Sunday, September 21, 2008

Journey to Peter and Paul Fortress

On Saturday, AIFS took us to the Peter and Paul Fortress by metro (yes all 36 of us traveled together on the metro, we didn’t lose anyone either, impressive, huh?). Once we got there, we had to wait for our tardy guide about 20 minutes or so. Then once she showed up she was very rude and snotty to us (which she continued to make jabs at us “lazy Americans” through out the tour). She did provide a lot of very good info on P&PF however. She told us how things were first built, why they were built and so on. She even described the wooden carving over the door (God kicking the magician out of Heaven thanks to Peter the Apostle (who strangely had features just like Peter the Great)). She then took us on a miniature-guided tour of the grounds (from the front entrance to the Cathedral). Then she took us inside the cathedral, which is once again beautiful. Inside there are “war spoils” or at least representations of them (such as Turkish and Swedish flags on the walls).

This is also the burial place of the Russian Tsars. From Peter the Great to the Romanovs. The Russians are fond of reburying someone at a later date. I think half of the graves she told us about included the sentence “And he (she) was reburied here about X years ago from (some country)…” This includes the grandmother of Anastasia Romanov, and the entire royal family (minus two of the bones, which were just recently authenticated) that was killed in 1917. After the tour inside we were free to go wandering in groups of 4 or 5 (based on the type of tickets we had to buy).
I went in a group of 5: Aaron, Scott, Adam, Casey, and I. Some how this is usually the group I end up going exploring with. We went outside and walked on the beach and around the fortress. Then up on the walls to see the Panorama of the Neva (which was beautiful). Then into the History of St. Petersburg in the Commandants house. It was really cool. They had life size representations of different things from the early history of St. Petersburg (which the area was apparently settled before the river was ever here? I didn’t quite understand that sentence). All the way up to 1917ish with different clothes, automobiles, typewriters, dishes, maps, flags, etc. It was actually really cool to walk around inside. We then tried to find the Cosmonaut exhibit but couldn’t and gave up and went to dinner at a nearby Georgian food restaurant.

I don’t remember the name of the place, but it was good. I had a traditional Georgian dish of an egg, butter, bread pastry. It was yummy. It also was somewhat expensive (like $16 dollars for that, water, and tip).

We then came back to the dorms and studied for a little but and then I went to bed.

Oh! I also had ice cream in 50-degree weather (which, yes, that is considered warm here). I did eat it with my gloves on though.

See you around the globe!

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