Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saint Petersburg, Russia!

We took a night bus from Tallinn, Estonia to Saint Petersburg, Russia. On the bus, Jay met a very nice Russian man named, Evgeny. He helped Jay fill out our Immigration Registration cards and gave him tips about the trains. I'm not sure about everything that they discussed, because I was passed out asleep in my seat. Anyways, approximately at 2am we were stopped at border control. It was a breeze with no complications! Finally, we were lucky! Thanks to Evgeny and his hospitality. Once through border control, we attempted to try to get some sleep. This was impossible...the road was extremely bumpy and bus constantly shook. Could things possibly get worse? Oh yes, they could and they did! We arrived in St. Petersburg at 6am in the morning and found our way to the hotel that we reserved. The receptionist did not speak any English and therefore, we had to wait until the English speaking receptionist arrived. Once she arrived we inquired about our reservation. She explained to us that she did not have a reservation for us and did not know the company that provided our reservation. Imagine being sleepy and hungry as you are being told this. She sent us to the Moscow train station service center were another person was to help us find a room. Once again, bad one helped us. This could be due to the language barrier...I don't know. Next, we decided that our best option would be to go to Tourist Information. Here six women worked on finding us a room for over two hours. It comes to find out that there were no rooms available at any hotels, hostels, or guesthouses, because it is the celebration of the city until the 27th of May. However, they were able to find us an apartment to rent. This was our only option so we agreed. We arrived to the apartment and were greeted by a two Russian women, one spoke only Russian and other spoke English and Russian. The Russian lady, who only spoke Russian, explained how to work everything in the apartment in Russian while the other lady mediated in English. This was extremely interesting how renting an apartment with language barriers worked. We signed a rental agreement and were extremely happy with our experience. Finally, some good luck! The next day, we set out to see the sights of Russia. As we walked down the streets, we noticed the beautifully architected buildings. Each building must have taken up over half of a block! Nothing is small in Russia! The first sight that we saw was the Church of the Savior of Spilled Blood. This was by far our favorite sight so far. This church is the spot where Alexander II, the Emperor of Russia, was mortally wounded on March 1, 1881. The memorial temple was erected between 1883 and 1907. This building was designed in old Russian style and modeled on the 17th century churches of Moscow and Yaroslavl. The temple is particularly remarkable for the richness and variety of its decor. The mosaics, which cover a vast area of the outer and inner walls (7,000 square meters) make the church an international monument. Jay and I were breath taken by the amount of time and preparation in this monument. The mosaics were stunning and this was the first time we have seen something of this beauty. After spending about an hour in this temple, we made our way to the Russian Museum. Here, most of the painting were centered around self and family portraits of important figure heads and wealthy families, and Jesus Christ. We were not so impressed with this aspect of Russian culture. Today, we have spent most of the day in front of the computer catching you guys up on our journey. It has been a pleasure! Now, we are heading into the city to begin to celebrate the first day of the St. Petersburg celebration. (By the way the entire time that I have been sitting at the computer typing, I have been taken over by the smell of a Russian who has not bathed in quite some time!)


cskettler said...

i am loving the VIDEO!!! too bad i dont have speakers hooked up to your computer.

My 4 legged grandchildren are protecting me...but Aden is afraid of Jak. Jak is like a cow herder and can make him get off the bed, get out of the dressing room, sometimes he wont allow him in my room and Aden cries to let him get by. It's funny to see and Toby has no fear.

love you and miss ya!

Unknown said...

Jay, Kacee, It's almost as hot here as in Moscow. Whew, thinking of you! How are you enjoying the big city? It was a nice piece of luck that you became our neighbors. We'll keep an eye on you via the website. Good luck from the two of us!

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS, former homeowners! IT'S A DONE DEAL!!!
Your adventures are facinating, and I'm living vicariously through you two. Love y'all! Melinda

Anonymous said...

Whoops, I misspelled "fascinating." At any rate, your adventures ARE fascinating.

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