Saturday, April 5, 2008

Russia (9)
Night Train Out of Moscow

by Rocky Macy

We had been in Moscow for the better part of a week when the time came to move on to St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg, which had been called Leningrad during the Socialist era, was built 300 years ago on the Gulf of Finland by Czar Peter the Great. He had the swamps drained and built a beautiful winter capital along the lines of the more modern cities of Europe.

We left Moscow late in the afternoon. One of our Russian guides, Irina, saw us off at the train station. I remember her lamenting that once we saw St. Petersburg, we would forget all about Moscow.

Our British guides stayed with us through the remainder of the tour to St. Petersburg and on to Sweden. Our train ride would take the entire night, and we were warned repeatedly by our guides to lock ourselves into our compartments (3-man) and not to answer the door for anyone unless we knew absolutely who was knocking. It was, they assured us, extremely dangerous to go to the club car and mingle. Not wanting to die on a train (or be robbed and then thrown off of a train), I heeded their advice. There was absolutely nothing to be seen from the window in our car, and I slept soundly until sunrise which found us arriving in St. Petersburg.

Irina was right. St. Petersburg was a beautiful city.

More later.

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