Sunday, November 29, 2009

Russia - Day 8

The last day! St. Petersburg decided to send me back home with an OK day, chilly and cloudy but without rain. The nice thing is that on a nice day like this the citizens of this fair city come out in droves, so people watching becomes great fun. Everyone dresses very chic here, so in a way it is like being in a fashion show.

I visited the Ethnographic Museum, and was in awe at the remarkable variety among the Russian peoples. I also solved the riddle of the hats and boots. Since time immemorial these folks have tried to wear every possible contraption on their heads, and every possible pointy shoe on their feet. No wonder the new generation feels (and meets) the challenge of the ages! I also concluded that these are the toughest people on Earth, extending as they do from the Arctic ice, to the tundra, to the taiga, to the mountains, to the deserts, and the Baltic coast. Finally, I now understand that the Baltic Sea is the equivalent of the Mediterranean Sea at high latitudes, with people moving and fighting along its shores ever since the crusades.

My next stop was the Russian Museum, hosted in the MikhaelovskyPalace. It is another fabulous collection of art, but this time featuring exclusively Russian artists. They certainly span the spectrum of styles represented in the Ermitage, from icons, to portraits, to depictions of crucial moments in Russian history. I liked some very large scenes of fully developed seas, and the Russian impressionists.

In the throes of artistic rapture I convinced myself that I was never going to come back, and that I must a reproduction of my favorite piece of art, so I went back to the Ermitage, paid my entrance fee, and bought a museum-quality reproduction of Rodin's "L'EternelPrintemps"! There go my Christmas presents to myself for the next few years!

I finished my day with the performance of the Circus at the Fontanka River. This circus was established in the late 1800's and has become quite the tradition in Peter. It is a great place to see families having fun, and the artists are quite spectacular. Cirque du Soleil eat your heart out!
Well, this is the end. Tomorrow I return home. The flight departs at 6am. I will stop in Munich from 8 am to 3 pm, so I will probably take the metro to downtown just to take a look around, and then back on the plane for a 7 pm arrival at SFO. All good things must come to an end :(

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