Monday, December 05, 2011

Sankt Petairsboorg (and roll your Rs)

While Dave's parents were in town, he took them to St. Petersburg. I was sure to remind them to keep their wits about them. St. Petersburg is a popular European tourist town = pickpockets.
They came back safe and sound, and gave me a few tips.
Then, when my Mom was in town, I took her.
By myself.
On the train.
And I don't even speak Russian!
I was so proud of myself.
This was the view from the front door of our hotel. It's St. James Cathedral. I think.

This is a corner on our way to some sightseeing. Check out the - let me see if I can spell this - trolleeyayboos (trolleybus) tracks? Lines?

This is something. I don't speak Russian. And this is where we were "accosted" by two men trying very physically to sell us calendars. It was a little disconcerting. Nyet means nyet!

This is the Baskin Robbins that my Mom asked me to take a picture of as we recovered from our confrontation and continued on our walk.

This is the "Cathedral on the Spilt Blood". That's not the actual name of it, but Tsar Alexander II was assassinated here, so for some reason it picked up the name. There was an English sign.

Hi Mom.
This is where I asked my Mom to hand me my wallet from her purse, so I could buy our tickets, and she realized it was missing (after the photo).
It appears we paid for a calendar after all.
We forgot to keep our wits about us.

This is where I decided that I couldn't let having my wallet stolen ruin our trip. I didn't want to go home without seeing anything because I spent 36 hours worrying about a stolen wallet, so we turned around and went back to the church. And also, I prayed.

This is the inside of the Cathedral. I'm glad we went back. It was amazing inside. A huge room, and all of the walls and ceilings covered in these mosaics made with tiny stones. The real name of the Cathedral is the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, so most of the mosaics were of part of His life, with a few of his apostles. It was really pretty.
Then we headed back to the hotel, and kept praying about my wallet (it had all of my IDs in it).

This is the walk back, where around the corner, another man (not the calendar guys) came running up from behind us, and handed me my wallet.
Aside from the cash, everything was left inside.
The end.

This is the metro. I don't know if I'm supposed to take pictures of police/military guys, or if they appreciate it, so instead of doing the honorable thing, and asking, I always just wait until they look the other way, and try to sneak it.

This is Peterhof. It's Peter the Great's summer palace, and it is amazing!
After visiting Versailles, Peter wanted his fountains to be better, and they are! And I think that the fact that it's Russian is even more impressive to me. This might sound bad, but I usually find that Russian things are not the same level of quality that I have seen elsewhere, so to see a big, pretty palace, with seriously impressive natural fountains that are all old and still in good condition is just... amazing.

Peterhof is actually known for it's gardens (which were still very pretty in the fall), but with cold weather and nothing blooming, seeing the inside of the palace was the highlight for us.

THIS is the Hermitage. Russia's version of the Louvre.
Used to be a palace, now a huge art museum.

This is where I discovered that I love Rembrandt. They have the world's largest collection of Rembrandt's (if I overheard correctly). The Hermitage has some great art (and funny things like walls painted to look like carved reliefs).
St. Petersburg impresses (read: surprises) me again.

And this is us on the speed train home, after 36 hours in St. Petersburg, carrying our backpacks in cold, rain, and sunshine, with my wallet now stowed safely away and all our wits all about us.

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