Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Petersburg blog posts, they never end.

Are you just completely tired of hearing about my St. Petersburg trip?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

So here you go: the final (I think) installment of the Chronicles of St. Petersburg, 2015 edition.

We went to see the Bronze Horseman on our last day and then headed over to the Petropavlovsk fortress, stopping to check out a few random sites along the way.

The Bronze Horseman is the nickname for a statue of Peter the Great gazing out on the Neva River. It got its name from a famous Pushkin poem in which the statue comes to life and chases a guy around town.

The Horseman is just behind St. Isaac's Cathedral, so of course Ainsley had to stop and pose.

From there we drove past/stopped at a few random churches and apartments downtown, just because. I really liked this church, but can't for the life of me remember what it's called. I stopped keeping track of church names at around church #237.

We stopped for a family photo on the opposite side of the Neva.  That's St. Isaac's again, way back there on the other side of the river. The steps we're on in the photo lead directly into the water. 

For reasons I can't immediately recall, there is an Egyptian statue on the river bank.

Ainsley carefully dipped her fingers in the water before glancing up the statue and remembering our family trip down the Nile River a few years back. She recalled that there were crocodiles in that river. And for some reason she decided there were likely to be crocodiles in this river as well. She didn't touch the water again, and she's been obsessing about crocodiles ever since. 

(Just a few days ago, she had a nightmare that a crocodile bit off her foot. The next morning, she was standing next to her bed, shakily telling me the story of her dream, when our cat, who unbeknownst to us was hiding under the bed at the time, reached out and bit her on the foot. Who says cats don't have a sense of humor? Needless to say, I'm pretty sure the neighbors called the police, she was screaming so loudly.)

From there we headed over to the Petropavlovsk (Peter and Paul) Fortress, the original fortress protecting the city, dating back to the early 1700s. We got there just in time to hear them fire off the noon cannon, which, fortunately, the guide warned us about in advance, because otherwise my RSO/Baghdad-survivor of a husband might not have handled it so well. That thing was loud and earth shattering from up close. My poor sad deaf ear was ringing for an hour afterwards.

This church was built right in the center of the fortress. It is famous as the final burial place of all Russian tsars. Unless you ask my daughters. They will tell you it is the place where Anastasia was buried - if you press them, they might mention some other graves. 

Here, inside the church, are the grave markers for Tsar Nicholas' family. Anastasia's marker is on the back wall, far right. Two family members have yet to be buried there - apparently forensic testing is ongoing? - but the others are all there.

Emperor Alexander Alexandrovich's tombstone:

Peter the Great's bones are under here:

From there we went straight back to the train station and caught the afternoon train to Moscow. We were home before bedtime.

The girls were still chattering about Anastasia as they got ready for bed. One of them finally asked me "what did she look like in real life?" So we googled her.  And this is the first image that came up, from wikepedia:

I am sad to report that after a steady diet of Disney, the girls were disappointed to discover that Anastasia didn't look like a princess at all. Why is she dressed so... normal?, they asked. And, why isn't she wearing a crown? 

Still, though. They are already asking when we can go back to Petersburg.

I'm wondering the same thing.


Nana Doll said... [Reply]

I would love to go back also. Amazing city!

Nicole said... [Reply]

I just found your blog from your most recent article on Huffington Post. Wow! These pictures from St. Petersburg are taking me back to the summer I spent in Russia studying abroad...many, many years ago. I lived and studied in Novgorod and only spent a long weekend visiting St. Petersburg, but it made a lasting impression. I've enjoyed reading your insights on Russia and a life spent abroad!

Please. Write your own stuff.