Monday, June 4, 2012

Russia: Day 7

I am so tired. But in a good way. In an "I've spent the last two days seeing things that were 100% worth seeing and if I had the chance I'd do it all again" kind of way. We crammed quite a bit into our restful exploration. 
Group at the Gulf of Finland

Sculpture in the Summer Garden
"Rest and individual exploration" -Class Syllabus.

As you can see, the syllabus said Sunday would be a rest day. HA! Total opposite. We started our day with a road trip to the Gulf of Finland. It was a long drive for a short walk along the beach, and it was cold. But it was all worth it to see Lynn run and jump into the freezing water. Quite entertaining!

Gulf of Finland

Lynn enjoying the very cold water

After walking around and enjoying the cold, we went to lunch. Once again, I was too busy eating my food to take a picture of it, but it was lovely. A carrot and apple salad, rice and vegetables, and then a fruit salad for dessert. Fabulous! I felt fueled for the next adventure. 

We decided to walk through the summer garden, which was re-opened to the public last week after 3 years of renovations. It was lovely, but since it was opened a few days ago, it was quite crowded. I'd like to go back on a week day and really look around. There were manicured paths around the garden, and at every intersection there was a fountain and statues. There is a cafe and little sitting areas, but we did not really explore. There were too many people to make walking around really enjoyable. 

After our short walk, we went to the Church of the Spilled Blood. Talk about amazing. I was in awe when I walked in. I don't know what I expected when I walked in, but not what I saw. The entire church, inside and out, is a work of art. Every image on the wall is a mosaic, and the walls are completely covered in images. I could have spend all day just looking at the walls. 

Crowd at the summer garden

Our professors

The Church on the Spilled Blood

After all of this we weren't even done for the day! Oh no. We still had to go shopping. There is a market behind the church where I got to use my bartering skills, which consist of either asking for half off or looking pathetic and saying I wish I could afford that. I bought some Matryoshka dolls and shot glasses, and had fun just looking around and seeing what all the vendors were selling. We also stopped in a book store to warm up for a bit, and checked out some paintings an artist was selling near the Russian Museum. 
And then we went to dinner. I had salmon that I did not take a picture of.
And then I went to another shop with two other people and picked up a few other things. Don't worry, Mom and Dad, I got a coffee mug!
And then we got ice cream.
And then we went back to the hotel, and I crashed. 

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