Compared to most of last week, today and yesterday were YUCK! Cold and windy. In light of this, Sara and I opted to take a cab to start at the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. I have seen this Cathedral many times (those of you facebook friends know the next part...) and was even able to take a picture outside on the way home from the passport office last Thursday.
The cab ride was worth every 470 of the rubles we paid. The driver appeared to speak no english, but thankfully our friendly hotel concierge had told him where we were going and replied back to us what the set price was ahead of time. Check and check. We started off on our way. Perhaps I should first explain that in NO way will I claim to be an expert on the streets of St. Petersburg, however, after a couple turns, I had NO idea where he was taking us. I knew the route we had taken in the past, and prior to deciding on a cab, I had mapped out a walking route. This didn't look anything like it! I didn't panic. Ok, maybe a little. Remember just 2 hours ago we were watching live coverage of the fact that Bin Laden had been found and killed, and the US State Department has issued a "warning" for all American't traveling abroad. Before we left, Sara and I plotted our cover story - we were Brits! Tally Ho! Alas, we knew there was no way we could pull off the accent without much more practice. So we decided we were Canadians. Yeah - that's it. Canadian's from London, Ontario. We shant forget the Brits, totally, eh?
Finally, like a flash in the sky, I saw the beautiful tops of Spilled Blood. Relief. But then we turned - the OPPOSITE way. Breathe in. Breathe out. No big deal. We're just finding a BETTER route. Then again, tops! Spilled Blood! Relief. And then again - turning the OPPOSITE WAY. By this time, Sara and I are fully talking LOUDLY about hockey and which teams we support (Maple Leafs of course -- since we are Canadians that live near Toronto) and laughing hysterically. You know when someone you're with starts laughing and then suddenly that's even more funny than what you're actually laughing about. THAT'S what happened to us. I think the driver grew tired of our laughter and decided to finally let us out. If we'd have been in NYC, I would have thought we were being taken on long ride to drive up the fare -- but these Russian cabs don't seem to operate like that. Just before we got out Sara asked the driver - who again, we think doesn't speak english - a question. IN ENGLISH. And essentially he answered. I think we both wet our pants a little.
FINALLY we were at the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. Modeled after St. Basil's in Moscow, this building in UNBELIEVABLE. To say the least. Complete with beautiful onion domes at the top (which scream RUSSIA to me) and the most detailed, delicate hand laid mosaic tile from floor to ceiling, it rivals anything I have ever seen. Everywhere you looked you wanted to take THAT picture.
We both paid an extra 100 rubles to get the "audio tour". We didn't exactly keep up with where we were supposed to be and when (too many crowds, and the aforementioned photo opps slowed us down) but I did actually learn a couple new things about the building. Did you know: the onion domes shape was created to help from not collapsing under the weight of snow? You did now!
I posted the back story of this Cathedral with my picture on facebook the other day, but since many of you are NOT on facebook, here goes. In March of 1881,