Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4




A second trip to Russia

Part 1: A countenance of pride and light

My first trip to St. Petersburg, Russia took place during the year of 2000.
Here is my next story about Russia taking place two years later: seeing another glimpse of St. Petersburg, and then on to a city of new experiences, Moscow.

(Note: If you want to read the travelogue of the first trip first, then
simply click here to jump back in time. But beware, you might find yourself experiencing "a slight case of culture shock")

Driving down the same boulevard two years later, during the summer of 2002, my emotions because of being back in St. Petersburg were of anticipation, pleasure and excitement.

I was delighted in finding the old feelings of heaviness and oppression had lifted, while not believing my eyes as we progressed into the city. An updating of worn facade's with fresh paint and boards covering broken windows were replaced with panes of glass. I was in awe to see the city with a makeover, a new birth happened during the past two years.

The people on the streets had a countenance of pride and light. I noticed more smiles on faces that I had gravely looked for during my last trip. There were bountiful cars buzzing by that are typical of a large city eventurally causing backed-up traffic. I was like a child in a candy store with my nose pressed against the glass taking in new sights as we meandered through the city on our way to the airport to catch a flight to Moscow.

St. Petersburg was founded on May 27, 1703 with a current population of 4.75 million. A 300-year celebration is taking place within the year, during 2003, and is the reason for the freshening up of the city. My heart leapt with pleasure as I observed what had gone on since 2000. Seeing painters hanging on the side of buildings and the streets in better repair was exhilarating.

The original name St. Petersburg is named after St. Peter and not Peter-the-Great. During the 20th century her name changed to Petrograd, then to Leningrad, and back to St. Petersburg in 1991. I recalled when that happened bringing me a joyful heart that Lenin, a symbol of Communism, was gone from her name.

After my return home from the last trip to St. Petersburg, I questioned myself, "What is so wrong with Communism?"

I was always taught that is was wrong from a Christian and Capitalist point of view. My world of beliefs tumbled and began a trek of "What do "I" believe?"
I haven't found the answer to the first question, but began to realize in a different light about the greed of capitalism. The fall of Enron, and other companies with foul accounting practices accelerated my view along with the President of companies robbing the shareholders blind.

To me, this is what travelling is all about. Partaking of and discovering the world and its vast cultures while growing as a person. Those places touching and changing my heart. Like what happened to me in Russia.

During this trip we had two days in Russia, one via a flight to Moscow to visit the Kremlin and the KGB, another in St. Petersburg for a river cruise down the Neva River.

As we drove down the wide boulevards of St. Petersburg I desired to stop and talk to some of the people along the way to ask them how their lives were better.

It was obvious that prosperity had come their way. My heart was tugged as we drove by beggars, then eventually past the cosmopolitan people. We had a flight to catch for MOSCOW to spend the day, the highlight of this trip. I realized the next day, hopefully, would give us more of an opportunity to mingle amongst the locals and other foreigners travelling as well.

Part 2: On the grounds of the Kremlin

this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
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