On the road again… well not really on the road, but on the seas again!
St. Petersburg was more fun and exciting and fascinating and interesting than I could have imagined. Going into the port, I didn’t know much about Russia; I was worried there wasn’t enough to do. But leaving, I was sad that I didn’t have enough time.
I planned the trip for my friends and I during our stay in St. Petersburg. We decided at the end of the time there, one of us is good at directions (Meghan,) one is good at decisions and asking for help from others (Rishika,) and I am good at making it an adventure. Basically saying I make it interesting because I get us lost and they get us back. We make a good team. :]
The first day we planned to go to the Hermitage, the popular museum that held Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and ancient Egyptian artifacts. We took the metro, which was an adventure on its own, and ended up on the complete other side of the city! Oops. But once we got there, it was worth it! Russian vodka was tried (sorry Mom) and it proved to be much more potent than vodka in the United States.
The next day, we went to a farmers market. We got there as planned! Wahoo! The workers were from the middle east and they kept asking me if I was from Turkey or somewhere. When I began to talk, they figured out I was American. One of the men had a special interest in me, and gave me free food. He also asked for a picture with me… strange. That night I bought a ticket to the Folkloric show, thinking I would do that instead of the Russian ballet. It was proving to be difficult and expensive to get tickets for the ballet, and I wanted some to see a show that demonstrated traditional Russian culture. It was FANTASTIC! They actually came out in the audience and chose me and another girl with SAS to dance on stage with them. The photography guy for SAS said he got some pictures of me, so keep a lookout for the SAS blog!
The third day we toured the cathedrals and they were so gosh darn beautiful! Gold-plated everything and gorgeous chandeliers hanging from the 61-meter ceilings was breathtaking. The church of Spilled Blood was the traditional Russian architecture with the onion-shaped domes and complete mosaic on the inside. Stunning. Then, we heard from someone that we could buy Russian ballet tickets for $37! No way! It was the swan princess too. Oh, so beautiful! What was cool is that people from all languages, cultures, and countries could understand the dancing and storyline. That is impressive.
The last day, I had a field lab for my history class, and it was SUPER interesting! Background information: history has always been my least favorite class. Growing up, I thought that the material was pointless and the dates and information never matched up. However, going to the political science museum and Peter and Paul’s Fortress where they housed revolutionary prisoners who tried to protest in the communist era. Learning about their government’s background made me anxious to learn more! Maybe it was connecting it with actual experience in and with the country; but I hope learning about each country is that exciting!
So, overall, Russia was a hit, my classes have been a hit, and making friends have been a hit!
Spaciba, (Thank You in Russian)