civic Assistance” Committee. Our trip lasted for four days, which might seem little – but what didn’t we see during this time! We were at the old citadels of Pskov and Izborsk, where we learned, and were surprised by, the thickness of the walls – six meters (of course we remember this, it’s not really what you find in a contemporary house!). And touching the more than seven centuries old stone arches just took our breath away. Living history! Then we stayed at Pushkinkiye Gory for two days, in the very same place where the poet himself once lived. We were at the Pushkin family estate – Mikhailovskoye – to which the poet was sent in exile in 1824, and the manors Trigorskoye i Petrovskoye. The last family estate was founded by the poet’s ancestor Hannibal. We also saw the Pushkin’s grave at the Svyatogorsky Monastery, and the very beautiful Pskovo-Pechorsky Monastery. And after this we went to Petersburg…

First the big and beautiful hotel Azimut, then a stroll in the city by night. We saw the white nights (it was really light, at two o’clock in the night it was like nine in the morning!) and walked through the whole Petersburg to the Neva to see the opening of the bridges. We were tired and a bit cold, but very happy that we took this walk – it’s not too often you can walk around in the middle of the night, which also is white, and in a city with a thousand canals and rivers and bridges that you have earlier seen only on postcards! And the second day was not in the least worst than the first: we went by boat, had tea in the Summer Garden, climbed the St. Isaac Cathedral, looked at the dancing fountains, took a stroll at the Peter and Paul Fortress, saw the astonishing mosque and went to the Kazan Cathedral and the Winter palace, and tried to hit a little sculpture of the hare on the Hare Island with coins (we did not find the famous sculpture of siskin…) – to make our most precious dreams come true… We also made trips by train and bus, saw storks through the windows (they build their nests straight on poles!), enormous trees, which will make your dream come true if you are able to hug it and reach all the way around it (one of them was impossible, so we had to hug it all of us together and make a wish together), songs, games, strolls, discussions… On the whole, there was a lot of everything during this journey: a lot of children of different nationalities, a lot of impressions, a lot of interesting things that we saw, a lot of new acquaintances, and a whole lot of…photos! We really got something to remember!

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