Now that I’ve slept for about four days straight (I cannot confirm or deny that I have pulled a George Costanza and napped for a period of time while at work under my desk) and am no longer falling asleep around 3:00 pm and waking up at 4:00 am, I’m in a much better condition to write my final post about Russia.
I’ll start this post by telling you all that I had an absolute blast! I was very apprehensive at first since this was such a costly venture. Not only did we pay for our travel but also for our tuition and it couldn’t have come at a worse moment (for those of you who don’t know…our sewer main here at home is clay and on the verge of complete collapse…I’m looking at a VERY costly repair for the damn thing and unfortunately cannot dig up the street myself and will need to hire professionals). Before I left I was really questioning whether or not this trip/class was really going to be worth the money. Looking back, I would go again in a heart beat.
During this trip I learned so much about business. Not only did I learn about doing business in Russia and the headaches that can often be involved, but I developed a new found appreciation for my own country and its business environment. Although I may not always agree with many of the rules and regulations for doing business in the US, but at least they are predictable. I can’t even imagine operating a business in which fees (bribes really) can change on a whim.
I also take from this trip a few new relationships. This paragraph is officially dedicated to my host family in Syktyvkar for their unparalleled generosity, love, and hospitality! This is for you Elena and Mary! Thank you both so much for opening up your home to me and showing me around town. My stay with you in Syktyvkar was the highlight of my trip and it was all because of you! I’ll be back someday…it may take me a few years but I’ll get there again!
Although time and space doesn’t warrant me the ability to post every detail of the trip (there is in fact a space limit to this blog and I’m sure I’ll max it out someday), I think I’ve done a pretty good job painting the big picture for you all throughout the past two weeks. I do want to take a moment and share a few of my favorite random moments that I will never forget:
- Our epic night at the “Ugly” (otherwise known as Coyote Ugly) and getting back to the hotel from there
- We got to “make a picture” everywhere we went
- Never quite knowing how to flush the toilet
- And then the toilet situation…or lack of toilet situation…in Yb
- The crazy bus driver who I’m pretty sure passed someone on the right
- Chuck’s digger he took on the sidewalk and the resulting “skid marks” on his shirt from his great crash
- One group’s attempt to run across about 10 lanes of road (Have they seen how Russians drive in the city? What were they thinking?!)
- Fish, pasta, spaghetti and other random dinner type items for breakfast (I missed “American” breakfast so bad! I just wanted some eggs and bacon with a great cup of coffee!)
- The light blue cap meant I was buying still water and the darker blue cap meant gas water (we call it sparkling or club soda)
- Getting out of the shower was a carefully crafted activity…the tubs are much taller in Russia than in the US and when you’re used to a shorter distance…well, let’s just say things can get a little scary
- Baltika 7 beer = yummy cheap beer
- Pointing to what you want to eat can get you a long way in a foreign country (just because you’re in Russia doesn’t mean you should play Russian roulette with the menu…sometimes you might just end up with mustard)
- In the span of 48 hours we traveled by plane, bus, train, car and boat…I just thought that was pretty cool and wanted to share
- Amazing bus drivers (Slava) can really make for an amazing trip
- The boat ride…what can I say…it was the perfect ending to a fabulous trip
- Mystery meat is surprisingly yummy…especially with the added spice
- If you find the right spot you can eat a HUGE meal for less than $2
- The “governor” is not a hag of an old lady who tried to push her way around us at Peterhof (man…I can’t end with this one…must…think…of…one…more…memory…..)
- Ahhhh…I got nothing….oh well
Before I close I also want to thank all of the people who made this trip what it was. “Uncle” John and “Papa” Andre (otherwise known as torturer #1 and torturer #2) were instrumental in making this trip what it was. I know behind them were a slew of people that helped make everything come together. I’m not going to name everyone because I know I will miss someone and then they’ll feel bad which will make me feel bad and nobody likes to feel bad. But if you’re reading this, you know who you are so thank you SOOOOOO much!
With this I bid Russia a loving da svidaniya and hope that someday I will get to go back and show of the homeland to Colby! I know he’ll love it! Especially St. Petersburg. I take with me from this trip new knowledge, a few new friends, and priceless memories that I will forever cherish. I’m sad to say that my travel blogging days are over, unless someone out there works for a travel magazine and needs a professional blogger! I’m totally for hire as long as my travel is paid for so call me and we’ll chat! So now it’s back to our regularly scheduled program of DIY misadventures. Russian traveler officially out!
