Warning: This post may be a long one…let’s find out.
My last few days in St. Petersburg went by very quickly.
The main purpose of this trip was really for my mother to reconnect with her old University buddies. A school reunion if you will. It was quite cute actually. 10-12 of her closest friends (some that were at her wedding) sitting down over dinner and gabbing over past memories like they are still the school children they are reminiscing about. It was clearly quite boring for me as I had absolutely nothing to contribute to this conversation. Instead, I got a cold. Yep, I got sick cause it’s so cold there! The heating is regulated by the city and is turned on for the city all at once. It was not turned on yet. Really. *Sniffle*
The next day, while sick, we took the bus out of town to Pushkin (sp?) where Katherine’s Palace is, and the Amber Room. The thing about all these palaces in Russia, is that they start to look the same after a while. Gold, gold, gold and more gold. Also, they not only charge you an entrance fee to the palace grounds (i.e the park), you then have to pay an ADDITIONAL entrance fee to go into the palace itself. Rip Off! Who wants to walk around the million foot park when its frigid cold outside? Not me, I say. Not me. Regardless, the Amber Room is really cool. It was only recently opened in 2003? or was it 2005? to the public after they had finished all the restoration. Pictures are strictly forbidden in this room as the flash dulls the Amber. (FYI- Amber is known to have healing qualities!) Our tour guide (*grumble*) was very Nazi-esque about this, yelling at everyone who even reached into their purse for fear that they would pull out a camera. She went so far as to snap at an English tourist – even tho she had no idea what she was saying. I wanted to translate, but then they would know I was a tourist too. See my previous posts for my its not good to be recognized as a tourist in Russia.
On the Thursday, we went to the Hermitage museum in the morning. I can’t say I am one to spend a long time in museums. I tend to walk quickly stopping at only the really interesting things to read the little snippets. This makes all my museum visits short. We had a few hours to waste before the ballet gala (yay!) at 7pm. We ate, walked through more stores. Since I was still sick, I felt like I was being tortured following my mom through all these endless stores. 7pm could not come fast enough.
Finally, it was time. What I had been waiting for…the ballet gala! (A ballet gala is a mixture of a whole bunch of different ballets instead of one long story ballet) It was ridiculously wonderful. Like, ridiculous! This ballet was top notch – much higher caliber than the Swan Lake we saw. They performed Romeo & Juliet, Esmeralda, Don Quixote (my fav), and more. Also as an added bonus, a lady from Boston was sitting next to us and I finally got to use the English language after two weeks of being partially mute. Whew.
The day departure was spent mostly for packing purposes, and since we had to wake up at 4am to catch the 730am flight, it was an early night. On the way home we flew with Air France….on a huge Airbus! It was wicked. We had seats at the top of the Airbus meaning more leg room and faster service. Amazing. Unfortunately, all the movies they were showing I had already seen (thank goodness for my sudoku book)
- I missed the sun, and was glad it was shining when I returned.
- Russians are not particularly friendly – I guess we’re spoiled rotten with kindness in Canada.
- I need to go on a diet.
- Even though I am Russian – I am glad my parents made the choice to move to Canada when I was 6 years old. Seeing what my life could’ve been made me appreciate what I have all that much more.