Tuesday, August 30, 2011

st. petersburg, day 3

Things have been hectic around here! School has been in session for 2 weeks already. Clubs and sports are starting.
And I’ve fallen behind on my blog posts.
And my brother’s not too happy about it . . . he’s the one leaving the anonymous comments!
So, here’s day 3 of our trip to Sofia’s hometown . . .
The day started with a walk over to the Hermitage, where we couldn’t resist a photo op with a circus bear. Unfortunately for us, the circus is on tour in July and August so we weren’t able to go see it – something the kids had really wanted to do.
The courtyard, on our way through . . . we were headed over to another church.
The souvenir stands across the street from the church. This is the largest group of them I had seen in the city . .. usually there were between 5 and 12, but there must have been at least 50 here.

The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood.

Passing by the Hermitage again on our way back. There were not so many people because it was CLOSED!
A wedding couple was having their photos done in the courtyard – that’s their coach in the background. We saw quite a few wedding photo-ops during our trip,
Afternoon swim back at the hotel. The kids swam everyday.
Making a whirlpool in the hot tub.
Stefan’s mom, Sofia and Joel in the hotel lobby . . . waiting to be picked up by Vlad.
Part of our trip included getting together with Sofia’s great-grandmother, Babushka Tonya. The original plan was to go to her house, but the road was closed so she took the metro and met us on the edge of the city instead (it was a movie theatre, but there was a café we could meet in).
With the doll she got from Babushka.
We were also able to go to the children’s home . . . the social worker who had Sofia’s case was also with us. The home is now closed and undergoing renovation to become a hospital for children with disabilities as well as a kindergarten(?), but someone happened to be there and Tatyana managed to get us permission to go inside.
This was the room where we first met Sofia, and these were the chairs we sat in for our first picture together.
Sofia was really interested in playing outside in the many gardens and playgrounds, as well as acting out many of the moments we have on dvd from our first visits with her.
We got back to the hotel quite late, and since we hadn’t eaten dinner, we ate at the hotel restaurant . . . most had Caesar salad, but Mattias chose this potato salad with Ox tongue. He is an adventurous eater!
Joel, getting ready for bed. He bought this hat as well as the one Mattias is wearing in the photo below.
Our room was very room-y! To the right, there is one more folding cot!
It was a long day, but a good one!
That’s all for now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

st. petersburg 2011, day 2

Ooops! I’ve been forgetting to post! It’s been a busy week, what with school starting, ya know.
Here are many pictures from our second day in sunny St. Petes:
We started the day souvenir shopping near St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Mattias did not buy this hat.
I did buy the chinchilla scarf, but not the mink coat.
The Fam, in front of the Cathedral.
In front of a statue of Peter the Great, The Bronze Horseman.
We crossed the Neva River by walking across a bridge. Of course, this started a whole discussion about the raising of the bridges at night to let boats pass. Not one discussion, but 3 . . . since each child had to re-ask because they only heard the end of the story the previous time it was told.
Sofia and Stefan’s dad.
Finally at our morning’s destination: Peter and Paul Fortress. More Top Model poses from Sofia.
Mattias and Joel doing something they probably shouldn’t . . .
Sofia and Faffa.
Joel (better get down quick!)
Cannons! Sweet!
The 12 o’clock cannon shot. It was loud!
We paid a wad of rubles to come up onto the walls of the fortress and walk around . . . so here are a bunch of pictures . . .
Some interesting chairs.
This one was a little difficult to sit on.
Does she look like a princess?
Shortly after a meltdown due to line-ups for the toilets. This pic was taken just outside the entrance to the Bastion Prison. It was a bit expensive, so Stefan’s mom asked the guard if there was anything to see. He said, “Not really.”
Walking back towards our hotel. Faffa, Fammo and Mattias.
The fortress is in the background.
A baby bear drinking cream.
The kids got to pet him.
At the edge of the Neva, across from the Hermitage.
We ate lunch at a little place across the street from our hotel – real Russian food, I think. It wasn’t much of a touristy place. She saw us outside trying to figure out what kind of food was on the sign and brought us down inside. Most of us had the lunch special: salad (choice of green or potato), soup (choice of cream of mushroom or pumpkin), authentic Russian ravioli (chicken, meat or fish) or meatballs, wedge potatoes or vegetables and coffee or special cherry drink (which was thick with cherries floating in it – I didn’t really like it).
After lunch we swam at the hotel pool. Then later we walked down Nevsky Prospect with the grandparents to a huge mall and did some window shopping. Everything was out of our price range. On the way back, we ate at Pizza Hut again.
Stefan’s parents went back to the hotel, but we went to the fountain at the Admirality.
Then the park.
Statue of Przhevalsky – I don’t know why a camel is here . . .
Our walk brought us back around the cathedral. You can see our hotel in the background – the Petro Palace.
Stefan gets mauled by the hotel’s bear.


The Holms

Denmark Road Trip

The outskirts of St. Pete

St. Petersburg

Saint Petersburg: Sankt-Peterburg, Russian pronunciation: is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (1914–1924) and Leningrad (1924–1991). Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on 27 May, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its foundation, Saint Petersburg was selected as the main motif in a recent Finnish commemorative coin, the €10 Mannerheim and Saint Petersburg commemorative coin, minted in 2003. The reverse of the coin features a view of Saint Petersburg, with the Peter and Paul Fortress and its three turrets. In the coin the words "St. Petersburg 1703-2003" can be seen.