Holiday, May 9, 1945 End of WW II
Trip Start May 01, 2009
21Trip End May 22, 2009
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Vladimir is another former capital of Rus people. It is one of the Golden Ring city. It is now one of the major city on the Eastern outskirt of the city. I first went to the Golden gate, which is where the entry tocity once was back in the 12th century. The present day Gate is inscribed intothe UNESCO world heritage site and it houses a military museum. The most interesting thing is that the museum has a miniature model of the Golden Gate when the Tartar's attacked the Rus empire. Tartar troops climbed over the walls and moat surrounding the city back was fought off by the Rus army.
Next I went and briefly toured the Assumption Cathedral, also dated back to 1100's before I took the train back to Moscow.
When I was onthe train, I met this nice Romanian kid with whom I had a brief chat. He came to Vladimir to visit friend but fell of his bike and broke his arm, thus he is in a cast. He told me that he spoke Russian, Ukrainian, Moldovan and Romanian, but no English, thus our conversation stops here, my Russian is too limited. He started laughing when I told him about Dracula and Transylvania since they are famous in his home country.
I made a big bobo on the train ticket thinking I am getting back to Moscow on May 7, but instead, I am actually going on the 8th. Since I pre-bought my ticket, I am a day late ???? I asked the ticketing people if I can exchange or get a refund but no luck, I had to buy a new ticket. I was a drama waiting in line for over 1 hour standing while the obnotious ticket clerk went on coffee and "make-up" break while a whole line is waiting. I was quite upset. but hey its NO US customer service. I got kind of stuck with my broken Russian about how to get an overnight ticket to St. Petersburg but no luck. I was lucky that a nice lady jumped in to help me translate that the next available train to St. Petersburg will be a 2 am tonight. Earlier trains will cost 7 time more. I went ahead and took the ticket and thanked the nice lady. She later told me that she worked in Malaysia as a translator, no wonder her English is so good. It sure is interesting that MOST of the people here DON'T speak any English at all, while other part of Europe, English is quite commonly spoken.
Since it is only 7 pm, I went back to my home stay family back in Moscow and met up with Ms. Maio. As I explained to her about my situation with the confused ticket, she welcome me in and let me used her computer while I waited for the night train. We chatted for a while and she was actually cooking dinner. Later, we had dinner along with her boyfriend, who is from Uzbekistan. They are very fuuny together. He asked if I know anyone from Uzbekistan and I told him he is the first one I knew. Later, my Moscow host lady came back and was able to contact my home stay in St. Petersburg so that I will be picked up tomorrow. Fortunately everything worked out the buying a new ticket didn't break the bank.
At 12 am, I left for the train station. By the way, this is a DIFFERENT train station then the one I came in from Vladimir. Just to confuse people more, depends on which part of Russia one is going to, its a different station in different part of the city.
My train ride is quite good. I slept the whole time. But the cabin is a bit crowded top and lower bunk. Like a regular patient room with 6 bunk beds all squeezed in while everyone is breathing on each other....May be a bit like those photo of the people getting shipped to concentration camp....no that is exaggeration...... better go to bed now......zzzzz....
I got into St. Petersburg next day at 1130 am. Today is May 9, 2009 the big day for Russians for winning WWII against the German Nazis. Everyone is on the street celebrating, drinking, yelllin and screaming. Of course, people are all waving the Russian Flag and plenty of drunks are out wondering on the street.
After checking into my host family, I am off to the first tour site, SS Peter and Paul Fortress. This is the origin of the city of St. Petersburg. Back in 1701, Peter the Great decided to defeat the advancing Swedes and then set up the new Capital of Russia here. The fort was build but was never really used in the war. After Peter the Great, the capital was moved back and forth between Moscow and St. Peteresburg. However, the city is home to some other famous Russian rulers like Catherine the Great and Alexander. The Boshevik Party was also formed here, thus in WWII, Hitler wanted to wipe the city out for it been the heart of the Boshevik party. After seizing the city for months, the Germans failed, St. Petersburg was held as a hero city amongst the Russians.
After taking some nice photos, I head off to the Cathedral of Savior of spilled blood. It is called this way because is was build in honor of Tsar Alexander the 2 been murdered at this very site. The cathedral took 24years to build and 27 years to restore. Inside every single possible wall was covered with tile mosiac paintings, so beautiful.
The weather here in St. Petersburg si crazy, it got windy and rainy and cold, thus I escaped into a cafe now internet and called it the night. I will have to get on over to the river to see the spectacular fire works tonight.