Friday, September 10, 2004

St. Petersburg--August 26-29, 2004 (finally!) 

[Written January 17, 2005, but stuck here to preserve chronology.]

The biggest drawback to big, labor-intensive trips like the one we took to Russia is that by the time I get home, I'm too exhausted to do it justice on the blog. I've been feeling guilty for over 5 months now for not having posted a report on the St. Petersburg half of the trip, and my memory isn't getting any sharper. That's unfortunate because one thing I do remember clearly is that I definitely preferred it to Moscow. While Moscow is by and large urban gloominess punctuated by spots of sheer brilliance, St. Petersburg is consistently beautiful. Even the stuff that isn't important historically is pretty to look at.

Rather than trying to reconstruct the entire visit here, I'll offer a few highlights and rely on my ImageStation album (which I fortunately put together back in September when my memory was reasonably fresh) to tell the rest of the story.

We stayed in the Hotel Okhtinskaya on the banks of the Neva River, and Mike was my roommate. He loves to tell about how I woke up from my nap that first afternoon shrieking hysterically that somebody had stolen my teeth. Oh, yes, I'm lots of fun as a roomie.

I'm opposed to animal exploitation, but I couldn't resist getting a picture of Mike and my mom with a real Russian bear:

Everywhere we go, I find myself taking pictures of the native kids:

Annabelle discovered a taste for espresso in St. Petersburg. She insists that Arabian espresso is the best:

Annabelle, Rebecca, and Mike enjoyed playing in the fountains at Peterhof in spite of the chilly weather:

Mike pretended to sulk about the skateboarder discrimination at the Catherine Palace:

Here's a shot of our whole tour group (except for me). The lady on the far right is our guide, Anna:

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