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Chilly St Petersburg

. What a city St Petersburg is! My grandfather lived here for something like 18 years and studied at the Conservatorium. He was a very famous Operatic tenor by the name of Kipras Petrauskas. Now that I have spent some real time here over the last year or so, I understand why he spent so much time here.The flight from Innsbruck after our wonderful day on the road in Italy was uneventful.

The Paris of the North

St Petersburg is a glorious city filled with light, life, great food, extraordinary culture and it is so so so sophisticated! Now, I am not exactly a ‘Sophisticate’ myself, but I can handle myself in a ‘well-heeled’ crowd. I appreciate the trappings that come with a city as classy as this one. When walking the streets of St Petersburg, it is too easy to forget you are not in Europe.

I find it unbelievable that so many people don’t think of western Russia as European, because it really is in every way – except politically I guess.

It also amazes me how similar Americans are to Russians, as a whole and as a country. Of course, there are obvious differences. Different languages and historic cultures, but when it comes to the big pictures stuff, I see more similarities than differences.

I know a lot of people will disagree on both sides, but this is my observation after living in the USA for several years and being here in St Petersburg several times, over the last year, and for several months. Russia is extraordinary.

Family Stuff

I went through the process of getting my health fully checked in every way, due to some family business we needed to attend to. This meant getting a psychiatric report. This entailed going to an insane asylum, having probes attached to my head in a dark room and answering a lot of seemingly unrelated questions. All this confirmed I’m not crazy. I also had to get blood tests and another report to confirm I am neither an alcoholic or a drug addict.

I was amazed by the diversity of reactions I got as a foreigner. Especially getting tests done for a report that is normally only given to Russian nationals. Some were tremendously helpful while others were nothing short of being total pigs about it. We had to ask our friends to register me.

My Amazing Wife

Somehow Vero managed to get some test in the precinct we were in, other tests were done in the precinct she was still registered in and after 5 days of endless taxi rides and lots of walking in -10c. We finally received the report from a charming, yet rather overworked fellow I like to refer to as ‘my main man’ in St Petersburg now.

Today we went to a park with the kids where they made ice slides. It was fun but very cold! the wind was blowing from the north, the temperature was around -14c and Vita had to wipe snow of the slide and everything else in the playground before she played.

It was cold for sure, but it was pretty cool too! we had a lot of fun. If you haven’t been to Russia, I suggest you go. Go with an open mind and be adventurous, ignore the red tape, just push through it. I think you will be surprised how much you like the place

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