Military Parade, Saint Petersburg
Trip Start Mar 13, 2007
92Trip End Aug 10, 2007
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Around 2:00 in the afternoon the square was nearly empty. However, when I returned around 6:00 it was nearly filled up with thousands of soldiers in formation around the edges and a large marching band in the center. "Wow, a real live Russian military parade," I thought and went into my National Geographic photographer wannabe mode, snapping pictures like crazy. It was great - there was some ceremony with a few bigwigs involved, the band played the national anthem, among other things, the soldiers all marched around the square and then back into formation twice, the whole process taking a good two hours before the finish
I found this all to be very fascinating, as did a few other tourists. I couldn't help but wonder, though, "Where are all the spectators? Why isn't anybody else watching? Do they just have no interest?" I mean, the lovers didn't stop necking, the cyclists didn't dismount, the rollerbladers didn't slow down, and few locals walking by stopped for more than a few seconds. I also couldn't figure out what the occasion might be since I can't recall April 16th having any particular significance.
Two days later as I was leaving the Hermitage I felt struck by deja vu. The whole procedure was happening all over again exactly as before, except this time in a cold drizzle. Amazing but true, this is all just a dress rehearsal for the May 9 commemoration of victory in WWII.