While my kids looked quite content with this Russian bear, in all honesty, I can't say that I loved Russia.
Actually, I'm not sure it really had anything to do with St. Petersburg itself. We were treated kindly, found it easy to get around, enjoyed the cheap beer
and the cheap, but tasty food...
(Well, we didn't enjoy Subway, but the stroganoff was pretty good!)
But our trip was definitely marred by a few days of rain.
I had also heard more than a few stories about theft and taxi scams in St. Petersburg so my guard was always up.
And finally, we were simply worn out from all that travelling about in June and July.
Well, maybe the kids weren't worn out, but I certainly was!
The city of St. Petersburg is incredibly beautiful. I can only wonder how I would feel about the city if we would have had a few sunny, warm days!
I think it's fair to say that this city is quite ornate
both inside and out.
And maybe even sometimes, a bit over the top!
I'm not implying that this building is over the top, but seriously, only the center part is usable space for worship...the rest is just columns!
We were all impressed by the city's canal system and were able to take a cold (but dry) canal tour in English.
Our boat driver had the clearest, palest blue eyes set into this marvelously stereotypical Russian face. When the tour was over, I had 42 shots of him (I tried to catch him as he turned once in a while to check for boat traffic behind us), and about 8 shots of buildings on the canal. I never got my shot :(
Since the prices for goods and services were considerably cheaper in Russia than in Finland, Sweden or Norway, we had a bit of fun choosing souvenirs.
Sam proudly wore his hat from the moment he bought it until a few days after returning to Helsinki!
I'll finish up soon with a few final thoughts about life in Helsinki and life back here in Chicago.