Friday, March 8, 2013

St. Petersburg to Vytegra

During the trip to Vytegra, the group and I spent most of our time on a bus talking about the trip and about our expectations of Vytegra.  We also talked about our time in St. Petersburg.  We stopped at a cafĂ© for a snack before dinner, and for dinner we ate at a restaurant near the monastery called Alexander Svirsky Monastery. 
            While on the trip, one of the things that stood out to me in terms of contrast with St. Petersburg would be initially the complete difference in infrastructure.  Once we left the area of St. Petersburg, the quality of the roads went downhill very quickly and sharply.  Guard rails were very rare on the road, there were no shoulders on the road for stopping a car, and there was lots of snow covering the road with little salt melting it away.  Even still, people drove dangerously on the roads.  This just reinforces the idea that I have learned that the way that power, wealth and just things in general are distributed is in a very vertical way, with the rich cities holding on to the most of everything and very little reaching out to the rest of the country. 
            This experience melds well with the literature that we have read for the course prior to our trip in that in regards to the documentary we watched on a small town that was undergoing degradation.  These experiences and the documentary both show a degrading horizontal axis with the smaller towns and the areas outside of power losing to the areas that have power.  It is pretty much the opposite of urban sprawl at this point, with all those at the edges seeking the center.  It makes me sad to see this because I highly enjoy the culture these towns and areas have, and I do not wish to see them become absorbed by the larger cities.

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