If you have never heard of couchsurfing.org you really should. In my time in Russia so far, i have met so many great people through this organization! Most cities have weekly meeting where travellers and locals can come and chat, and you can of course, surf couches as well...which I will be doing in Moscow next weekend. I am very happy to report that there is ANOTHER upside to coming to Russia in February, and that is Maslenitsa. This week-long festival marks the "end" or winter. Russians build a big hay woman and burn her to the ground to symbolize the end of winter. So I am hoping some better weather is en route. But what Maslenitsa is most commonly known for is PANCAKES! Also called pancake week! So you better believe I will have my fill of pancakes for an entire week! YEAH!!
|Walking on the Neva - Hermitage in the background|
I finally visited the Hermitage, After 4.5 exhausting hours, I still didnt even see the entire art collection. More than the art, however, I was impressed by the architecture of the palace itself. The ceilings were incredibly detailed and different in ever room. It costs money to take photos, so of course I cheaped out, so you'll have to google it for yourself. As a student, I got in for free :)
|Spilled blood church - my favorite place in the city|
|This bird statue is famous, called чижик пыжик. People throw coins onto the ledge for good luck...as you can see some have not landed. So these two bums were digging out the coins from the ice.|
Last night I went to my pupil's choir concert. It was such a delight to watch and listen to young youngs singing Russian music. Everyone in the audience started to clap, and some of the soloists were very talented.The woman beside me kept bragging about her friend who composed some of the songs. So when my pupil finally got on stage with her group, I said in Russian - that's MY english student. I put her in her place!
I've gotten a few more donations lately, so thank you to everyone who hasn't forgotten why Afton and I are running in this crazy winter! Our race is approaching quickly - March 31st. Thankfully Afton was able to reach her goal! Congratulations my dear friend! Now, I am at 69% of my goal, so any donations are greatly appreciated. Click here to donate online!