Psst…I can’t possibly have a blog post without a picture…that would be sacrilegious. So I leave you with this one:
We were all officially tired by the time we had reached our 35th straight hour of traveling. This was in LaGuardia airport waiting for our flight to Maine.
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.
I’m currently sitting in the terminal waiting for our flight so what better time than now to blog post! I’m going to try to catch up as much as possible but we had a big day yesterday (aka…LOTS of photos & fun) so I’m not sure I’m going to make it. And also, my sincere apologies. I checked my guide book and my notes which are usually my savior for these blog posts so I’m going off memory instead, which explains why I refer to some memorials as “really cool thing” and “some dude’s statue”. I may fix it later but no promises.
Yesterday, our last day in St. Petersburg consisted of an uber touristic type of day. It started here:
On one of the many bridges in St. Petersburg. If you look across the river you can see the Peter and Paul Fortress, which is on an island and one of St. Petersburg’s oldest hoods. Here is the first really cool thing:
If I remember correctly, boats used to tie up here when they came in from the sea, but don’t quote me on that one. I just thought it was really cool. And here is our group on the bridge with our bus driver, Slava (sp?):
Our bus driver was awesome. Actually he was more than awesome, he was ridiculously awesome! Everywhere we went he had amazing comments on history and other interesting stories. Our entire group thoroughly enjoyed our time with him. He could also wield that bus around some of the tightest spots! Here’s to Slava!
We also saw a pink limo on the bridge:
It’s official, I’m moving to St. Pete’s. Any city with pink limos is my kind of city!
And here’s a shot of Stefan, Allie and Jacob on the bridge:
Our next tourist destination was the Peter and Paul Fortress, which is one of the oldest portions of the city. Here is a picture of the cathedral, which is very much unlike most Russian cathedrals:
We got to explore both the inside of the cathedral and the grounds inside and outside the fortress walls quite extensively. Also, this was the first time we were allowed to take pictures inside one o the Russian tourist spots. Before we move to the interior of the cathedral, here is a picture of John and I outside of it. He was complaining that I was the only one who hadn’t taken a picture with him so I HAD to do it. Just kidding, I was happy to take a picture with him:
Those are a couple of good looking people! So next up, our amazing tour guide Natasha took us through the inside of the cathedral. Like most cathedrals, the interior was absolutely breathtaking. This is what we walked into:
The art, architecture, and decorations were all so ornate and beautiful. I had a difficult time listening to our guide because I couldn’t stop staring up at the ceiling and the chandeliers. I’m a sucker for ornate buildings and the art/architecture usually distracts me. The cathedral is a very important one to Russia because it’s where many of the former Tsars are buried. Here is one tomb area with Peter the Great and his family:
The cathedral also holds the tomb of the Romanovs:
I had heard the story of the Romanovs before but after seeing this tomb and hearing the stories from Natasha I become very much interested in their story. John was telling us about many of the books about the Romanovs and I may have to pick one up. But after I thoroughly kick Colby’s butt in beating him in our Time’s top 100 books competition! Before we left the cathedral, we were treated to a concert by a group of monks:
All I have to say is chills! It was a stunning concert! So after the cathedral we were given some time to explore the grounds of the fortress. We went through the gates:
Which led to a beachy area:
This is a very popular place for the locals to go sun bathing in the warm weather. Some of our group went for a stroll along the water to “check out the scenery”. Here I am along the water, which is across from the Hermitage, a massive art museum and former winter palace:
Our next destination was the Church on Spilled Blood:
This is another one of those instances where I really can’t remember. This church was built as a memorial for someone but I do not recall who. We only made a quick photo stop here so we didn’t get to go inside. Here is my best shot of the cathedral:
The Hermitage is HUGE! It’s the former winter palace of Catherine the Great, who had an extensive art collection and most of the building was constructed to hold her private collection. Now, it’s one the largest art museum’s from collections all over the world including Dutch art, German art, French impressionist art and much more. We first got a tour of the winter palace. Below are a few of my favorite rooms including the throne room:
And a really amazing mosaic floor:
The view from the Hermitage was also amazing:
Ok…this post will have to be continued. I’m about to board! Wish me a great flight and I’ll hopefully finish this blog post from NYC in about 10 hours!
