Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Russia Round

It was Friday evening when we hopped on our third train for that day. We were off to Russia in the first of two overnight trains for the six day trip. In theory, sight-seeing during the day and traveling at night sounded very efficient. In practice, I wound up getting sick. I actually had hives by the time we got to St. Petersburg. It wasn't just the ground we covered, but Russia's history has been racing through time through extreme wealth balanced out by poverty. Czars, dictators, communism, capitalism, the mysteriously absent poverty, and the KGB are all mixed together in some sort of Eurasian soup.

The Lenin statues are up. The Stalin statues are down. The streets of Moscow were full of fancy business men and women in high-class suits and stiletto high heels that would break my ankles in an instant. It wasn't until St. Petersburg, outside of the cemetery where Tchaikovsky was buried, that I saw my first homeless people in Russia. They were confined to a special area, out of sight of the main flow of traffic (which, by the way, is bad and getting worse-- we spent two hours driving to Catherine's Palace, and only a half driving back).

What I saw was Russia's wealth, though I realize there was a lot that I didn't see. I saw the elaborate cathedrals, art museums, palaces, and historical monuments. It made me wonder what I didn't see.

Here's my Moscow Movie (Moscow-- in no particular order):

After putting together the Moscow Movie, I realized that Leasa also made some GREAT movies and captured some good shots and some good times. Here's her St. Petersburg Movie: Leasa's St. P blog

It was a great trip and boy am I glad that I got to go. The four of us from Lukonmaki had a rockin time with the students from Jyvaskyla and Oulu. Especially with the Dutch guy named Bob who actually got slapped by his cab driver after a disagreement about his cab fare.


Dustin said...

I loved the video!

Russia is such an odd place to visit, but it looks like you are making the most of it.


Elly Fisher said...

Your pictures are amazing! what beautiful colors. Too bad you didn't get to see the other side of Russia. Is the vodka really better there?

Laura G said...

You're so funny...I love the picture of you in the air....it even captured your shoe coming off!

laurita said...

A good portion of these pictures were taken by my travel buddies, Leasa, Greg, and Jason. I don't want to claim all of the credit! They are good pix! And it was beautiful!