Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Russian News and Views

We returned home from Russia Monday night, or 6 a.m. Moscow time. Most of my pictures are still on my husband's computer, but I have a few from St. Petersburg, much the best ones anyway. I'll post Moscow pictures and some comments on the experience later. In general, I'm glad to have taken this trip and to have seen the wonderful churches, art, and architecture there, and to have reviewed some of the history. But I wouldn't go back. More about that later when I have pictures to soften the commentary.



These are views of Peterhof, a palace constructed outside St. Petersburg by Peter the Great in the 1700s. The palace was behind the German lines surrounding St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) during World War II and was heavily damaged, so the building is a reconstruction. The furniture, paintings, statuary, however, were hidden before the war, and are mostly original. The gardens and fountains are breathtaking, much more appealing than Versailles. This grand cascade was designed by Peter himself, and uses no pumps, everything is gravity fed.



This shot gives some idea of the heavily gilded baroque interior. I'm trying to get a shot of the infinite view created by facing mirrors. There are mirrors along both sides and the end of the room, so the whole effect is an optical illusion making the room seem even larger and grander than it is already.

St. Petersburg and the Peterhof are full of tourists and tour groups as they're stops on many cruise ships' itinerary, so this city is relatively tourist friendly. But if you can see the expression on this palace "guardian's" face, you'll see that "friendly" is only a relative term! Our guide and many other people were wonderful, but there is definitely a grimness present all over the country which is startling to Americans. I'll talk about that later.

7 comments:

Allison Ann Aller said...

It is your insight into the people and country that I am waiting for! But I love the palace pictures, the gravity fed fountains (how cool!) and seeing you and the professor as well.

Kim said...

Welcome back! I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing more.

Karen Dianne Lee said...

Fascinating. I'm actually somewhat taken with Russia and her history so this pulls me. I have just enough of a small dip of history to have a point of reference. I know little, read some, but I can "get there."

So welcome home and know that I'll be enjoying whatever you care to share! *karendianne./ Living Life at LeeHaven

Deb Geyer said...

Welcome home!!

rianammerman said...

Welcome home. I have been to Odessa and Yalta in the Ukraine and I understand about the grimness and the oppression. Especially the older generation, to whom capitalism (and enjoying life) is completely foreign. I enjoyed the pictures and look forward to seeing more and hearing more about your impressions.

jenclair said...

Welcome home! At least your guides had the ability to project friendliness...they were probably trained in making Westerners comfortable.

Debra said...

Wes spent about 10 years doing business in Russia in the late 80s and 90s and he can attest it is an entirely different world. I think it would be interesting to see but maybe you will tell me otherwise.