Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another Trip to Catherine's Palace

Today we had a wonderful second trip to Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin) to see Catherine's Palace, while Lydia stayed home with her nanny. This time we toured inside the palace, which was breathtaking! (And Aaron got us the resident's price instead of the tourist's price, with his good pronunciation of "We live in St. Petersburg." We also had to show proof of registration). We took a lot of pictures to share with you on the following slideshow, but unfortunately, in the most beautiful room, the Amber Room, they did not allow photos. The entire surface of the walls are covered in a mosaic of amber pieces in different shades. There is some interesting history of this room. The treasures of the room were taken by the Nazis, only to go mysteriously "missing" while under Soviet occupation. For years, no one knew what had happened, and the Germans funded restoration of the room. Then, in 2004, it was revealed that the original Amber room treasures were accidentally destroyed by fire, while under the care of Russian soldiers. They were too terrified of Stalin to tell the truth, so they created a myth about what had really happened. 60 years later, the truth is now known.

Christmas Pictures

Here are some pictures of our Christmas day. We had a nice Christmas, even though we missed being with family. Lydia opened some Christmas presents from Mommy and Daddy, and then in the afternoon we had dinner at the home of some friends. Lydia enjoyed being with two other little girls. Maybe by the Russian Christmas (January 7) some gifts from Lydia's grandparents will be here! We put a new video of Lydia saying Merry Christmas on our YouTube site, so if you haven't seen it yet, you should check it out.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Walk on the Islands (12/22/07)

Here is a slide show from last Saturday, when we took a walk around Yelagin and Kamenny Islands, which are in the northern part of the city.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas on Nevsky

Last night we had a Christmas party with our co-workers, and on the way home we did a video panorama of a little area around the Ploshad Vostanya Metro station, on Nevsky Prospect. First you see the metro station, then it scans to the square, and finally the Moscow Train Station (Moskovsky Voksal).

At the party, they also sang "Happy Birthday" to me, since yesterday was my (Danielle's) birthday! And, Aaron gets a pat on the back for showing up with flowers for me!

Here's a picture looking down Nevsky, toward the northwest, from where we were standing. It's not the best view of the street, but you can see the colored lights above it. This direction would head toward the Neva River and the Winter Palace.