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2 July 1994

St Isaac's Cathedral

Today I went to St Isaac's Cathedral, Olga's favorite cathedral. I spent most of my time there looking up, because that's where all the interesting stuff was, on the ceiling and walls. There was a lot of gold, a common theme in all the places I've visited. My favorite picture in the cathedral was on the ceiling, and depicted the Garden of Eden. There was Adam and Eve, surrounded by lions, elephants, giraffes, and all kinds of other animals. It was the most interesting picture in the whole cathedral. The doors (about 10 - 12 feet tall) were wooden, and carved in sharp relief were the lives and important deeds of fammous people that I didn't know.

The best part of the cathedral was 260 steps up, on the roof. You got a full view of St Pete in 360 degrees. It was spectacular. It was awesome. I could have spent all day up there, but people were waiting.

The view of St Petersburg from the top of the cathedral

After the cathedral we went to a fort, the first thing built in St Petersburg. In it was a church where all the tsars were entombed with their immediate families. Except, of course, Nicholas II, whose remains they can't verify.

There were lots of things to see here, mostly souvenir stands, though. At one place, there was music playing and two guys dancing around, acting silly. It made me laugh.

We also visited a famous monument to Peter the Great, a modern one recently made. It was ugly, but on purpose, though I'm not sure why. The head was too small, and bald. The fingers were skeletal, the knees were bony. And he was just sitting there. There was nothing dramatic, heroic, or inspiring about it. The monument is very controversial.17

Me in front of Peter the GreatNear St Isaac's, there was another monument to Peter. This was a postcard kind, with him riding a big horse, etc.

At this monument, there was a guy who had a pet bear. It was just a baby. It looked kind of like a dog. It didn't seem very happy. Maybe he didn't have enough honey for breakfast.

More generalizations:

  1. There is no toilet paper in the public restrooms.
  2. Driving is insane. There seems to be one traffic law: don't hit anything. No seatbelts!
  3. If you are a foreigner, you pay 20 times more.
  4. The restaurants in St Pete give you tiny little portions.

We ate ice cream in front of another cathedral, this one closed to the public. But the front lawn was very popular. Someone even brought their guinea pig. He was dining on the grass.

On the way "home" there was a big car wreck. Somebody had driven off the road into a canal! The car was being pulled out of the water by a crane as we drove by. We stopped and watched for a while. I think there were people still inside, though I wasn't sure. If there were, I couldn't tell their condition, but they didn't seem very mobile. I wondered what caused the wreck.


17 You can see a photo & description of the monument at Interestingly, according to the short article there, the monument has shifted from object of controversy to a good luck charm.

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