Monday, March 7, 2011

Leaving the Motherland to visit the Fatherland to return to the Homeland

We left Vytegra around 9 am for Petersburg. It was a long bus ride, but I was able to get most of my school work done, and then some. Unfortunately, when we reached Petersburg our drivers got lost for a good 2 hours-never trust small-town drivers who have never been to the big city to not get lost. After situating ourselves in the sports complex on Vasilievsky island, we decided to split up to spend our last few hours in Russia. Some went to a well-known Georgian restaurant, others went to the Moscow train station to see its architecture, and Monica and I went to Nevsky Prospekt to do all the book shopping for our group.

Navigating the bookstore was a ton of fun. There was so much great literature and interesting books! I wanted to buy the entire Iconography section of the store. Tolstoy and Pushkin both had entire shelves reserved for their books. So, after buying 4 copies of Ann Karenina, a book by Pushkin, another by Kropotkin, and Peter the First by Alexei Tolstoy, all in Russian. We didn't want to walk all the way back to the hotel from Nevsky Prospekt, so we decided to take the metro trains. Using the metro was an exercise in impromptu Russian, but we were successful and got back to the hotel safely.

After leaving for the airport at 3:30 am to catch a 6am flight to Frankfurt, we had a layover of six hours before our flight to Detroit-which we used to explore scenic downtown Frankfurt-am-Main. Having lived in Germany, I was extremely excited to return. Strolling down the Main riverbank, early Sunday morning in Frankfurt is an extremely peaceful and relaxing experience, just what we needed after 8 action-packed days in Russia. Finally, it was time to return to the airport and to leave for Detroit. The flight returning home was very pleasant, especially as the Lufthansa stewardesses were very interested in Americans that were learning Russian and (in my case) knew some German.

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