So today was exciting! I got to meet the people who I will be staying with today. We all met up at the Pskov University and were graciously greeted and welcomed by Galina. As we were told Galina was the sweetest lady ever. She seemed very excited for us to be here. I finally met with my hostess, Olga (pronounced “ol-ee-a”), sho was really great as well. I found that I was living a short walk from the University on the main road Rizhskiy Prospect. Her family has a flat with three rooms, two as bedrooms and one as a living/bedroom.
Today, we went to the Russian museum. Yesterday we saw European Art today we would see Russian art. It was pretty amazing, again the museum was housed in what used to be a palace. The building was just spectacular! The first thing we did when we got there was put our coats in the cloakroom. So far everywhere that we had visited had a cloakroom. It makes sense, considering that in Russia you would almost always have a coat! It just feels so fancy to me. (LOL) Then, after getting into the building the first thing we saw were the Icons. I was really excited about this because I had recently taught my students about Icons in the ancient Russian Empire (before the Czars). It was really neat to actually see something that I had taught my students about.
During our stay in Saint Petersburg we saw some many wonderful things. We got up early and met in the lobby. Today was going to be really exciting. We were meeting a students from a school in St. Petersburg and they were going to take us around the city. I was very excited to meet my two new friends, Anton and Aras (I am not sure how to spell his name :( ). We walk for so long but I saw some really beautiful buildings around the city and learned so many things about St. Petersburg. We walked for three hours and I think we covered the whole historic district of the city. There was a lot that we saw so here are the big things.
We were finally in Saint Petersburg, rested and ready to explore! The weekend was jam-packed with fun and interesting adventures. On the first day that we were in the city Elena and Nastia took us to Catherine’s Palace. The drive there was interesting. The driver seemed to go fairly fast and passed many cars along the way. Apparently, it is not uncommon to play chicken on the highway!! During this drive Elena told us of the famous Russian Poet who wrote beautiful poetry and fairy tales, Alexander Pushkin. He is a very famous writer here in Russia. With his popularity here, I was surprised that we had never heard of him in the United States. The question that is most often asked is, “Do you know any Russian artist or Writers” and my answer is almost always no. Even the one Russian writer that I did know, I did not even know that he was Russian. This is Tolstoy who wrote “War and Peace.” It makes me want to, first, go back and actually read Tolstoy, and second explore other creators from this part of the world!
The First step to traveling anywhere is getting there. To get to Russia I had to take three flights and had a couple long layovers. We all arrived at the airport about two hours before our flight would leave. This was the hardest part for me because the only downside to going to Russia was that I couldn't take Jon, my beloved, with me. Whenever I told him this he, of course, just rolled his eyes. Still, it was hard to say goodbye.