The 8th of May is Mother’s Day this year in the U.S., and we have had the opportunity to celebrate it along with a Russian national holiday, Victory Day. While we have received and sent Mother’s Day e-cards, emails, and phone calls today, we decided to also enjoy the surprise of a beautiful, sunny day on Sunday by taking a walking tour around the center of
Vlad. Students from Asia Pacific School met us at our Versailles Hotel and served as our guides for the afternoon. They had carefully prepared historical commentary about the important and historic sights of the city and did a wonderful job of sharing this information with us in English. As we walked around, we also had a wonderful chance to interact with Russian teenagers in an informal setting, which allowed them to practice their English skills — their English ability was really impressive.
We started at the harbor, where we saw the Russian fleet, the submarine museum, and a wall of names that resembles the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington, D.C., which is a monument to the merchant fleet seamen who perished in WWII. There is also a beautiful chapel there which has the Eternal Flame in front. We learned that this chapel is dedicated to the safety of all seamen.
Here in Russia, we have been attending Victory Day celebrations all week in the Primorsky Krai schools we’ve visited, however, the 9th is actually Victory Day. It marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War, also known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia. We attended a parade that was held just next to the port of Vladivostok near the submarine monument and the chapel dedicated to the sailors. Victory Day is a time when Russia honors its veterans, and particularly those of the Great Patriotic War.
As we continued to tour the city, we mounted the park ascending from the chapel toward Svetlanskkaya Street and stopped to take a group picture on the steps of the Arch of Triumph. We had a great walk through the park, took the funicular to the top of Eagle’s Nest for a spectacular view of Golden Horn Bay, the new bridge to be completed for the 2012 APEC Summit, and the surrounding bays and waterways. Shopping at GUM concluded our outing :-). In the next entry, we will highlight the 9 May Parade at the Harbor.
Onward to Monday, Becky and Wendy