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Published: October 2nd 2017
Today was Hop on/ Hop off bus ride day. I've done these before in London and Singapore and found it to be a good way of getting an overview of the City. I can then go back and spend time at the places of interest. To get there was a subway ride. Clean and efficient, they still use tokens.
It would be a tragic understatement to say I was in awe of the architecture and culture of this city. Every building seems to have a story, some dating back to the 800's. There is mystery and intrigue built right into the buildings. Before the Freemasons followers of Newton formed a secret society and like the freemasons left intricate clues to their secrets in their architecture. I've posted a very few photos to give an example of the variance in style but there is so much more. Today a visit to several cathedrals (St Issac's, Church of the Savior on Blood) and a most peculiar place, Mikhailovsky Castle (right adjacent to Engineer's park by the way). It is the only moated castle in St Petersburg and has a rich history; a strange even ominous presence. Rode past the house of Joseph
Brodsky, a poet who once wrote "Sir I am tough and you are tough, but who will write who's epitaph..." (hanging on the wall of the Russian Samovar restaurant in NYC).
Interspersed with the buildings and never far away are luscious parks and gardens. Well maintained and respected these areas seem to hold their on with the pomp and majesty of the surrounding buildings. No one walks on the grass and while dogs are welcomed most places, a few of the more pristine parks are off limits to four legged critters. Speaking of the dogs, the breeds here are just as magnificent as the rest of the city. From the wolf looking Siberian Huskies with bright shining eyes to large headed Sheepdogs and Mastifs they are a pleasure to share the sidewalk with. They are, as the rest of the City's inhabitants well mannered and friendly.
The people are as warm, caring and giving as any I've ever met. They are noble and selfless at the same time. There is a feeling of the familial as I walk about. I'm reminded somewhat of my days as a youngster in the South. The kids are well behaved and respectful,
old people are honored (yay!) and there is a common sense of camaraderie among folks. I have not yet met anyone who was not kind or brushed me off when I was lost/confused. And yes, Goggle maps is a life saver. I experienced the same positive traits in the people's of Holland, Denmark and Finland. Perhaps it's an Eastern European or Baltic thing.
Came back to the hotel about 3 for lunch and maintenance. My Gett driver (Russia's answer to Uber) suggested a Georgian place near the hotel. It was the best bread I've ever eaten (I think). Photo of the sizzling bowl of stewed chicken attached. After resting a bit, tonight, I'm taking a dinner cruise on the River Neva. It's been clouding up all day and there have been a few sprinkles; it's getting colder.
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