Wednesday, February 2, 2011

August 9 Saint Petersburg

Above is the Mariinsky Theater, known as the Kirov during Soviet times.  The Nutcracker and other Tchaikovsky works first premiered here.

The Cathedral of Our Savior of the Spilled Blood has a very "Russian" look, which is an interesting contrast with the more "European" appearance of St. Petersburg in general.

Today we had a driving tour of the city highlights in a mini-bus. Our tour guide’s name is Lara. She is maybe a little older than us, and seemsvery Orthodox Christian and pro-Romanov. We drove past the major
buildings, and stopped outside a few: St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the equestrian statue of Peter I opposite the Neva River, the very Russian-looking Cathedral of Our Savior of the Spilled Blood built on the site where Czar
Alexander was assassinated, and we had a very nice tour of St. Nicholas Marine Cathedral. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of travelers and sailors. We all lighted candles there and I bought a small icon of the Holy Trinity. On my way out, the wind caught the main door, and it swung shut against my
hand. It was big, and heavy, so it had lots of momentum. Hurt like the
dickens for the rest of the day!

Top:  Aurora museum ship in St. Petersburg
Below:  .Battleship Mikasa museum in Yokosuka, Japan.
Both ships fought in 1905 at the Battle of Tsushima Strait.

We also went to the cruiser Aurora and went on board. Now I have been aboard two ships that fought at the Battle of Tsushima! The other is, of course, HIJMS Mikasa, the Japanese flagship that is preserved as a museum in Yokosuka. Butch and Del went to tour the Peter and Paul Fortress. Being tired, Penny and I decided to give that one a miss. We went back to the hotel. We went to a very nice looking Lithuanian restaurant that I had seen back on Sreding Prospekt. Butch and Del decided to leave us and go back to last night’s pub for stroganoff.  Alaine, Penny, and I stayed. It was great! I had mast zrawzi which were like mashed potatoes roasted and stuffed with meat, and covered with a cream sauce. Afterwards, we all went to the Nicolaevski Palace for a show of cultural dancing and polyphonic singing.

Inside the Nicolaevsky Palace.

The singer on the right had the deepest voice I have ever heard.

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