Monday, June 23, 2008

One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

By Nakita Dziegielewski

I just got back from one of the most beautiful places on Earth, Staraya Ladoga. Today, all of us went on a field trip to this beautiful town to learn a little Russian history, have a picnic, and bask in the Russian sunlight. Our trip to Staraya Ladoga has by far been the most picturesque and relaxing day that I have had in St. Petersburg.

We left around ten in the morning, making a few historic pit stops along the way, and finally arrived at our picnic destination around two in the afternoon. This town is not only beautiful, but is very much apart of Russian history and culture. It is known for being the first capital of Russia, and provides an inside look at how things were done in old Russia. The town itself is dated back to the eight and ninth centuries. On our trip, we were actually able to go inside the restored fortress that is located in the ancient town. It contained historical information regarding the formation of the town and of the fortress. The view from the top of the fortress was amazing.

Another aspect of the trip today was the picnic. We cooked kebabs on the grill and relished in the amazing view that Staraya Ladoga had to offer. Today was the perfect day as well because the sun was out and we had a constant breeze to keep us cool. We also had our Russian tutors come along with us. After all the eating was done, some played frisbee, volleyball or badminton, and others just walked around the countryside. I could have spent the whole day there, but unfortunately we had to leave. You know, if I could, I would spend the rest of my time in Russia there. The countryside has my heart.

One other thing that made this trip even better was the little snack that I had before entering the fortress. There were these two guys outside the fortress setting up this table with fish, head and all. So we went over to investigate and found out that these fish had just been caught and smoked today, and were ready to eat. At first, I was a little hesitant to spend money on a fish that still had its head everything attached and was laying out in the open air, but the aroma of the fish tempted my friend and I so we split a fish. When we got it we had to pull the skin back and just the meat straight out of the body. It was amazing — the best fish that I’ve ever had. My friend and I pretty much devoured the whole thing. It was so fresh, and smoked just right. The picture might tell otherwise, but listen to me when I say that if you ever venture to Staraya Ladoga you must, must find the guys that are selling the fresh, smoked fish and buy one. You will never go back to regular fish again.

Paka for now!

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