Our Anniversary

Trip Start Jul 10, 2007
Trip End Jul 21, 2007

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday we went first to the Peter and Paul Fortress. Our guide warned us that it was very difficult walking so Al and I waited in the bus while the rest went inside. The fortress houses the graves of all but two of Russia's czars and czaristas.

The angel on top of the monument is believed to protect the city from trouble. We then boarded a low profile river boat and toured the city by water.

When the next stop was the Hermitage my brother George, Al and I stayed in the bus. Since we had been there the night before we used this opportunity to catch up on some badly needed sleep.

Lunch followed the same pattern as yesterday but added entertainment. Unfortunately our cameras hadn't come to lunch with us. Our final stop of the day and indeed the last stop in St. Petersburg was St. Isaac's Cathedral.

Dedicated to the patron saint of Peter the Great, this cathedral incorporates both the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic traditions of symbology and is exceptionally beautiful. Since we were there on the day of our anniversary, we had our picture taken in front of the altar.

It's been an exciting trip. I have difficulty fully expressing how I feel. For most of our lives Russia has been "the enemy". They're the ones who built the wall. They're the ones behind the Iron Curtain who would kill people trying to escape. They've been the great unknown and now we're here visiting them and find they're just like us. Only their history is different. It's an amazing feeling.
Following a very long two days we were back on board and ready to sail. From our balcony St. Petersburg just looked like any other seaport and as we were greeted by a band when we visited Peterhoff, a band arrived to bid us farewell. Reflecting back on our trip and the difficulty we had finding souvenirs we suddenly realized the beauty of the Russian people. Once our enemies they have become our friends and rather than treating us as tourists, they viewed us as guests. What a wonderful place to visit.
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