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Leaving Leningrad

Or leaving St Petersburg (as it is again.) I liked the alliteration though.

I snatched these through the coach window on the way back to the ship’s berth.

An old bridge over a waterway:-

An Old Bridge, St Petersburg

This one I realised later is on the corner of Nevsky Prospekt at the Anichkov Bridge over the River Fontanka and I had photographed it from the street:-

Palace, St Petersburg

A Fire Station:-

Fire Station, St Petersburg

This is the bridge almost hidden behind the building under construction I photographed from the ship’s prow:-

Bridge, St Petersburg

And this is the one between the ship and the Zenit Arena (aka Krestovsky Stadium) – see same link above:-

Bridge in St Petersburg

Bridge and Krestovsky Stadium:-

A Bridge  + Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg

Krestovsky Stadium/Zenit Arena plus part of the bridge, also two blurred birds:-

Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg (Zenit Arena)

Leningrad Hero City Obelisk, St Petersburg

In the centre of Vosstaniya Square, St Petersburg, is the Leningrad Hero City Obelisk erected in 1985 to commemorate the fortieth Anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over German forces in the Great Patriotic War (World War 2.)

Leningrad Hero City Obelisk, St Petersburg

WW2 Monument, St Petersburg, Russia

WW2 Monument, St Petersburg, Russia

Another connection of St Petersburg to the Great Patriotic War is the old trams which still ply the city’s streets along with more modern counterparts. Despite their rattling and rolling the city’s inhabitants venerate the old models as they kept going all through the siege of the city.

Old Tram, St Petersburg

Live It Up 65: Leningrad

Well, Leningrad is what St Petersburg (see surrounding posts) was once named – and was so the first time I visited it. And when Billy Joel did.

The song is perhaps a bit too sentimental but also lies in that vein of historiography that was true of the same singer’s We Didn’t Start the Fire.

Billy Joel: Leningrad

St Petersburg (i)

This was the big one. I had been to St Petersburg before – when it was Leningrad, on a school cruise back in the heyday of the Soviet Union when we were shown the bullet holes on buildings’ walls still left over from the siege of the city during the Great Patriotic War (as World War 2 is called in those parts) – but my wife hadn’t, and with her interest in Russian history it was a place she had always wanted to see and was the reason we chose to go on this cruise at all.

The city straddles the River Neva (and a bit beyond) which therefore appears in many of our photographs. It is also home to some magnificent architecture, beautiful palaces from the time of the Tsars (in stark contrast to the conditions in which ordinary folk lived, sometimes ten or more to a room in pre-revolutionary days.)

The Winter Palace, St Petersburg, from across River Neva:-

The Winter Palace, St Petersburg

The Winter Palace is part of the famous Hermitage Museum another part of which – along with a couple of ferries – is seen below:-

The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Other buildings on River Neva frontage-

Frontage, River Neva, St Petersburg

I got a closer view of the Naval Academy:-

Naval Academy, St Petersburg

The Peter and Paul Fortress, lies on an island:-

Peter and Paul Fortress, St Petersburg

Closer view seen through rainy coach windows:-

St Petersburg, Peter and Paul Fortress

I couldn’t get far enough back to get all of this building in. In St Petersburg terms it’s fairly unremarkable:-

A Building in St Petersburg

A gilded tower in the city centre. (Note saltire flag in blue on white – St Andrew is Russia’s patron saint as well as Scotland’s, besides other countries.)

A Gilded Tower, St Petersburg

Riverfront builidings and St Isaac’s Cathedral beyond:-

St Isaac's Cathedral,St Petersburg from Across River Neva

Awaydays

I’ve been away again.

A week in Orkney with the good lady, the furthest north either of us have been in Britain.

I have been further north (Stockholm and St Petersburg – or Leningrad, as it was then – since you ask; and the good lady has been to Bergen.)

Orkney was fantastic – lots to see and do. The landscape is a bit odd to a soft southerner. It took us a while to get used to the lack of trees. There are some trees on Orkney – mostly maples and usually in sheltered spots – but the hills are all bare. And you are never far from water.

The weather was all over the place though. Great sunshine for the first two days then it rained for the next two then there was another one of sun before the next saw a driving rain storm catch us on the Brough of Birsay. Still it apparently was dismal for the whole week where we live, so we escaped that.

And Now I’m Back

I’ve been in Holland.

Well, strictly speaking, since it was on the borders of the Friesland and Groningen provinces, make that The Netherlands.

The good lady’s eldest brother lives there. We had been supposed to visit for years but life got in the way.

We needed to renew our passports first. I sent the applications away late in July. Despite all the talk on the news about delays we got the new ones inside a week. (As I remember it was four days.) Maybe the Glasgow Passport office is more efficient than down south.

So another country visited. Apart from the constituent parts of the UK (though I only just made it into Wales) I’ve been to Sweden (Stockholm,) the Soviet Union (Leningrad as was) and Denmark (Copenhagen) on a school cruise when I was at Primary School, Portugal (the Azores, Madeira, Lisbon) and Spain (Vigo) on a Secondary School cruise, and as an adult to Germany (near Stuttgart) and France twice (Normandy for the D-Day beaches and Picardy for World War I battlefields.)

Since the good lady didn’t fancy being on a RoRo ferry overnight we drove down to Harwich (with an overnight stop) and the same on the way back. I’m knackered.

Interesting Times

Sometimes I feel that we live in a Chinese curse.

Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and now Libya. Where will it end?

Of course I thought the world had gone to hell in a handcart when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas if you prefer.) In my whole memory up to then the British Army had not been involved in a full blown shooting war. (Now it seems they’ll never be out of one.)

Then there was the fall of the Berlin Wall and all that followed.

I remember once seeing Enoch Powell on Parkinson and laughing at the old codger when he referred to the “Dutch East Indies.”

Now it’s me who is a bit of an old codger. I still think of St Petersburg as Leningrad as that was its name when I visited on a school cruise in the 1970s.

I have to scoff though when Mr Irresponsible and his sidekick William Hague stand up for the rights of street protestors.

That’ll be fine except when it occurs in the UK then, eh?

OK, arrest people who break the law by smashing windows or throw stuff and the like, but what is kettling and thumps on the head or back with a truncheon if not repression?

And kettles boil, do they not? Or is that the object of the exercise?

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