Thursday, May 03, 2007

St. Petersburg

Our last couple days were spent with our tour guide Alex (female) and driver Igor. They were very kind. In St. Petersburg there is so much history and sooooooooooo many museums that to be a tour guide you need a license. She worked very hard to get hers and she said she is lucky to be employed because many do not find jobs before their license expires. She knew so much knowledge and imparted so much history on us. We visited Pushkin, Pavlosk's Palace, Catherine the Great's Palace, The Cathedral of Nicholos the II, St. Isaac's Cathedral, The Hermitage Museum, President Putin's favorite restaurant, The Church on Spilled Blood, The place where Rasputin was killed, and many more. We learned about all the leaders of Russia and their families- Peter the Great, Paul, Alexander, Catherine the Great, Elizabeth, etc. We viewed the Amber Room, Palaces, original works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Michaelangelo, Matisse, Picasso, etc. It was pretty incredible and overwhelming. We also learned about the seige on Lenigrad (then changed to St. Petersburg) during WWII which was extremely sad. We ate at some good restaurants and enjoyed our comfortable hotel. It was really hot in the hotel though. Alex said they were flattering their guest by having the heat on. Well,I felt trapped- you couldn't open the window and no heat control in the room! Aah! But it ended up being fine. It is much colder in St. Petersburg and Moscow than Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad was kind of like home but it actually snowed in St. Petersburg the day we left. Our airport experiences were much better on the way home. Everything went smoothly- Kaliningrad to St. Petersburg to Moscow to Los Angeles to Portland. 17 hours flight time! 24 hours in travel! I felt like I was still flying, my body trying to balance, the entire day after arriving home.

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