20 hours of sun and yet it seems that this is the city that always sleeps….
Walking down the streets in even a group of 6 makes me feel like some sort of posse roving the boulevard en force. The streets are largely devoid of cars and groups of people and, if what others have told me is true, it doesn’t seem like a lot has changed here in terms of activity since the 80s. With this void comes vaguely Romantic ideas of the town and the city. The void of activity here is not threatening or sad, like the one encountered among the abandoned buildings of the American South (where one is met with the overwhelming sense of failed enterprise and crushed dreams), but instead is one that communicates a feeling of persistent existence. Moreover, it is the feeling created by a town that is on the precipice of the heart of the Warsaw Pact, a town who is able to embrace Russian language while remaining unapologetically and unflinchingly separate.
Hence, while the language may be shared, the behavior is much more light hearted than their Russian counterparts. Smiles are not uncommon, and attempts at speaking Russian are, barring egregious failures, acknowledged. From my experience, Narvians (Narnians?) have worked with me and my gestures to understand what I’m trying to get at, something that I never experienced in Russia.
Overall, there’s something emotional about this place. Travelling in the countryside made me feel like I was taking a walk in Wordsworth’s ‘Michael’, heaths and meadows nestled around ponds and rocks, that type of thing. In any case, I’m excited to see what this town has to offer, it seems like there’s a lot of potential bubbling under the surface…