Today was officially our first and only business day in St. Petersburg. Unofficially, it was Angie Eats American Day. I’ll get back to that later, but first, a bit of news from our first business presentation of the day.
Our first stop was to the Leningrad Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry where we were given a great presentation about how the chamber operates and doing business in Russia. What I really took from this presentation was the nuances between Americans and Russians. This was the first time we were given such information and it was really helpful. One of the most insightful comments our presenter made was that it was absolutely necessary to have a business partner if you’re an American doing business in Russia. I know what you’re thinking, “Angie, we’ve heard this before.” But how she explained it was different. You don’t just need a business partner to help you navigate the rules and regulations but you need one for the relationships. Russians tend to make purchases and choose services based on the relationship with the business or knowing someone who uses that product or business. For example, a US company can enter Russia with a better product and better price than the Russian company. However, Russians won’t purchase it because they don’t know the company and have a better relationship with the Russian company. Interesting. All in all it was a great presentation and will be very helpful for completing the market entry paper for this course. Here is Jacob presenting a gift to our presenter (sorry…I couldn’t figure out what her name was when she said…thus the reason for so many shes):
Next up on the schedule was lunch. A group of us decided to go down to Pizza Hut, mostly because Allie FREAKED our from excitement when she heard there was a Pizza Hut around the corner. I was surprised I went for two reasons. One, when I travel to other countries I would rather try new restaurants/cafes than eat at ones which are also back home. Two, I HATE Pizza Hut. But I went. Here is Kim and Allie in our booth:
So I tried it and survey says…..not bad. I think I actually like Russian Pizza Hut better than American Pizza Hut. They had a full bar, had a slightly fancier menu than back home, was very nice inside and well decorated (you can kind of see the fancy little bamboo plants on each of our tables), and I even liked the pizza:
Some of the pizzas have different names and toppings. I had one called Slavic pizza which included tomatoes, green peppers, and ham. It was actually very yummy. We also shared a pitcher of fresh squeezed lemonade. I’m pretty sure our Pizza Hut locations back home don’t do that. But I don’t even remember the last time I was in a Pizza Hut so maybe things have changed.
So back to business. Our next stop of the day was to Delovoi Peterburg, a small/medium business newspaper, where we were greeted by our presenter Lilia. After a brief tour of the offices, we buckled down into the conference room. Lilia runs the small/medium business section of the paper which is a weekly publication, but the entire paper is a daily. Here is a picture of one of the editions:
For those Bangor area residents, it kind of reminded me of the Edge in style and layout except this paper only covers small business. We learned a great deal about how small businesses operate in St. Petersburg but mostly about the business climate. Lilia touched on how difficult it is to do business in Russia with many examples. One example that really stuck with me was one of a local mini hotel owner. The man had turned some residential apartments into a mini hotel. Hotels are greatly in demand in St. Pete by the way. He filed extensive paperwork, paid many fees, and ended up having criminal charges brought against him because the fire escape he had wasn’t good enough. Criminal charges! It blew my mind that they wouldn’t just slap him with a fee and make him fix it. All in all, a top notch presentation. Here is Jacob again, presenting a gift from us to Lilia:
Next up was Russkie Prostori, a Russian travel agency that puts together corporate outings to Russia. I was astounded at the caliber of their clients including George Bush, Rudy Giuliani and many others. They put together corporate packages for business meetings or travel, most of which go to St. Petersburg and Moscow. Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend as much time as we would have liked with them because we were REALLY late. All day the traffic in St. Petersburg was atrocious. Apparently, many streets had been shut down because President Medvedev was in town. Here is a picture of Jacob presenting a gift to Natalia from Russkie Prostori:
Next up was a quick, a very quick dinner, because we were running late for the folk show. As we were running to grab a bite I snapped this picture of St. Isaac’s Cathedral:
I’m kicking myself for not getting a better picture since we were right there. Unfortunately, there was no time since the entire day was spent running around. A few us, actually just one of us….Chuck….took a digger! He skidded across the uneven pavers with the greatest of ease! So for dinner, the American food experience continued and a group of us ended up at Subway. It was pretty much the same as Subway in the United States except that they serve beer:
Hmmmm….what would Jared think about that? Next up was the folklore show, which we were a bit late for. I’m running out of blogging time so I’m just going to insert many of the pictures:
Here are some more dancers with Stefan (they had audience participation):
And some more dancers this time with Kevin (he’s getting a smooch):
See the evidence on his face:
And here is Papa Andrei with his “son” Stefan at half time….I mean intermission:
During the intermission we were served champagne, caviar, vodka, you name it. The spread was amazing and quite fancy.
