St. Petersburg: 1

July 24, 2011 • 10:16 pm

I finally got a glimpse of this beautiful city on the way to  St. Petersburg State University this morning. It’s like a cross between Amsterdam and Venice, with large, beautiful buildings and lots of water and canals.  I can’t wait to explore it on foot after our meetings end.  After today’s session and dinner, we get a city tour, and on Wednesday we have half a day at the Peterhof Palace:

Our symposium (on marine snails) at the University is about to begin, in a very old building that once housed Mendeleev.  Here is a photo of our small lecture hall (there are about 40 scientists here), taken with Photobooth. It is, without doubt, the fanciest place in which I’ll ever speak.

22 thoughts on “St. Petersburg: 1

  1. Have you read Andrei Bely’s novel ‘St Petersburg’? Nabokov thought it one of the very greatest of the last century. It is certainly very good.

  2. I am so excited to do the tour of St. Petersburg with you! Keep posting! I will be in St. Augustine, FL this week. Want some smoked mullet??

  3. There seems to be a gargoyle at the bottom of the picture trying to muscle in on the putti on the ceiling!


    1. It is startling pic, isn’t it?

      I’ll enjoy this tour with you. Long, long ago I did a audiovisual report on Leningrad for a geography class. I took slide pics of photos from books and put together a slide show.* I was amazed at the city then. Perhaps one day I’ll get there in person.

      *this would be so much easier these days with computers, powerpoint and digital photos.

  4. A symposium on marine snails, that’s really cute! I know what ridiculous levels of specialization are reached in my own field, but seeing it in a completely different science is always kind of amusing. That being said, I’m sure there are also symposia on short-feelered marine snail summer mating habits in deep sea conditions 😉

  5. That line from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast suddenly comes to mind:

    If it ain’t baroque, then don’t fix it.

  6. “the fanciest place that I’ll ever speak”

    As a non-native English speaker I was puzzled by this sentence. Is it grammatical? Sounds a bit jarring even if it is…

    1. No, you’re right–it was ungrammatical and written in a hurry. I’ve fixed it a bit so it’s more grammatical, but of course it still sounds awkward!

      1. Sounded fine to me – ‘the fanciest place that I’ll ever speak IN’ would be perfect, but in conversational speech ellipsis is normal.

        1. I should add that I prefer ‘that’ to ‘which’ probably because it is more common in Norfolk where I grew up. To my mind ‘that’ represents the influence on Old Norse on Old English reinforcing the native word. But what do I know!

          1. Ahh– the evil “that” and “which”! 🙂

            *sigh* So jealous– one of these days I’ll get to St. Petersburg, too… Love that bottom pic:-))

            (Notagod– Of *course* that’s Ceiling Cat, but in his human form. Naturally he has to keep an eye on us– we couldn’t be good without him, could we?;-)

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