Kyle’s Journey in Armenia

Just Another Peace Corps Blog

  • Kyle? In Armenia?

    My name is Kyle, and I am a Peace Corps volunteer in Noyemberyan, Armenia. I will live here until August 2008 and am an Information Technology volunteer. In addition to my primary assignment developing my region's WiFi internet, I also teach computer and English classes to area youth. Thank you for visiting!

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27
Jul 2008
The Opulence of St. Petersburg
Posted in Peace Corps by Kyle at 2:30 pm |

Our last two days in St. Petersburg were quite exciting, as we had the opportunity to visit some of the most remarkable landmarks. Thursday we visited the world-famous Hermitage Museum, which is the largest museum in the world and had some impressive collections. They had a rather impressive collection of Piccaso, Rembrandt and other European art, but the most interesting stuff was their collection from the Near East and Far East. It was beautiful but almost overwhelming - Russian opulence at its finest.

Our last day in St. Petersburg, we visited two amazing cathedrals - Catherine’s and Peterhof. Both were built during the 18th century, and both are incredibly lavish. The crown jewel of Catherine’s is the Amber Room, which, as you can imaging, is made of only amber. They didn’t let us take pictures there so these are some bootlegged images:

Me at Catherine's palace Catherine's garden

Peterhof was Peter the Great’s Palace, but was largely destroyed during WWII during the Nazi occupation of St. Petersburg. My favorite part of these palaces was the pictures of the reconstruction efforts. The most magnificent part of Peterhof was the cascading fountains in his lower garden. Absolutely stunning. Fortunately we were able to get there just before they shut the fountains off at 5 PM.

Fountains at Peter's Palace Me and some fountains

Friday night we had our first overnight train ride from St. Petersburg to Moscow. This was my first overnight train ride, and surprisingly enough, it wasn’t that bad! Even more surprising is that Russian trains are incredibly efficient and on-time, the exact opposite of anything in Armenia. Our train arrived at 1:44 AM from Finland, and left the train station by the 1:49 AM departure time, on the dot. That left exectly 5 minutes to get all of our bags on the train, and then stand akwardly in the hallway waiting for the large, angry looking carriage attendent to tell us where to go and what to do. In Russian.

We finally were led to our beds, which were narrow, but surprisingly long, even for me. I shared a cabin with three Russians. I must have looked like a deer in headlights as I basically copied the man who occupied the opposite top bunk, learning where the ladder was, how to use the water, etc. I slept like a baby, though (probably because it was so late), and the noise of the train was surprisingly soothing. The sheets were clean, the other people were respectful enough, and while it’s cramped, I think it’s going to be incredibly relaxing to just sit and watch the scenery and relax across Russia.

We leave for the Trans-Siberian the evening of the 29th. Until then we will be exploring the capital of Russia, Moscow, and today we are going to look at Lenin’s waxy body at his tomb. Woohoo. As always, all of my photos (and videos!) are uploaded to my Flickr page.


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The views expressed herein are the views of the author and do not express those of Peace Corps Armenia or the United States government.