Here are some more dancers:
And some serious dancing. These guys were so acrobatic and entertaining. It’s the traditional Russian dancing that you always see/stereotype. I believe it’s called Kalinka…or something like that.
And some more dancers:
I’m glad we made it to the show even if we were a bit late. It was amazing and so much fun!
We got out of the show around 9:00/9:30 pm Russian time and it was still brilliantly light out. It felt like about 6:00 pm outside. Now would be a great time to explain “white nights”. Around this time of year, the amount of daylight far exceeds the amount of night time and it keeps creeping up as summer lingers on. St. Petersburg is so far North that it’s kind of like living in Alaska. There are days of sunlight in the summer and then days of darkness in the winter. It’s really an odd feeling, especially for someone who can’t sleep if there’s any kind of light on. I usually wake up with the sun so it’s been interesting getting used to having 20+ hours of sunlight each day.
So now it’s Saturday morning as I’m writing this. I’m all packed up for the endless “day” of traveling. We’re about to embark on a full day of being tourists in St. Petersburg including a trip to the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Hermitage, and a cruise along the canals. After that, we’re heading to the train station for a 10 pm train ride to Moscow. We’ll get into Moscow around 7 am in the morning, will transfer to the airport, where we take a 10 hour flight to New York. We transfer airports again and then fly out of New York around 10 pm, getting into Portland, Maine. Colby is picking me up and we’re trekking it back to Brewer. I calculated it out last night and just the time from when we step onto the train tonight to when we get home to the Bangor area is about 36 hours. And with no shower! Ick! Colby….I am so sorry for the stinky mess of a person you will be picking up tomorrow night. And don’t foget….please, please, please bring me some clean clothes! Comfy ones!
So I end this post saying goodbye to Russia since I don’t think I’ll have another opportunity to write before I’m back in the states. But don’t fret…there will still be some more Russia travel posts to show you all what we did today.
Da Svidaniya Russia!
So this evening…I found an orange in my purse and now I’m seriously missing my “moms”. It will all make sense in a minute. I miss my real mom, I haven’t seen her since Christmas. I miss my work mom, who always feeds me snacks. And now I miss my Russian mom, who was the one who gave me the orange to put in my purse this morning before I left for the airport. Today was the big day. Our group said da svidaniya (goodbye) to Syktyvkar and to all the amazing people who hosted us. Words can’t even describe their hospitality and I was amazed at the strong bonds that were formed in just a few short days. It was incredibly hard to say goodbye to my host mom Elena and host sister Mary. Here are the three of us at the Syktyvkar Airport this morning:
And here are Kevin and James with their hosts:
The next time I’m in Syktyvkar, I’ll definitely look them up! I may even have to make a special trip because my host family was that amazing!
This morning our flight left the airport at 7:00 am which meant we needed to be there by 5:40 am. The airport didn’t even open until 5:30. I’m pretty sure a few of us in the group hadn’t slept at all, some had a few hours sleep, and a select few were just peachy and rested. I was in the couple hours of sleep group. Our plan for the day was to fly to St. Petersburg (only a 1 hour and 40 minute flight), grab our luggage and a bus, then head to Peterhof for the day before checking into our hotel. FYI…Peterhof is a giant palace with incredibly vast gardens.
Just before we went into the Peterhof we had the opportunity to have lunch. We stopped at a little cafe on the grounds and grabbed some bellinis (like crepes stuffed with pretty much any kind of food you can imagine…totally yummy). Then I encountered these rascals:
Yup…those are birds alright…evil little birds! They kept trying to steal my food! They were worse than the sea gulls at most clam shacks along the coast of Maine! I put my food on the table, took three steps to get a fork and they were already pouncing on my grub. Even after sitting down they kept trying to steal my food. Completely unacceptable! It started to reach the annoying state when all you want to do is smack the little buggers despite their cuteness, so I started building barricades using my camera, water bottle, basically whatever I could get. But that didn’t stop them. Eventually Allie chose the plastic cup ammunition route which proved much more effective.
Sooooo…back to the palace. Before I delve into many of the details, here is a picture of the palace, so you have a visual reference to what I’m talking about.
