Church on Spilled Blood
Magnific multi-domed colorful church built where Alexander II was murdered. Stalin turned it into a potato storage facility. 24yrs to built, 27yrs to restore.
As promised, here are some pictures from St Pete.
I was fortunate to have a true Russian experience, as I stayed with a Russian couple. I got to taste real Russian food (mostly delicious), coffee (nice and strong), and champagne (yeap! I really liked it, and I did even know Russia had anything but vodka).
I got to see a Russian production of the Swan Lake and I got to go to a party, which lasted until 3:3am, on a week day. Talking about politics, people fell much better off since the fall of communism, love ex-president Michael Gorbachev, don't love president Putin but think he is much better than the previous alcoholic Yeltsin, and hate president Bush and the late Stalin.
Sasha is a physician but says the pay is so low that practicing medicine is like a hobby. Andrey makes more as a photographer. Medical care is still free, but the sick might have to wait a while for service. Private insurance is now available thru employment.
Education is free up to high school. At the university, 50% of the vacancies is for the best students who can't pay, thus free. The
High heels and mini-skirts from morning to night on the streets. Not enough men for all the single girls...
other 5% is paid, for students who have the hightest scores.
Man has to decide between going to the university, the marine or the army. Tons of Marines on the streets here. Much better option than the army.
The sun shines until 11:30 at night during this time of the year, in contrust to sunset at 4pm during winter. Walking on the streets at 4am to watch the bridges on the Neva river up, for the boats to pass, felt very safe. Passing by a public park, there were about 10 people still drinking in front of a kiosk.
To make up for the last blog, let me have the pictures do some talking.
They say that Russia is 3 countries within one: Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and the rest of the country. Unfortunatelly I won't be able to see the "rest", which hasn't taken the advantage of Perestroika as much, so to the political capital, Moscow, I go.
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