Friday, July 3, 2009

Thanks JWC for permission to just have fun, I can assure you we all our doing our best. I haven't posted on the bar stories because children may be listening!

St. Petersburg, Russia - the Venice of Northern Europe. Built on a marshland by Peter the Great in an effort to regain a port city and start bringing Russia into the western world. Formerly Petrograd, formerly Leningrad. Our guide said that for people born before 1991 their passports name the city of birth as Leningrad and the country as USSR, both a city and country that no longer exists. 

The skies were dotted with dark clouds this morning threatening rain. We were fortunate that our afternoon tour was dry and mostly sunny. We went to the Church on the Spilled Blood, and cruised the canals for a different view of the city. 

The Church on the Spilled Blood, was the site of the assassination attempt of Alexander ( I think the lll, but don’t hold my feet to the fire on that one). The church was fashioned after St Basil’s in Moscow. When the revolution did away with religion it was used as a storehouse, a lot of churches were leveled to the ground. More than a generation went by and most had no idea what treasures lay inside; the build up of dirt and grime hid the mosaics. It took years of painstaking,(we’re talking toothbrushes) cleaning to bring the church and it’s art back to life. It is no longer in use as a church but as a “museum.”

Our canal trip took us on the Neva, some of the sites we saw: the Hermitage, Aurora (ship that fired the first shot of the revolution), former KGB building (has a basement with the best view of Siberia), Trinity bridge (given to Russia by the French - designed and installed by Eiffel), palaces (because one is never enough), and the Peter & Paul Fortress (first structure of the settlement of St. Petersburg). 

Not to forget the ever present souvenir shop, don’t expect anything.

We had a delightful day, a quiet dinner aboard ship, and some young up and coming entertainers this evening. 


locks on bridge- day of wedding groom puts lock on bridge to ensure a strong marriage.

yellow building w/ three antennas- former KGB ( now named something different but same game!)

Church on the Spilled Blood

church mosaics

Aurora,( by the way the flag on the ship is St. Andrew's, the patron saint of their Navy)

1950's "Stalin style" apartments

Tomorrow, bright and early, we head to the Hermitage.

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