The palace was built for Peter the Great in the early 1700s. Much of the palace was damaged in the war but much of it has been restored to its original grandeur. Our group first took a guided tour of the inside of the palace and then moved to the exterior and explored the parks and fountains. As usual, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the palace (flash photography + old stuff = fading) but I stole a few pics from Google images (man…I love me some Google images) so you can see what we saw today. And I have to admit, I was thoroughly impressed. Peterhof is often compared to Versailles. Having been to Versailles and now Peterhof, I find that Peterhof is way may ornate and interesting.
Here is the grand staircase, which was our first visual treat inside the palace:
And next up we have the thrown room:
And finally we have the blue dining room:
These three rooms were my favorite rooms inside the palace. I found most everything to be so ornate and gorgeous. It was obvious that there was no expense spared in the creation and decoration of the palace. Also, the whole time we were going through the building I kept imagining what kind of secret passageways there might be and how much fun it would be to explore them all.
After we concluded our tour of the interior of the palace, it was time to go explore all the gardens and fountains. Here is a picture of myself in front of the massive canal that stems to the sea:
And another picture of the main fountain between the palace and the canal:
And some more fountain shots:
And one more fountain shot with James…I like to call this James & the giant fountain (get it…instead of James & the Giant Peach? I know…I’m a dork):
We also got to explore the grounds at great lengths, which were just as impressive as the interior of the palace. We were also blessed with some beautiful weather. This may be the best time to tell you that we’ve had the most amazing weather the entire trip. The sun and warmth seems to follow us where ever we go and I’m greatly appreciative! Especially since I’ve heard that it’s been raining non stop back in Maine. And cold…I can’t forget the cold.
During our tour of the grounds, we ran into this place:
And I fell deeply, deeply in love with it! It’s a gazebo and there are four of them surrounding one of the larger fountains. I absolutely love it’s style, details, and coloring. Colby…Do you think you can build me one of these? Well…it was worth an ask.
Our next stop on the tour of the grounds was the Baltic shore, which was incredibly warm…I know…I touched it! It looked a bit like Kennebunk along the coast. I know I’ve said this a thousand times, but Russia (at least the area we’ve visited) feels alot like Maine.
After we visited the sea shore, Andrei led us to the trick fountains. Peter was a great prankster back in the day and created several “trick” fountains, all of which spray non suspecting people as they pass through the grounds or sit on a bench. Here is one such trick fountain:
The trick was to follow the path exactly as Andrei led us through. You had to step on the exact rocks that he stepped on because he knew the right ones, or else you would get wet. The first group passed through until the very end. My group also attempted it and got soaked. Yes, that’s right, I was soaking wet in the middle of the Peterhof palace gardens. It looked like I peed my pants! But that’s cool…because in the great words of Mr. Billy Madison, “You ain’t cool unless you pee your pants”. Here’s a group of Russian students who also got soaked.
If you look closely at the photo you can see the real trick. It actually didn’t matter whether or not you stepped on the right rocks. If you look behind the white bench you can see a man sitting on the bench behind it. This man actually controlled the fountain and he got to choose the fountain’s victims. Often, the leader of the group was not soaked but those unsuspecting followers paid the price.
So here’s a picture of our entire group in front of one of the many fountains on the Peterhof property:
A fine looking group I must add! And finally, here’s a picture of one of the buildings down from the main palace:
This was my attempt at trying to take an “artsy” picture. How’d I do?
So that concludes our Peterhof adventure. I have to admit, I greatly enjoyed it and it’s my favorite tourist visit of the trip so far. After our visit, we went to our hotel where we checked in, relaxed, and took it easy for awhile. Our night was free to us so a few of us went to dinner on Nevskiy Prospekt, which is St. Petersburg’s main artery. For all of you New Englanders out there, it’s kind of like Boylston Street in Boston. We’re fortunate that our hotel is just off Nevskiy Prospekt so it’s easy to find food and entertainment. After dinner we took a short stroll to check out one of the many bridges in St. Petersburg. The city is often compared to Venice since it has many canals, ornate bridges, and water taxis. Later on we will be touring the bridges and taking an evening canal ride, so stay tuned.
Thus, I am now officially exhausted and will retire for the evening. I tried to sound proper, like Catherine the Great would have said back in the day. I’m channeling my inner CTG right now. Goodnight from St. Petersburg!