At a cafe near my hotel, I told the server I wanted to sample their vodka. She looked horrified and said she didn’t understand English. I thought this was odd since we managed to go through my orders for an appetizer, dinner entree and a cocktail.
“So sorry,” she said, refusing to offer any selections on what some people call Russia’s national drink. I gave up and asked for the bill.
I’m back in the States after a 20-hour flight, four security check points, two luggage check-ins (for one fat bag), an extra charge for an obese suitcase and three cocktails from airports in St. Petersburg, Helsinki and New York.
So far, I haven’t kept track of how many photos and videos I shot of St. Petersburg. I am working on few more photoblog entry about my Russian trip.
This one involves Andre’s adventure inside the Hermitage. Read More
ST. PETERSBURG – On my last night in town, one of my students invited me to a hockey match between Severstal and CKA (Sports Club of Armine). She tipped me off to a fun sports story involving CKA team members (who also played in the NHL, back in the day) and ballet dancers. I’ll edit that story soon.
Between periods, I ordered a “French” dog and Russian beer. Everyone leaves the rink to eat in the lobby. That probably explains why everything is so clean and well maintained inside.
I shot this video with my Nikon Coolpix camera. I was trying to save my Kodak Zi8 batteries for the hockey player interview. Inside the rink – high energy from the fans and some frustration over all those missed goals. Severstal won the match, 3 to 0.
ST. PETERSBURG – My university host said he preferred the Russian Museum to the Hermitage because it featured Russian art. It was a simple statement. He was clearly proud of his country’s artists.
Thanks to my father, I have seen a fantastic Van Gough exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art. My husband and I saw the Mona Lisa and other European treasures inside the Louvre. We also saw Michaelangelo’s epic David in Florence.
But I have never seen a major display of Russian artistic works. Out of respect to the country and due to my own curiosity, I chose the State Russian Museum over the Hermitage as my first museum visit in St. Petersburg.
ST. PETERSBURG — I made it to the ballet! Yah! I love this dance form. I also think Russia ballet is one of the best in the world. (don’t tell my childhood friends who are now working ballet dancers in American troupes!)
The Mariinsky Theatre is an epic stage for my Russian ballet experience. It’s more than 200 years old. Here – Tchaikovsky debuted his Sleeping Beauty. Prokofiev presented his “Romeo and Juliet” ballet here as well.
Naturally, I got giddy walking in the footsteps of classic music giants.
This is from last night: orchestra tuning up for Khachaturian’s Spartacus.
ST. PETERSBURG – These days, I am cursing my weak ankles. Like any Catholic school girl forced to wear uniforms, I lust after beautiful shoes. I’m surrounded by them on the streets, at the Metro and at school in St. Petersburg.
However, I’m pretty sure I would not survive the hike up to my lecture hall. It’s on the 6th floor and the Faculty of Journalism does not have an elevator. Good exercise – but hell on beautiful shoes.
My fascination with Russian fashions prompted me to e-mail my Sacramento newsroom about a possible story idea. I knew our morning meteorologist was covering fall styles. I thought my students would add a cool, international break-out to her story.