So where did we leave off? Hmmm…Hermitage perhaps? As mentioned previously, we got to see many different exhibits and the art museum is HUGE! Apparently, if you visit each piece in the museum for less than a minute it would take you over five years to visit everything. Thus, I’ll leave you with one piece of art from the Hermitage:
It’s a little blurry because we couldn’t use flash inside the building, but you get the picture (haha). This painting was my favorite in the museum and it was massive, probably about 10 ft x 6 ft. I can’t find my notes on who created this and I tried Googling it but can’t figure it out. I’ll have to get back to you on that one. But I do really love this painting. Why? I thought it was fun and less formal than many of the other paintings. I also liked the comical feel of the whole series of these paintings. The dog also kind of, somewhat looks like mine!
Post Hermitage we had some time to kill before our boat ride on the canals. Since we were departing from the area surrounding St. Isaac’s Cathedral we parked the bus there and took a few minutes to cruise around, snap some pictures, and enjoy our last few hours in St. Pete. Here is my best shot so far of St. Isaac’s:
Just across from the grassy park by the cathedral is the Bronze Horseman:
This is one of St. Petersburg’s iconic statues of Peter The Great. It’s found on many souvenirs, postcards, and even guide book covers. Under the horse’s hoof is the serpent of treason, which Peter is stomping on. This statue really captures the spirit of the city’s uncompromising, willful founder of the city.
Next up on the itinerary is the “I’m on a boat” portion of our travels. Here I am along the canal preparing to load the boat:
And here is our group on the boat:
This picture was taken very early on during the boat ride. It didn’t take us long before our group was up and about, cheering loudly and loving our boat ride. Professor Mahon has taken two other student groups to Russia, both of which went on a boat ride. Both groups sat in their chairs and intently listened to guide, Natasha, narrate the trip through the canals. Not our group…we’re rebels! No one was listening to Natasha. We were too busy yelling and waving to the crowds on the streets, drinking a few adult beverages, and trying not to have our heads taken off as we passed under bridges. Random shout out to Chuck for saving my life and preventing my head from crashing into a bridge. I admit, I wasn’t paying attention! Because of our lack of intention, we invited Natasha up to the deck to join us for the ride! It was awesome!
Here is a view on the water:
And here is Chuck and Allie enjoying the boat ride:
And Andrei on the boat:
Andrei had mentioned the next day that our group’s boat ride was by far the best boat ride ever. Go us! And here is Kim and Rich on the boat:
Oh…and then this was really funny:
Poor boat! I felt REALLY bad for the owner of this boat especially when he discovers it is sinking, or had sunk, depending on when he finally shows up! After our boat ride, we all professed our love for the adventure and trekked back to our hotel. There we said goodbye to our amazing bus driver Slava and our equally amazing tour guide Natasha:
She was amazing and told us that we were a great group and very attentive…until the end! Ooops. But at least we had a blast. We had a little bit of time to grab dinner before we had to grab our luggage from its stored location in the hotel and head to the train station. About ten of us headed to a local English pub called William Bass, just a block or so down from the hotel. We were still riding the boat ride high and continued our enthusiasm through dinner. Here is Stefan and Jacob in the pub:
I ended up ordering the “Manchester” which is a plate of sausage and fries:
It came highly recommended by comrade Gary. He had been in there the night before and absolutely enjoyed the place so he brought us all back this evening. Of course being in an English pub I chased the sausage with a pint of Guinness. Oh my goodness, my Guinness:
Colby would be proud. It’s his favorite beer. Or maybe he would be just jealous! After our yummy, last Russian meal (even though it was really English), we headed over to the train station. We were waiting for our train on the platform when Gary and Stefan approached carrying roses. They presented the only three women on the trip: Kim, Allie, and myself each with a Rose. Cue up the chorus for an obligatory “awwwwwwww”. They gave us roses for an appreciation of our patience and very high tolerance of their boyish antics. They weren’t really that bad but maybe I’ve just been preconditioned from working with boys. Anywho, here we all are with our flowers:
And another shot with just the girls:
It was ironic that they did this because just moments before we headed to the train station I was really jonesing for some girl time and wishing there were more girls on the trip to balance out the hoard of boys, I believe there were 12 of them. I also came to the conclusion that boys should never be left to their own devices and live together without good women in their lives!
We boarded our train and officially left St. Petersburg:
The train was an overnight train from St. Pete to Moscow that lasted about 8 hours. When we rolled into Moscow we retraced our steps from arrival and headed to the airport for our 10 hour return flight to JFK, then took a bus from JFK to Laguardia, then left Laguardia for Portland, and finally drove home. Needless to say we were tired:
From left to right that’s Jacob, Chuck, and Gary taking a power nap waiting for our flight to Portland. The troops were really tired!
All in all it was a great trip. I had a fabulous time, made some new friends, and experienced so many new things. Stay tuned for one more post from the Russia front. Tomorrow I’ll have a post concluding my Russian experiences. I would write it now but no telling what I might say since I’m totally sleep deprived, which tends to affect the valve between my brain and my typing fingers. Until next time…recently returned Russian traveler out.