Яussia* (Day 5)

May 31

Helsinki to St. Petersburg

[In the morning, we ready to leave Helsinki for a high speed train ride to St. Petersburg.  Kiitos, Helsinki!]

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[As you’ll recall, it’s just a short walk across the square from our hotel to the train station.]

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[The train schedule, we’re the 11:00 on Track 9 . . . ]

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[Seems like a civilized, stress-free depot . . . ]

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[Here we go, Track 9 . . . ]

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[Destination Pietari (St. Petersburg) on “flight” AE784 . . . ]

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[The Super went directly to the bar car for a morning beverage . . . ]

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[We’re traveling at a smooth 196 kph, or 122 miles per hour.  Will we ever see such in the States?]

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[Watching the countryside pass by . . . ]

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[Absent the bridge, very much like our Boundary Waters . . . ]

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[I don’t recall the specific cities . . . ]

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[But Vyborg was our first stop in Russia . . . ]

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[The Super holds up the route – next stop St. Petersburg . . . ]

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[But before we get to St. Petersburg, YOUR PAPERS, PLEASE!]

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[Actually, they were quite nice . . . ]

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Welcome to Russia

[We were greeted in St. Petersburg by Tatiana.  Of course . . . Tatiana.  Russian.  Statuesque.  Darkly alluring.  Wait a sec – is this some sort of dime novel?]

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[Unfortunately, Tatiana was only with us on the bus from the train station to our boat.  Then she was gone.  Forever.  Dosvedanya, Tatiana!]

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[Hi!  I’m in Russia!]

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[Hmmmm, shopping?]

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[You can identify a statue of Lenin from miles away . . . ]

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[This at the Finlyandsky (Finnish) railway station, from which we just arrived . . . ]

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[I have reason to suspect this is (or was) the St. Petereburg jail . . . ]

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[Generic shot of . . . a parking lot?]

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[There’s lots of new construction along the banks of the Neva River – this appears to be apartments or condos.  The Neva, incidentally, is the main river of St. Petersburg though it’s only 46 miles long – but it’s relatively wide and deep as it flows from Lake Ladoga to the Gulf of Finland.]

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[Smolny Convent, a major landmark visible all along the Neva . . . ]

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[St. Petersburg is 5 million, and growing . . . ]

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[There will be several more shots of Smolny!  🙂  ]

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[Not Smolny, but certainly renovation of a classic place . . . ]

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[That I can’t identify . . . ]

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[The buildings in St. Petersburg are usually yellow or light colored to improve the attitude of a populace usually subjected to dark or gray weather.  New apartments have all sorts of exciting exterior designs . . . ]

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[Peter the Great Bridge near Smolny . . . ]

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[A nice day for a walk along the river . . . ]

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[More building exteriors . . . ]

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[Not even our guides were sure about this – best guesses, a restaurant still under construction . . . ]

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[Close to the boatyard . . . ]

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[And ours is in there somewhere . . . ]

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[Big Obukhovsky bridge . . . ]

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[Cruise boats and the Big Obukhovsky . . . ]

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The cruise . . . 

russia (5-28 to 6-12-18)

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[And here’s our boat – Viking Akun . . . ]

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[And we’re in – here’s our dining room . . . ]

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[And our menu . . . ]

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[And the outside the dining room, Tom checks a selection of hot beverages available 24/7, sometimes with cookies . . . ]

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[There’s an option?]

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[And this our room . . . ]

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[Now where am I going to put these?]

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[Yup, we had a balcony – usually used as a place to dry sink washed clothes . . . ]

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[First food on the boat!!]

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[After eats, we went out for a walk in “the neighborhood” . . . ]

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[Tomorrow we will begin our assault on St. Petersburg.]

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I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.  ~  Woody Allen

Up Next:  St. Pete

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