19 PICTURE ALBUM
Tuesday, August 19
Paula: Our last day in St. Petersburg was crowned with
a beautiful blue sky and a warm breeze. We spent the morning finalizing plans
for Istanbul and packing, and then met Sasha for another visit to the Hermitage.
We also wanted to take some more pictures of the Winter Palace area, to capture
the scene on such a nice day.
We focused our visit this time on the Impressionists exhibit
and some of the palace's rooms we had missed during our tour earlier in the
week (there's absolutely no way to see everything here in a day). Sasha provided
inspirational commentary on the impressionist art and we enjoyed viewing work
by Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Matisse. David especially liked a piece of
art entitled, "Black Square" (there's a picture and commentary in
our photo album for today). Sasha described a theory we had not heard before
about impressionism. He explained
that brush strokes of different color, without defined edges, make it difficult
for the eye to determine depth. This causes the eye to pulsate and leads to
the impression that the work of art is alive, breathing, and moving! We also
learned that most of the Hermitage's collection of impressionism was either
confiscated from two private Russian collectors after the revolution or taken
from Germans during
WWII when Russia occupied Germany. Several German families are currently fighting
to have these works returned.
I was glad to have come to the Winter Palace area again-the sunny day made
the gold trim and domes sparkle-the square was even more beautiful than earlier
in the week.
We also walked down Nevsky Prospekt which was busier than we had seen it
on previous days and while there discussed what to do on our last evening
in St. Petersburg. We discussed several options about how to spend the rest
of our last day - to my surprise both David and Katie were most enthusiastic
about returning to the Mariinsky Theater to see another ballet. Sasha did
his magic and got us great tickets again - this time 6th row center. We were
Before attending the theater, we walked by St. Nichols Church and admired
it and the surrounding canal. The kids had fun chasing the pigeons, while
Steve & Sasha tried to capture the action with the camera.
The ballet was about the Spanish adventure stories of Don Quixote. The kids
were familiar with this light-hearted story from their Spanish class. We again
had wonderful time and the production was colorful and lots of fun. We all
enjoyed shouting "bravo" at the end of the performance.
Then it was off to the train station for our night cabin ride to Moscow.
It was sad to say goodbye to Sasha and St. Petersburg. Sasha insisted that
we listen to the St. Petersburg hymn before boarding the train (he explained
that we were on an "official government train" that is used by important
people to travel between St. Petersburg and Moscow) and we promised to come
back someday and tour the Russian countryside with him as our guide. We waved
goodbye through our cabin window to our wonderful new friend from Russia.
The train's sleeping cabin was small but cozy and once we figured out how
to store away our luggage we settled in our beds for the 8 hour journey. The
train quickly rocked Katie to sleep, but it took the rest of us quite a while
to doze off. The next morning, Katie bragged that this was her best night
of sleep so far!
Distance Walked: 3.65 miles