Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Tsar Lifestyle--from St. Petersburg to our hotel in Moscow

After three intense days of debate, sightseeing, and international connections, it was time for everyone to say their goodbyes. The end of the conference came quicker than anyone expected as groups of students would now head to either Novgorod or Moscow. Before we headed to the train station to take the high speed train to Moscow, we visited the Summer Palace on the outskirts of St. Petersburg.

Last night, we experienced true Russian weather with a snow shower that left about a half an inch on the ground. The locals seemed unaffected by the change in weather even though road conditions could have easily closed down D.C for the day. As we road our bus to the outskirts, we were filled in on the unique history of the Summer Palace which was destroyed during WWII with some sections still being restored today. The town that the palace is located in is very historic itself, hosting several statues of Alexander Pushkin who studied at the local university.

The palace itself hosted the most extravagant and elegant rooms imaginable. With marble fireplaces, exquisitely painted ceilings, and glowing gold walls, the palace hosts unbelievable luxury. The size of the palace was impressive as well.
It took us about five minutes to walk from the front gates to the entrance of the palace.

After the tour, we had the opportunity to explore the town and shop at the local kiosks. The cold eventually forced the group inside and we settled down at a local cafe for tea and caviar sandwiches.

In the afternoon, we gathered the group and our belongings, hopped on our bus for the last time, and headed to the train station to catch the high speed train
that would take us 400 miles across Russian territory towards Moscow.
After an interesting and exhausting day, we arrived at the Renaissance hotel to find much larger rooms, a hot tub, and pool for some much needed down time!

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