Thursday, May 31, 2007

Celebration of Saint Petersburg!

As we approached the city, streets were lined with people on every corner. The parade had just begun and it appeared to look like some sort of crazy rave, but with American music. The crowds of people went wild and danced. Jay and I attempted to make our way back to our apartment for lunch, but this was nearly impossible. We fought through the crowd and made it to our flat. After we ate lunch, we headed into the city to see the aftermath of the parade. Crowds of people were walking in the middle of the street (Nevsky). This street is usually busy with zooming cars. Police were lined on each side of the road carefully watching and stepping in when needed. We walked around the entire city and there were mobs of people everywhere! It was crazy! Later that evening, we knocked on our neighbors door to introduce ourselves. The landlord told us that an American-Russian couple lived there. And indeed, this was true! Howard and Irena provided us with wonderful hospitality and interesting conversation. We made plans for dinner the next night!

The next day, we had a fun filled day of site seeing. First, we made our way to the Winter Palace where we went to the Hermitage museum. It was impossible to view all of the beautiful works of art and treasure presented. We roamed around the museum for about two hours discussing the armoury from different countries displayed. Then, we continued the path to St. Isaac's Cathedral. This church dominates the city skyline. It is open as a museum, but we opted to climb the 262 steps of the colonnade around the dome's drum to see the view of the city. This view was not as impressive as we thought it was going to be. We could only see the roof tops of the building nearby. This was somewhat disappointing. However, the cathedral was beautifully architectured. Next, we continued with a stroll through the Summer Garden. This is considered to be Saint Petersburg loveliest park. It was by far beautiful and lavishly full of blooming flowers. Later that evening we had dinner with our new friends, Howard and Irena. They took us to a restaurant called Blinni Domik, which means House of Pancakes in English. Here we had Russian Cuisine that was impeccable! (Jess you would have enjoyed this experience!)

On Sunday, we went to the local market to get fruit for our train ride to Moscow. The market was lined with many fruits, vegetables, cheese, potatoes, and meats. As Jay paided for the cherries and oranges, the lady behind the produce counter tried to rip him off. Jay got loud a couple of times and she eventually gave him some money back. Later we found out from Howard and Irena that we actually got a good deal for our produce. Negotiation....Jay is good at it even with language barriers. Later that afternoon, we headed to the train station to purchase tickets to Moscow. Howard and Irena came along to help us with this process. It took approximately one hour to get our tickets and we even had a Russian native speaker helping us. It was at this point that we decided that we would attempt to get our hostel or travel agency to book our Trans-Siberia tickets. After a couple of hours on the train, we ran into an American couple from Utah, Ashley and Nathaniel. To our surprise, we were staying in the same hostel and decided to walk together once at the station. They were extremely nice and we ran into them quite often at the hostel. On the train we also met two helpful Russian girls, Anna and Sasha. They helped with translation from the "Provodnitsa" (train attendant). Both girls, have the dream of visiting the United States. We arrived in Moscow late that night, made our way through the metro, and got lost. Luckily, the hostel was very hospitable and picked us up at the metro station. The next day our journey began in Moscow...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your stay in Russia! I read about their ICBM tests today on CNN. Nice beard Jay.