Sunday, 15 June 2008

Scenes from St. Petersburg

Jeff & Rochelle and Doug & Shannon thought it would be nice to include a two-day visit to St. Petersburg while they were visiting us in Moscow.
Vlad, the Area Humanitarian Manager, kindly suggested this would be a good time for Sam and me to visit the humanitarian couple in St. Petersburg, the Eastleys, who are working to complete their projects before their mission ends in August. Vlad also knew we would like to see President and Sister Sandberg in St. Petersburg before they return home the first of July. David Sandberg’s father, Ivar, was a good friend of my parents when they lived at Cheyenne Agency. Ivar’s story is one I have enjoyed hearing through the years, and I am pleased that President Sandberg gave me a copy of his father’s conversion story. He and my parents had an important role in the early history of the LDS Church in South Dakota.

Church of the Resurrection – commonly known as
“Our Savior-on-the-Spilt-Blood”
Sam, Jeff, Rochelle, Shannon, Doug, and Narene

We took the overnight train on May 13 leaving Moscow about 9:30 in the evening and arriving in St. Petersburg at 6:10 the next morning. This was an adventure, as we went 3rd class with four people to an open compartment with no door and a small table between two bunk beds. Jeff and Doug took the upper bunks, and Rochelle and Shannon were in the lower bunks in their compartment. Sam and I shared with a Russian couple who had the upper bunk beds. I think I got along the best in our group. Sam had people walking past in the narrow aisle during the night that would bump his feet at the end of his bunk. The others found it difficult to sleep with people going by to the “toilet” room and other distractions. On our return trip, we took the express train which was more expensive, but more comfortable and only took five hours. We left St. Petersburg about 4:00 in the afternoon and got back to Moscow about 9:00 that evening.

Train to St. Petersburg
Sam, Doug, and Narene (others not pictured)

We were invited for early morning breakfast at the Eastleys, the humanitarian couple serving in St. Petersburg. She had real milk in a bottle and not the kind we get in Moscow from the shelf in a carton. Her home-made pumpkin syrup seasoned with cinnamon was very good on the French toast.

“Our Savior-on-the-Spilt-Blood” Church
Elder & Sister Eastley

In our branch at Tver we had met Daniel, a returned missionary who is married and lives in St. Petersburg. He told us he arranges tours in St. Petersburg; and he arranged for Max, another Russian returned missionary, to be our guide for the two days we were in St. Petersburg. It was nice having someone be our guide who speaks Russian and knew how to get to places we wanted to see.

Our visit to the Mission Home in St. Petersburg
Sam, Narene, Sister & President Sandberg

We spent about four hours in the Hermitage. We could have spent a week and not seen it all. The rooms are elegant and enormous; and the paintings, sculptures, and museum artifacts are a must see for one visiting St. Petersburg.

The Hermitage,
the former Winter Palace of Catherine the Great
Narene, Sam, Jeff, Rochelle, Shannon, and Doug

The Hermitage (photos below)

St. George Hall - Our guide, Max, at the left.

St. George Room – Throne

Narene looking at the chandeliers.

The Knights’ Hall

Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Little Madonna”

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Madonna with a Flower” door

Michelangelo’s “The Crouching Boy”

The Large Italian Skylight Room
Mazzuola’s “Adonis” - Sculpture (1715)

The Peacock Clock

Raphael’s “The Holy Family”

Raphael’s “The Conestabile Madonna”
(The reflection of our guide, Max, at the left.)

Raphael’s Loggia
Max, Narene, and Rochelle

Leonardo da Vinci Room

Portrait of Peter the Great and a decorative table

Rochelle, Jeff, Doug, and Shannon looking at exhibits.

Ancient Egyptian Writing

Stairs (but not the Grand Staircase)

The General Staff building is across from the Hermitage.
(next 2 photos)

The “General Staff” Building
Walking in the rain
Jeff, Rochelle, Narene, Max, Shannon, and Doug

Arch of the General Staff building

In the next posting, I will continue with our trip to St. Petersburg with photos of our boat trip on the canal in St. Petersburg and our visit to the famous Peterhof.

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