RUSSIA: Saint Petersburg experience in pictures

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May 16th 2007
Published: May 16th 2007
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Church on Spilled BloodChurch on Spilled BloodChurch 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.
"Priviet" (hi).

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
Russian fashionRussian fashionRussian fashion

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.


Additional photos below
Photos: 29, Displayed: 23


View from my roomView from my room
View from my room

From the window of the over 200 year old building, one of the inumerous canals.
In Russia as the RussianIn Russia as the Russian
In Russia as the Russian

Complimentary vodka shot at the ecletic "The Idiot" restaurant with 2 English friends
Colorful souveniersColorful souveniers
Colorful souveniers

Unfortunately, the barganing game is big here too. Prices start 50% higher
Ooops! Too much vodkaOoops! Too much vodka
Ooops! Too much vodka

Alcoholism is the #1 health problem in Russia. Got to see some fellows who had a few too many.
Me & Church on Spilled BloodMe & Church on Spilled Blood
Me & Church on Spilled Blood

Canals are everywhere in St Ptersburg.
With Sasha on the roofWith Sasha on the roof
With Sasha on the roof

Trhough a window I went to the roof to see aview of St Issac cathedral... at 3am.
Just had to tryJust had to try
Just had to try

Russian Vodka: I committed a sin by making the bartender mix it with a flavored drink. That's offensive here
Just had to try 2Just had to try 2
Just had to try 2

Russian Champange: it was actually very good.
Just had to try 3  Just had to try 3
Just had to try 3

Just joking around... the empty "pivo"(beer) bottle was one of many found on the streets. Other the this type of junk, the streets are very clean.
Orthodox Prayer for saleOrthodox Prayer for sale
Orthodox Prayer for sale

In front of Russian Orthodox church, this woman carries a box where she collects money with the promise to pray for you. She didn't get my money... particularly with the dollar not going very far here.
Peter the Great being washedPeter the Great being washed
Peter the Great being washed

Peter the Great founded the city. He was an "alcohol lover", hung with freskd snd misfits, and was found of eccentricity. He had son tortured for not committing to modernisation./killed
The Hermitage MuseumThe Hermitage Museum
The Hermitage Museum

Built by Catherine the Great. It was incredible to discover hystory thru the arts in one of the most magnificent museums in the world.
The Hermitage Museum at nightThe Hermitage Museum at night
The Hermitage Museum at night

View from bridge, at midnight
The 2 SistersThe 2 Sisters
The 2 Sisters

Oil by Picasso at the Hermitage
Me & MatisseMe & Matisse
Me & Matisse

The Dance. Also there was The Music, The Nude, and more
Van Gogh's Memory of the Garden at EttenVan Gogh's Memory of the Garden at Etten
Van Gogh's Memory of the Garden at Etten

Happy to see work by my favorite painter. This one was painted during major depression, when Van Gogh painted 200 canvas in 15 months
Saint Issac CathedralSaint Issac Cathedral
Saint Issac Cathedral

Stalin turned it into the Museum of Atheism during the communism era. I walked to the dome
Colorful Russian dollsColorful Russian dolls
Colorful Russian dolls

It was tough to negociate price with street vendors when so many had such a bad alcohol breath ("bafo horrivel!)...
Swan Lake BalletSwan Lake Ballet
Swan Lake Ballet

The Russian experience wouldn't be complete without going to the theater Cost only 200 roubles.

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