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Report 1962: Poland and the Baltics--Finding Roots

By Sharonov from Illinois, Summer 2011

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Page 8 of 9: St. Petersburg

We're traveling by bus, and today was a long drive to Russia. That was OK, because it was a rainy day and the bus is large enough for everyone to have his own seat. And it's my birthday! I haven't been to St. Petersburg for 45 years and I'm sure it's changed a great deal. Not that I remember much, only that there were cafes to sit and watch people go by, unlike Moscow at the time.

We needed a visa for Russia, which we obtained months before leaving for eastern Europe. It took about an hour to get across the border, which is the usual length of time according to our guide. We reached our hotel -- the Ambassador, which is very nice -- then went out for dinner. The restaurant had a cake for me! It was a nice day.

We had a city tour, visited the Hermitage and went to a very touristy Russian Folk Show. It was entertaining, I have to admit.

We also saw the Peter and Paul Fortress, which is an incredible building, and had a free afternoon to wander around. Bob and I ate a hamburger in a Cal's Jr.! Again, most Russians dealing with the public have learned at least basic English. It's great for us to be speaking the lingua franca. And I don't remember seeing chain stores such as Ecco in 1965!

Wish I didn't feel so rushed.

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