aka Leningrad

September 2009

Once again Donna was chosen to represent Rusk at the annual Norwegian Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital symposium on physical rehabilitation. It was previously in Bethlehem in the West Bank…this time in Russia, Petrozavodsk, the provincial capital of Karelia, about 200 miles northwest of St. Petersburg. (map pic) And they were again gracious in allowing Norbert to "tag along". We flew Finnair to Helsinki and then to St. Petersburg. After registering at the elegant Petro Palace Hotel we made our usual intoductory bus tour of the City. The following day we went to St. Petersburg International Airport to meet the Sunnaas group. The afternoon was spent at the famous Hermitage where we saw all the required rooms and exhibits. All that you have heard or read about The Winter Palace is overwhelmingly true. Dinner that night was at restaurant where we were entertained by dancers and singers who also were selling things.

When we returned from Petrazavodsk, we only had time for first level sightseeing which consists of visiting various palaces that have been converted to museums or other business enterprises. The 900 day siege of Leningrad had lain waste to much of the city, but it has recovered and the palaces have been restored to their pre-war and pre-communist splendor and vulgar extravagance. We had earlier been learning the Cyrillic alphabet and were now putting our knowledge to use by amusing ourselves in decoding signs and practicing our very limited bag of Russian expressions. The city centers around Nevsky Prospekt, a broad boulevard, and many of the attractions are on or near it. Since we had already 'done' The Hermitage, we could devote our limited time to some of the other breathtaking places. The Church on the Savior on Spilled Blood was erected to commemorate the assasination of Czar Alexander II. The interior is almost completely done in mosaic since oils would deteriorate with severe temperature changes. We also spent time at the Saint Isaac's Cathedral.

For a beautiful look with music, try this Tour of St, Petersburg.

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First day. Let us see...where are we?

Big B&N type bookstore. Used to be a palace. Now the Singer building with

St. Petersburg International Airport

The Winter Palace aka The Hermitage

Norbert dancing at St. Petersburg restaurant