St. Petersburg is a journey into the role of government in our lives. What should they be responsible for? What should they stay out of? This is an ongoing debates for any country. Just look at the US- welfare, gun control, abortion, school systems, immigration. The struggle of a nation is always how to deal with ideological issues that divide its citizens.
Russia, the land of vodka, cold weather, and lots of cranky people. But it is an excellent foray into a style of government, for good or bad, that is very different from our Western Democracy. Stepping off of the ferry that had bobbed me from Tallinn, Estonia to St. Petersburg I found myself in a crowded room that smelled like urine and body odor. People pushed past, jostling for position at the front of the line, fighting to get through customs and into the mother land.
Then we were through, and St. Petersburg spread before us in all of it's coldness, grime, and architecture. Here's what we found:
Downtown, in the business area, huge buildings showcase the modernization of Russia. From this view, St. Petersburg could be just like any U.S. city. This is a stark contrast to other parts of St. Petersburg, which were crumbling from disrepair.
Peter and Paul Fortress
To the left, hugging the shoreline is the Peter and Paul Fortress, a former prison and the original city for St. Petersburg. It's tough to imagine, but this small stronghold is the seed that later blossomed into the sprawling expanse of St. Petersburg.
Sit for a while and relax, enjoy the architecture from a small cafe nearby. St. Petersburg is teeming with quaint cafes nestled next to bits of history.
Church on the Spilled Blood
This church is reminiscent of other churches in Moscow, and is, by far the most famous church in St. Petersburg. The name, commonly used but not the proper name, is a remembrance to the assassination attempt on Tasr Alexander II.
Russia is known for their hearty foods, like the meal pictured above. Blini is a thin pancake that is usually topped with some sort of meat or sauce. It's been around for thousands of years and has a history longer than my arm.