Friday, November 27, 2009

Russia - Day 5


A real quick note just so I don’t forget what we did today: It was
raining pretty steadily throughout the day, so after saying goodbye to
Anna (she headed home today) we decided to start with a visit to the
Russian Naval Museum (another of my favorite outings wherever I go).
It was very nice in terms of ship models, but all signs were in
Russian, and there was much too emphasis in war and Soviet power. An
exhibition of real-life stern masks was really impressive. After the
visit, Gustav’s unerring instinct drew him to the most exclusive and
expensive restaurant in St. Petersburg, where we had lunch
(Chateaubriand steak and some very good wine).

Thus fortified we walked in the rain to the Cathedral of Saint Isaac,
a monumental building that in the time of the Soviets housed the
Anti-Religion Museum (I believe they chose it to expose the decadent
trappings of the Orthodox Church). The cathedral is now restored to
its former glory, though I don’t know if it has been consecrated anew.

More walking in the rain brought us back to the hotel, where we were
delighted to find out that our order for tickets to the ballet had
been fulfilled. So, after an hours rest we headed for the
Michaelkovsky Theater, to see Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. We were at
stage level, stage right, in a box, from which we could literally see
the white of their eyes (otherwise not the best seat in the house,
because about a third of the scene was hidden from view by the legs of
the proscenium). The ballet was mesmerizing! The mastery of Russian
dancers is fabulous, and the Queen of the Swans was a study in
fluidity and beauty in motion. We were simply fascinated, and can only
regret that Anna was not able to be with us to see this marvel of
Russian art.

Since Gustav and Christine are leaving for Germany today, I am going
to leave this luxurious hotel today in favor of more simple
accommodations. That means I may not be in e-mail contact again until
next Tuesday.


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