In an attempt to not go too bonkers finishing up my #seattle posts...
1. My hair changing colors at #DiscoveryPark 🏞️ (in my HFB🍏 jacket)
2. #WestPointLighthouse 💡
3. #SeattleGreatWheel 🎡 from the #pier
4. Seattle Great Wheel + #ships 🛳️
5. Footage from Carl S. English Jr. #BotanicalGarden 🌲🍁
6. Me at #BallardLocks (incoming ship!) 🛥️
7. More #foliage at the garden/locks (but this one looks like a painting!) 🎨
8. View from my hotel in #Bellevue 🌿🍁🍃🍂🌲
9. Poor quality selfie at the Museum of Pop Culture (one of my favorite museums by far) 🎮🕹️
10. Foliage outside this coffee spot/record shop/radio station in Lower #QueenAnne ☕💛🧡♥️ ...and there's one more coming...
We arrived in Saint Petersburg after a tour through much of the former Soviet periphery. Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary, and the Baltic States had all developed individual versions of their independent selves, gingerly stepping into democracy and capitalism like bear cubs waking after hibernation. Remembering and reveling in their own ancient history, and finding a way to wed the very old with the very new while trying to forget the bits in between.
But Russia itself felt different. The proud history of conquering Slavs and progressive Tsars seemed to join the Soviet era in a seamless, logical advance toward the modern age. Instead of the Soviet Union being a suspension of the country’s history, as it certainly was in the satellite states of Eastern Europe, for Russia, it was simply another chapter. A giant sideways stride that thrust Russia onto the international scene, gave it nuclear weapons, and forged fanatical pride for country but largely ignored the need to develop the personal pride of the individual self.
The Russians we met seemed to balance pride for country on one hand and personal ambition on the other with preternatural ease, drawing on a history of conquest and applying it to daily life. Make no mistake, Russia is very much a capitalist country now. Although the state still owns and controls the tools of industry, everyone is hustling for the almighty ruble. Independent shops and Western name brands grace the busy streets of Saint Petersburg. Luxury hotels are plentiful, and lively restaurants are open all night. See more from Russia at wemarriedadventure.com.