Sunday - 17 June 2007

 

Woke up around 11 am and had the free breakfast in the regular part of the hostel.  Met a Korean fellow in his 30’s who was really a Swede.  He had been adopted as a baby and grew up in Sweden.  Also, we met an Italian fellow who had just done the Trans-Siberian railroad from China.  He had been working in China for several years.  Many of the folks staying at the hostel were also doing China via the railroad.

 

We took a walk down Nevsky Prospect – the big boulevard that runs from the River to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery.  Walked by the Church of the Spilled Blood, which is a church built on the place where Tsar Alexander II was blown up by a terrorist.  It’s architectural style is the same type of church that one sees in Moscow’s Red Square (St. Basil’s).  Took a “We are here” tourist snapshot.  There was a large line to go in and the admission fee was more than a few dollars so we kept walking. 


Official Postcard Rendition - Church of the Savior on the Spilt Blood

Artist's rendition  in process

 

Found the Museum of Musical Instruments. Our guidebook said it was worthwhile so we checked it out.  It was wonderful.  It had hurdy gurdies, glass harmoniums, pockettes (tiny violins), viols, da gambas, along with other ancient wind and string instruments.  There was a bell symphony – each bell is tuned to a different pitch.  They were playing music advertising a concert at 4 pm so we stayed for that and it also was wonderful. It was mostly pieces for 4 hands or two pianos.  During the very first piece by Weber, a piano string broke.  One would have thought a rifle went off.  The last piece was Saint Saens Carnival of the Animals.  They had players from the conservatory join the pianists and the performance was really exhilarating.  Earl said the violinists really know how to play forcefully.  I took a video of “The Swan” and “The Finale”.  It was interesting to note that the Russian word for violin means “scratch”.



 

Walking back, Earl spotted a restaurant with an unusual name and checked it out.  It was a Georgian restaurant masquerading as a Caucasian restaurant.  We had pike fish with pomegranate, eggplant stuffed with spicy shredded carrot with walnut sauce and a spicy meatball soup with cilantro.  Polished it off with “Holy Grail” anise soda pop.  Earl saw another person drinking it so asked to try some.  Took out my camera to take a picture of its bright green colour.

 

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