At this juncture, I would like to impart some knowledge to you about the finer things of Russian culture though some photos of my trip to Russia with my dad two summers ago.
Sunrise in St. Petersburg. My dad and I took an overnight train from Tver (town in between Moscow and St. Petersburg where my grandmother lives) to St. Petersburg (or Leningrad as it used to be called during Soviet times). We arrived early in the morning, in time for the sunrise. Putin is originally from St. Petersburg, so this city got much attention and funds pumped into it from the government to build it up and make it "beautiful". The facades of the buildings and whatnot look nice, but the insides are still old and decrepit.
Hardwood floor at the Hermitage, one of the largest museums in the world. It has one of the oldest art galleries, and one of its 6 buildings, the Winter Palace, used to be the official residence of the tsars. We were so exhausted from our trip, we did not do this place justice. Next time I make it to St. Petersburg, the first place I am going to is the Hermitage Museum.
Peterhof. This is another palace of the tsars. If the Hermitage is the rough equivalent of the Louvre in Paris, this place would be the counterpart of Versailles. It's also known for its gardens and fountains.
Sipping Bochkarev beer at Peterhof. Moscow and St. Petersburg were experiencing a heat wave during the two weeks that we were there. At some vendors and shops, a bottle of beer was cheaper than a bottle of water. Brickskeller in DC actually has this beer on their list. I ordered it once, and they had it in stock, and that was pretty exciting.
Onion domes of the Church of the Savior on Blood in St. Petersburg. This church was built on the spot of the assassination of one of the tsars. It is gorgeous.
Full body shot.
Lenin's Tomb on the Red Square in Moscow. We stood in line for over an hour to see Grandfather Lenin's waxy body on display in the dark chamber inside this building. The guards strip you of everything - coats, purses, wallets, cameras, keys, phones, everything. Then you are led into the chamber, which is pitch black except for the dim light on the body. You make one circle around the body and then leave through the back door. Whole thing takes about 5 minutes. Probably one of the creepier things I have experienced/seen. Stalin's body also used to be on display, but it was buried after his atrocities were revealed to the public. We saw his grave as well.
Dinner at grandma's. Yes, old-school Russian people put rugs on the walls. Yes, Uncle Vitya is not wearing a shirt. Boy, this is quickly becoming the "drinking club" blog.
Self and Papa T, my travel companion.