It’s been almost six years since I’ve last been in Petersburg. Even
though it is my home city, it happened so that I haven’t been there
since I moved to Finland in 2000.
I’ve got very mixed feelings from this weekend trip. It was like any other business trip – in and out, tight schedule, meetings and short nights.
Travelling by train is still the best way to get to Petersburg from Helsinki despite really old cars that are used in Sibelius and Repin trains (actually Sibelius will be replaced with an InterCity train in mid-June) and really sad scenery one can observe when approaching the city (but that’ll change as well in September when trains will be directed to Finlandia railway station).
To be honest I felt as a stranger in a city where I used to live for 20 years. It was a really weird feeling – when you know that you are supposed to know everything, but then face difficulties with basic things, like entering a metro station.
The city itself has changed a lot. I didn’t get a chance to go to any "tourist" places this time, but it was probably for the best. I saw a lot of new businesses on the streets of the city, nice small cafes and restaurants, and it was much cleaner than I remeber. The ring road is almost finished – looks really nice.
From the meetings in those two days, I’ve got a strong feeling that there’s huge IT potential and if managed and developed properly, the city can very well become a Northwest Silicon Valley.