Russia 2006 Journey Day Eighteen
St. Petersburg, Russia

                                    [31 July, 2006] Kremlin sights and travel from Moscow to St. Petersburg day.  Started the day with a
                                    wholesome meal of crepe sandwiches - one chicken and one caviar with sour cream.  Very tasty and one of 
                                    the very few reasonably priced meals available (Compared to $16 glass of orange juice in the hotel).
                                    Purchasing tickets to the Kremlin is it's own adventure.  The cashier stand is new; however, the windows
                                    are inundated with white paper announcements.  Only a couple were English and nothing was mentioned 
                                    about the main attraction - The Armory - being closed for restoration.  Did receive a quick reply of "no
                                    armory" when attempting to purchase tickets.  Ended up with the Cathedral pass which allows access to
                                    the Kremlin and viewing of the various interior Cathedrals.  An afternoon of Disney consultants could
                                    go a long way to assist.   
                                    The Kremlin is the active Russian Capitol; however, it is a mix of 1960s basics with 1930s restrained
                                    baroque.  In the middle is a handful of pending restoration Cathedrals with onion shaped spires.  A few
                                    of the original monasteries did not survive Stalin's vision for administration buildings (Another central
                                    Moscow theme).   A few oddities included the World's largest cannon (never fired) and largest bell
                                    (Cracked and never rang).  In the flora category, a park borders the Southern end with older trees; 
                                    however, none of the plantings or layout has any "wow" factor.  Pedestrian paths are clearly marked
                                    and any deviation will result in rather loud whistle from the Security force.
                                    Since the weather was inclement, we hired the hotel private car for transport to the train station.  All
                                    St. Petersburg destinations depart from the Leningradsky station.  Another building that has the original
                                    facade of baroque style with an interior "box" of straight forward old communistic style.  Our tickets were
                                    for the Russian express train - somewhat of a misnomer.  The older train has several coats of paint
                                    without the attempt to ever remove the previous layers of chipped paint.  The main engine has almost
                                    a homemade front end to appear somewhat aerodynamic; however, it did approach the 200 kph mark
                                    a couple of times (Compared to 230 kph driving on the German Autobahn).
                                    The Netsky 168 train takes about 4.5 hours from Moscow to St. Petersburg.  The first two hours are
                                    flat countryside with groups of project box housing or small high gable houses.   The terrain included
                                    a few hills during the last portion of the trip.   Most of the country houses were about 1,000 square
                                    feet or less and had sharp roof slopes for snow.  Several homes were log based.  However, there
                                    were no defined villages or townships between the 11 million in Moscow and 5 million in St. Petersburg.
                                    A common sight is literally miles of storage buildings along the train tracks into and out of both
                                    cities.  Only an occasional person was at the small buildings - appearing to be working a small shop.
                                    The train trip included a small box dinner of an assortment of bread, chocolates, salamis, peach
                                    yogurt, and a chicken spread "surprise".  The green apple juice was included to complement the 
                                    meal.  Also, the train sitting is unique - most, if not all, European trains include half of the seats
                                    facing one direction and the other half facing the opposite - a front half and second half set up.
                                    This allows the train car to be used in any direction.  Now, the Russian trains uses the half/half
                                    number of seats; however, they are set up from side to side.  Thus, each person is facing another
                                    person on their left or right side.   The multi-pattern green seat covers were interesting.
                                    Arrived to St. Petersburg to a very different city compared to Moscow.  Understand now why
                                    Peter the Great decided to start over with his Paris type buildings and Venice canals.  The hotel
                                    reception staff was friendly and full of smiles - an area devoid in Moscow.
                                                 Kremlin Scenes - Trinity Tower   Kremlin Scenes - State Kremlin Palace (1961)   Kremlin Scenes - Presidential Administration
                                                    Kremlin Scenes - Tsar's Cannon (1586)   Kremlin Scenes - Tsar's Cannon (1586)   Kremlin Scenes - Foreign Ministry Building
                                               Kremlin Scenes - Cathedral of the Assumption (1470)   Kremlin Scenes - Terem Palace (1637)   Kremlin Scenes - Cathedral of the Archangel (1505)
                                            Kremlin Scenes - Cathedral of the Assumption (1470)  Kremlin Scenes - 200 ton Tsar Bell (1737)   Kremlin Scenes - 200 ton Tsar Bell (1737)
                                                    Kremlin Scenes - Ivan the Great Bell Tower (1508)   Kremlin Scenes - Borovitskaya Tower   Kremlin Scenes - Great Kremlin Palace
                                                                                    Moscow Kremlin Scenes


                                                    Kremlin Scenes - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (1967)   Kremlin Scenes - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (1967)   Kremlin Scenes - St. Basil's Cathedral (1561)
                                                                                    Moscow Kremlin Scenes
                                                                           Red Square Scenes - Lenin Mausoleum   Red Square Scenes - Lenin Mausoleum   
                                                                                        Moscow Lenin Tomb
                                         Moscow Scenes - Leningradsky Train Station Signs   Moscow Scenes - Leningradsky Train Station   Moscow Scenes - Leningradsky Train Station Signs
                                                                                        Moscow Train Station Scenes
                                                                            Moscow Scenes - Hotel Room View - Bolshoy Theatre Restoration   Moscow Scenes - Hotel Room View
                                                                                                Hotel Room View

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