Showing posts from 2019

This 'N That

A week ago, we returned to St. Petersburg with all its fall colors. As we flew back into Pulkovo Airport, we could see the golden colored birch forests below us. It was a beautiful sight.

Along with the colored trees, the rainy season is upon us in full force. It has poured all morning here, but we've only got a 40% chance for the rest of the day. The long range forecast is rain every day for the next week. We're used to that here.

The sun is showing its face later in the morning all the time. If you stay in bed until it's light out, you'd already be late for work. Sunrise is at 7:30AM and coming up later every day. Nothing new for us here either.

I got a haircut this week which isn't too unusual. I must say that it's a rather interesting procedure when the person cutting your hair can't speak the same language as you do. When we moved here, I prayed hard and went to the local hair salon. Of course, no one spoke English. I picked out a beautician and have g…


And guess what. It's not about President Trump and impeachment! People in Ukraine aren't concerned with the phone call between Trump and their president.

They are more concerned about running water in their cities (Here in Odessa, the entire city was without water for 24 hours the day after we arrived.) They are more concerned about electricity for their homes. (The power was off for 18 hours on a different day.)

We've been sitting in Odessa, Ukraine for the past week and a half while my husband was doing a seminar here. I took the opportunity to visit several churches of the city and will share what I saw with you.

The main religion here is the Ukranian Orthodox Church which is similar to Russian. We stopped in the cathedral in the city. It was very beautiful on the inside. The arched ceilings were decorated with pictures and gold ornamentation.

Domed ceilings and golden chandeliers lined both sides of the main altar. It's a very impressive structure. However, as alw…

Летний Сад - Summer Garden of St. Petersburg

During the summer months, the Летний Сад draws crowds to walk in the cool of the beautiful tree-filled gardens. The Summer Garden was designed by Peter the Great way back in 1704. He wanted a French style garden outside of his Summer Palace. The garden was started in 1712 and completed by 1719.

Sculptures and fountains line the walking paths filled with tourists and city-dwellers alike. The sculptures that we looked like Greek gods and goddesses.

Several paths in the park are covered over with decorative archways overgrown with ivy. This gives the park a romantic evocative aura. It's a wonderful place to enjoy the beauties of creation.

The garden is located on the banks of the Neva River in the center of St. Petersburg.

A railing separating the Summer Garden from the walkway was built in the late 1700s. The columns supporting the grille are made of granite topped with vases. This has been considered by some as a symbol of St. Petersburg.

This is definitely a place in our city to…

Here's the Rest of the Story

Many things have changed in the last year. The picture on the left shows the hulk of a building that we looked at every day when we moved here in June, 2018. Over the course of the winter, we could see changes taking place. In my blog dated December 4, 2018, I wrote about the makings of a school.

Now we're at the beginning of the school year. Our hulk is indeed a school. On opening day, the doors were adorned with balloons to welcome the children. The colorful painted school coordinates well with our apartment complex.

Now five days a week we see children walk through the complex toward the school. I know that school starts at 9:00 because children enter the building between 8:30 and 9:00. But I'm not sure how long the school day lasts. I've seen children leave the building anywhere from 1:00 to 3:00. That much is still a mystery to me.

A lovely playground was built on the side of the school. I imagined that there would be children running and screeching during recess time…

A Sunny Spot

To continue the update on our apartment complex, we were very surprised when we found the welcome addition of a sunning deck added to our community. Pictured on the right, the deck is suspended over the river adjacent to our property with risers on the riverbank side for people to sit or lie on for getting a sun tan.

Looking at the new addition from our bedroom window, I can see people out there reading books, napping, or playing with their kids on the deck.

A couple weeks ago, there was a person on a loud speaker speaking to a group of people gathered on the seats. It is a very nice addition to our complex.

Of course, this is St. Petersburg which has more rainy days than sunny ones, but it's beautiful to be out there when it is sunny.

While you're out sitting on the new deck, you do need to be careful which direction you look. When you look upriver, you have the gorgeous view in the picture on the left. The river is lined on both sides with lovely greenery. It is quite pretty…

Back in Россия Again

After several months of traveling across the United States, we've returned to St. Petersburg. We're glad that we can unpack our suitcases and put our clothes back into the drawers they belong in. Once again we sleep in our own bed every night. We're "home."

Upon arrival at our apartment complex, we noticed several improvements that happened during our absence. The maintenance staff added flowering plants to our landscaping in front of our building. Hostas, ivy, ferns and something that reminds me of sage now grow in the lawn area between the entrances of our apartment.

Since the growing season is so short here, I don't know how well they'll do from year to year, but they are a welcome addition this summer.

The trees growing behind the new flowers were planted last summer, but as you can see they aren't very tall yet. At least all four of the ones in the picture are still growing. So many of bushes and trees didn't even last the first winter.

The g…

Taking Time Off

By the time you read this, we'll be gone from St. Petersburg - temporarily. Our Russian visa has expired which means we are out of the country.

We are headed for our home service to visit several states and many of our donors in the US. We will be gone for several months to return mid-August.

While we are traveling in the States, I won't be writing my blog posts. I'm not sure what will happen when we return. I may be persuaded to continue this blog in fall when we return to St. Petersburg.

From Palace to State Hermitage Museum

When we first came to St. Petersburg last summer, the question we most often heard was, "Have you been to the Hermitage yet?" Being new in the city, we didn't have any idea what that was. Now we know.

The Winter Palace of the Tzars, on the shore of the Neva River, is now the Hermitage, the largest museum in Russia. Catherine the Great was the Empress who first started collecting art for this museum in 1794. The Tsars added to their collection year after year and opened it to the public in 1852.

The collection outgrew it's original space in the Old Hermitage until today when it covers six buildings in the main museum plus other buildings for storage of items not on display. If you would spend 1 minute per each item - 8 hours per day - it would take 15 years to see everything in the entire museum.

We spent about three hours in the Hermitage on one day, so far. The following pictures are some of the things we saw. I'm sure we'll go again sometime.

Bridges of St. Petersburg, Russia

Since St. Petersburg is known as "Venice of the North", it's obvious that bridges are an important part of the city. The city has 342 bridges over canals and rivers in the city limits that vary in size from several lane car bridges to pedestrian bridges.

The bridge (pictured above) crosses the Neva River, the main waterway running through the city. Twenty two bridges that cross this wide river are heavily used for traffic by day, but at night they all are raised to allow ship traffic to maneuver in and out of the Baltic Sea and into the Volga River. Between April and November, the bridges raise and lower by a very intricate schedule so the ships can travel, but also allow for emergency vehicles access to both sides of the city. An open drawbridge is a popular symbol of St. Petersburg.

The newest bridge built to cross the Neva River is the only one that is not a drawbridge. The Bolshoy Obukhovsky Bridge was opened in 2004 and is part of the Ring Road - the freeway system …