A Hugo of Our Time

Well, now that he is safely back in the U.S. after his travels in Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, I should probably write about the fact that my dad came to visit me for a week! It was a lot of fun having him here and was a great incentive to go to all the museums and other important Petersburg sites that I hadn’t quite managed to get to yet. Plus, because my dad doesn’t speak any Russian at all, there was, for a whole week, at least one person in the country impressed with my Russian. 

We had to work around my class schedule, and we had some communication difficulties (he could call me, but I couldn’t call him back) but we still managed to fit in a number of sightseeing excursions, and some great meals. 

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We visited the Yusopov palace, which we both wanted to visit because we knew of it as the place where Rasputin’s was possibly poisoned and shot. Unfortunately, the tour of the basement where the (eventually successful) murder occurred was only offered in Russian, so we contented ourselves with touring the upper two floors of the palace, which were beautiful. Highlights included: a library with a secret room where some letters of Pushkin’s were discovered in the 1920’s, a live choral performance in the ballroom (which boasted three chandeliers AND a disco ball,) and the “home theater” which “only” seated 180-people for small theater, ballet, and opera performances. We considered the possibility of creating a similar audio-guide for tours of our house (“and here, in the “Television Room” (so named for the early 21st century television that is the room’s focal point,) authentically preserved cat hairs on the sofa complement the leopard-print blankets covering the nearby chairs.”) 

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There return of the terrifying baby statues!

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And I made a new friend! 

Before our visit I had not realized how close the Yusopov palace was to my college (which is also a former palace, belonging to Catherine the Great’s illegitimate son) so my dad also got a tour of that. I realized I haven’t posted any photos of the school on this blog yet, so here you go! It really is quite beautiful. Image 

We took advantage of the sun and wandered along the Neva, as I tried to remember the names of various important sites. I think I would make a pretty good tour guide as long as members of my tour group don’t mind my taking some creative license with historical accuracy and enjoy blow-by-blow accounts of Russian novels. 

One of our favorite meals came Saturday night, when we ate at a cat-themed Georgian cafe. (Don’t tell our cats at home that they’re facing some competition. And yes, in case you’re wondering, the wall behind us was glittery, and no, I have no idea why.) 

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On Sunday we adventured out on a rainy Dostoevsky-themed tour of Petersburg, but I think I’ll save that story for another blog post. I’ll leave you with this photo my dad took of a license plate he saw back in California: a good omen for his trip, don’t you think? 

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(Although I have to admit, I’m a little jealous that this vanity-plate option has already been taken.) 

 

 

 

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