The Alexander Palace from the back c.2018

Coming Home

Being back in Russia is so rewarding. It definitely feels like my Home away from Home. Although it’s been NINE long years since I was last stepped foot in Russia, when I started walking the grounds of the Alexander Palace today it felt like I was here just yesterday.

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Helsinki Airport - Rest Stations

The Wait

Ahead of my final destination lied a long wait.

Vancouver to New York’s JFK, a ten hour layover, then an eight hour flight to Helsinki (a city in which I am very sad to say I have yet to visit outside of the airport), another layover and then to St. Petersburg.

The layovers proved to be non-eventful, I tried to catch some Z’s sitting up, and I think I managed to grab a few, but my inner clock is all bamboozled.

Interesting notes thus far:
If you take any European airline (Finnair, Cataway, etc) they give you a lot of wine free of charge. In my first flight, I asked for some red, and the gentleman filled my cup like I had a 7-11 big gulp cup. I won’t lie, I really was laid back for the rest of that flight.

On my second flight, I was also given a very generous amount of wine. I could get used to this 😀

This is the fist time I’ve arrived in St. Petersburg alone. I admit, I was nervous, I hadn’t used my Russian since my semester there in 2009, and my last impressions of Polvoko airport was a lot of guns, and not a lot of fun, Haha.

This time around, I was lucky, as there were no armed guards (that I could see), and I ran into the most friendly Babushka who took me under her wing. She and I had many broken conversations. Her English was as good as my Russian, but THANK GOD, I downloaded an offline version of Russian for Google translate. I asked my questions that way, and she was very good at answering. In the end, she stayed by my side until we got through security and customs before going on her way. She was the angel I needed today.

Well.. I’m going to break this blog post into two, as there is so much more to write, but I am exhausted guys!

Talk soon!

A Pilgrimage 20 Years In the Making

The gunshots began soon after midnight on 17 July, 1918. Chaotically, the firing squad executed Tsar Nicholas II, his 13-year-old son Alexei, daughters Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, wife Alexandra and their attendants in the cellar of a merchant house in Yekaterinburg, western Siberia.


Then they set about destroying the evidence.


The bodies were removed – first by truck, and then by horse and cart, to a deep pit called Ganina Yama 25km away. There, the Bolsheviks tipped the bodies in, and began to dissolve the bodies in acid.

- Oliver Carroll

And so ended 305 years of Romanov rule in Russia. More importantly, July 17th, 1918, marked the final moments of Nicholas II his family and all of those who accompanied them into imprisonment.

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