St. Petersburg, January, 2015

We're in St. Petersburg now, having arrived by train yesterday.  St. Petersburg is north of Moscow, but is often warmer in the winter because it's close to the sea.  But not this time!  It's quite a few degrees colder, and it's been snowing a lot.  They expected eight inches of snow.  There were probably about four or five last night when we went out to get some dinner.  The sidewalks had been partially cleared, but the remaining snow had become icy in spots and your dad nearly lost it on a patch, but thankfully recovered his balance in mid-skid and managed not to fall.  Our friend Richard fell pretty hard a couple of minutes later.  I haven't seen him yet this morning (it's still early), but I imagine he might be sore.

As in Moscow, St, Petersburg is still decked out in its holiday attire, and they're still playing xmas songs in the shops and restaurants.  None of the songs is religious.  No Silent Night.  Instead, you hear Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Holly Jolly Christmas, I'll be home for Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, Blue Christmas... all in English, and almost always by the original recording star.

There are so many things to do here.  Many more tourists come to St. Petersburg because the tour ships can come into port here, so I think there will be a different feel here than in Moscow.  We'll start finding out today.

I just looked out the window and saw that it snowed more during the night.  It looks like there are two or three more inches of new snow on the ground now.  In Moscow, the snow is cleared very quickly by machines with big brush rollers that sweep the snow away, and spray salt on the cleared spaces left behind.  It's incredibly efficient.  Here, we saw only one such machine, but it didn't spray salt.  On the way back from the restaurant, we saw two men shoveling the sidewalk with shovels.  Not so efficient.

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