St. Petersburg

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On our bus tour of St. Petersburg, we stopped at a, souvenir store as most tour busses do.  What was different at this souvenir store was that they served free vodka to sip while you shop or sit around and sip while your spouse shops.  In the spirit of respecting local customs, I participated in this unusual activity.

Russia was the only country where we had to go through a customs-type check  as we entered.  The guided tour we took was very restrictive, with little time allowed for wandering and taking pictures.

In the background is the Church On Spilled Blood.  A typical Russian Orthodox church has five domes, representing Jesus, Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.  The church has no pews.  People stand during services.  Mosques also have no pews as we learned on our visit to one in Egypt.

Beautiful, tall Linden trees line the walks at the Summer Palace.

A canal runs from the Summer Palace, seen in the distance, to the Gulf of Finland.


No buts about it, the gold leaf statues in front of the Summer Palace are outstanding.

The many fountains and statues are spectacular.

Streetcars in the inner city.

A hydrofoil boat like this skimmed us across the Gulf of Finland to provide a short cut back to our ship at the end of our tour.

In St. Petersburg, there are many drab apartment buildings built during the Soviet era.  Similar buildings in east Berlin were renovated with more attractive facades after German reunification.