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Saint Petersburg

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After a short flight from Stockholm we are still in Europe, but we feel as though we are on the edge of familiar ground. As we walk the streets of our new destination there are people smoking hookahs, crumbling decaying buildings, strange smells, and the faces in the crowds are different, as well as the churches and their icons. Europe has ended, something new and different is beginning: this truly is the middle ground, a place between Europe and Asia. We have arrived in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The architecture of this 300 year old city is gorgeous although it looks much neglected in places, and sometimes fallen into deep despair. However, a few monumental buildings are wrapped in scaffolding, so there seems to be some effort at preservation. Overnight there was a torrential downpour, which lasted for hours. The morning weather made us realize that the wettest winter we ever spent was a summer in Saint Petersburg. We wandered down the main street of this colorful city (the Nevsky Prospect) to every tourist's first stop, the magnificent Hermitage Museum. It is almost 250 years old and started as Catherine the Great's personal art collection. It was eventually opened to the public in 1852. The collection has a million items, everything from Ancient Greek gold jewelry, to Picasso's ceramics, and Auguste Rodin’s hypnotic sculptures. There were millions of tourists at the museum that we mostly managed to beat with our early rising strategy. The great art of the museum was somewhat lost to us as we never managed to figure out its unfathomable map. Eventually, we escaped the throng, and dodging the rain we rushed to the nearest cafe for solace in cappuccinos. Out on the streets we continually marveled at the many glamorous young women, with slender bodies, long legs, and usually wearing (very tall) high-heeled pumps. These young women seem out of place compared to the older mothers and grandmothers we saw that were, let me say, much shorter and rounder. It is a mystery to us how the various generations of women can be so physically different. The Dog is the story of a dog’s unconditional love and how it can cure even human problems #ShortFilm https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thedog

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