Thursday, October 22, 2015

Last Day in Russia. June 29, 2105

Sunny and 75. GLORIOUS. My mojo rolls on.

This day we're on our own. We decided that we wanted to do a canal cruise. Masha had brought us to where there was one in English yesterday, but it was full so we're doing it today. We decided to walk.

PRO TIP. Don't jaywalk in Russia.

No we didn't get thrown in a gulag... it's just that drivers there are INSANE (... and i live in washington, dc!) we dang near got killed trying to cross the street. (think frogger at the Indy 500, 6 wide)

So we get across the river and find the dock where Masha had taken us. I'd emailed her the night before to get the right street name and she graciously told us how to get there. I still ended up confused, but Karen found her inner compass in St. Petersburg and navigated us flawlessly.

The tour wasn't until 1 so we went to investigate a spot where Karen thought there was another English tour, but there wasn't so we killed time shopping. of course. we lost track of time (of course) and had to run or miss the boat.

 Dome of St. Isaac's
 The Hermitage... part of it anyway.
 Seigfried and Roy, Russian Style

 So many cool neoclassical buildings here.
 i still haven't seen this movie... 
 We're on a boat!

still working on my selfie skills.

 Peter and Paul Fortress
 Statues on top of the Hermitage

 interesting new architecture giving a nod to St. Petersburg's cathedrals

still working on selfie skills.

So the canal tour was cool, and as you can see, toward the end we saw the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood and decided that was next on the agenda. This place is amazing, inside and out. Every surface inside is covered with mosaics, either scenes from the Bible, or just designs. all mosaic. ALL. 

even the floor

i mean, seriously... 

Two teenage boys came up to us inside the church asking if we had american coins to trade with them. I was really sad that neither of us did.

When we walked out of the cathedral, this bicycle taxi guy was there that we'd chatted with before we went in. He agreed to take us to our next destination which was an exhibition on lighting and holography, in a building back toward our hotel. He told us his name was Serge (you probably pronounced it correctly in your head, but he actually pronounced it "surge" to us. So when I seemed confused, he said it was how Americans say it and he was trying to be polite.)

Anyway, Serge, poor boy, earned his $25 american dollars that day. He took us down Nevsky and across the Neva to the place where the exhibit was. he was pretty exhausted when he dropped us off.

 Took some pics as Serge peddled down Nevsky...

This is a sculpture outside a small art museum. it's supposed to be a bale of hay (i assume), all those pieces are glass.

So it turned out that the light and holography exhibit wasn't an exhibit, it was a conference, and we weren't invited. So, we set off toward our hotel, taking a nice leisurely stroll... we came upon an outdoor cafe and decided to get something to eat.

So in America when you order a beer flight, the glasses are generally not full size... or even half size. For three types, i was expecting to get about the equivalent of a single beer. Nyet, says the Russian!

Karen ordered this sausage thing... it tasted good, but it sure wasn't pretty.

So we're now addicted to posing with statues. Whether we're doing this, or trying to imitate the pose, we're completely enamoured of this practice.

Back at our hotel, waiting for the shuttle back to the boat. Really could have used one more day, but it was an amazing experience.

So we get to  the boat terminal, there's no signage, and no one helping anyone. We got in a line that looked like it might be where we needed to be and hoped for the best. When we started getting closer to the front of the line, I felt like maybe we missed a step, so I went to investigate. Sure enough... we had to check in and get boarding cards. Karen held our place while I took care of thatchecked us in and got our boarding cards. A mom and daughter from Illinois were standing in line with us and they had to do the same thing. Had we gotten to the front of the line without the cards, they would have turned us away and we would have ended up at the back of the line. So, phew!

When we arrived in St. Petersburg, it was early morning, so our first look at the country was from the boat as we stepped onto the dock. As we left, we got to see just how enormous this city is. the port went on and on and OONNNN... for well over an hour before we finally were at sea. I of course was fascinated with it all. I've got a major crane thing, especially gantries. I don't know why, but I just think they're so very cool.

After we left the city behind, we made our way to our cabin and hit the hay. We'll be back in Helsinki tomorrow.

we stirred up a lot silt when we pulled away from the dock.

Bye Russia, thanks for a great time!


CrysCrosby said...

Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood: Are all of those spire things textured that way? It looks like something out of a cartoon... my favorite colors? The mosaics are amazing. The exterior brick looks like it has been laid vertically.
I'll have to share the port photos with my dad, he was a longshoreman for many years and may have worked with ships out of St. Petersburg.

Sheri Holthouse said...

oh no way! (on your dad)

yeah, those spires are all super textured. very cool.