My Trip of a Lifetime
In the winter of 2000, I went to Russia to meet my fiancé’s parents. I was very excited and scared because I had never left the country before and especially to a country the size of Russia. I was intimidated by it all to say the least and my fiance tried his best to make me feel less tense about the whole thing.
The trip there was fine, about 6 hours to New York by way of Dallas and then 14 hours from New York to Finland and then about 30 min to Russia. I was so excited because I felt like I was just not in another country but another planet. The more I looked around it dawned on me how old everything was considering that the city was only 300 years old or so, I wasn’t expecting this.
My husband is from St. Petersburg, Russia. It used to be called Leningrad, back before the Soviet Union fell and when it did, they started calling it St. Petersburg again. It is about the size of New York City with a population close to 10 million people. In honor of the man who actually built the city with his own two hands, Peter the Great. Well with his own two hands and about a million others as well. But from what I understand Peter the Great was a perfectionist and wanted to build a city by the Neva River in honor of his daughter and he wanted it to look like a palace to her. Well he accomplished one thing. The city does look like a palace, but his daughter didn’t live long enough to see it. And from what I understand so many people died building this city that it is often said by the locals that the city is built upon bones.It is very cold there as it is the northernest city to the north pole that there is and I have never felt cold like that before. There was actually icicles on my nose.
Well I certainly do not want to bore anyone with every detail of my trip but I wanted to share a couple of pictures of some of the most extraordinary places that I experienced there. My future in-laws were as nice as could be and beautiful people, although they didn’t speak a word of English and I a word of Russian (well maybe a word or two) but not enough to communicate with them that is for sure. My husband Ian did the translating for us all.
One of the places I wanted to share was the Winter Palace, this is a grand Palace and I think my mouth was open the whole time I was there, but it is where all the past Tsars lived and where Catherine the Great lived as well. I actually got to see her throne. It is very hard to actually take pictures in the palace because of the damage that cameras have on things and the same goes for all the museums, so one has to be very sneaky about this. Everything was laden in gold and the halls went on for miles with rows and rows of pictures and statues, it was amazing.
Which brings me to the Hermitage Museum, which is attached to the Winter Palace now, back when Catherine the Great was the ruler; she started an art collection mainly from Germany and started a vast collection of art from all over the world. Now there is so many pieces of art and so many different rooms in the Hermitage that it would take you about a week to actually go through each room and see all the paintings. It was quite exciting to see Picasso’s and Da Vince’s and Monet’s everywhere. I so wanted to take a picture and I managed to take a picture of the Monet, but then this old lady came up to me and started waggling her finger at me and muttered something in Russian, my husband just moved me along and told me to put my camera away. The part of the museum that impressed me the most was the biblical part of the museum and how large some of those painting are. Some are the size of a whole wall from top to bottom and I am sure that they took years to paint. They were magnificent and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of it all.
The other place I wanted to share was the Marinsky theatre. My future in-laws surprised us with tickets to see the Nut Cracker at the Marinsky. I couldn’t believe it, I had seen the Nut Cracker before because it is one of my favorite ballets but to actually get to see it at the most famous theatre in the world. I think they were surprised that I was surprised, because I guess they have seen it so many times, but to me it was a dream come true. The Marinksy theatre was after all where Baryshnikov got his start and became famous. The theatre was beautiful and the ballet was magnificent that it almost made me cry. The only thing that marred the whole thing was that while I was in Russia is when I started feeling sick. I had a heart tumor at the time and didn’t know it so the weather there didn’t agree with me, and I started feeling very sick in Russia. I would have enjoyed the ballet more if I hadn’t been ill. It wasn’t until I returned to Texas that I was finally diagnosed with the tumor but anyway, no matter what, I will never forget my trip there and hope to be going back soon.
I would like to return during the summer because they have white nights there like in Alaska, where it is the dead of night and the sky is still a very light yellowish color. I have only seen it in pictures but it promises to be amazing. Well that is my trip to Russia, hope you enjoy the pictures.
Oh as a side note, if you go to St. Petersburg and want to take a picture of the statue of Peter the Great, like the one here, be careful, because I walked into the grassy part of the statue and a policeman blew his whistle at me and started yelling at me in Russian, my husband then told me that it is against the law to get too close to the statue. I was so scared; I thought I was going to jail. Anyway, my husband and his father got a good laugh at this so be warned, because those sneaky Russians won’t tell you, they think things like that are funny. Ha Russian humor, don’t get me started. I could do a whole hub on Russian humor. Peace everyone.
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