It is Easter morning and the Nikolsky Cathedral is full. Russian orthodox services are delivered to a standing crowd. Families mill about listening to prayer, seeking inspiration from their favored saints represented in icons hung through out this gorgeous blue jewel of a church. They have picnic baskets full of treats which are being blessed with holy water by one of the officiants. The golden onion shaped domes of the church, sky blue facade against the perfect blue sky, budding trees couldn't embody resurrection more clearly, The crowd is joyful and we feel entirely welcomed.
Everything you ever read about the Hermitage warns you not to attempt to take it all in, in one visit. We approach the sea green and white confection with awe, it seems to stretch from horizon to horizon across palace square. We staggered out 6 hours later reeling, our heads hurting from trying to grasp the magnitude of the opulence of the palace not to mention the scope of the most exquisite, paintings, artifacts, jewels etc. Our feet are burning from the miles walked and stairs climbed and yet there is so much more to see. There is only one way to dull the pain - a big bowl of stroganoff and shot of ice cold vodka.
Perhaps it is the promise of Spring, the effects of glasnost, the holiday but one major change from my last visit in 1977 is that the Russians have learned to smile and all we have experienced has been welcoming friendly smiles today.
All in all a perfect Easter afternoon.
Helen Ward Obermeyer
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley
I share a love of travel with my husband Wally and daughters Kyra and Catherine. I believe It is only through meeting people and sharing common interests that we can break down barriers and prevent fascism. I grew up in New York in the country and the city, have lived in London and currently embrace Colorado as home. There is nothing more important than learning both through formal education and experiences. When I can't be on the road I travel through books and journalism which is why I am such a big supporter of public radio. Through its unbiased reporting and global reach it reminds us everyday to look beyond our small self interests and be aware of all the world has to offer.