Day 17a: Natives Sons and Daughters of St. Petersburg

Based on comments I received about Shostakovich and Dostoyevsky, I became curious about other famous people from this historic city.

Here’s a Jeopardy Quiz for you on a few other famous people born in St. Petersburg. Do you know the questions to these answers?

1. As a prima ballerina, her signature performance was the Dying Swan.
2. Founder of the New York City Ballet
3. This political leader served under Vladimir Putin and succeeded him as president of Russia in 2008
4. Author of the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, she promoted the philosophy of objectivism
5. A Russian novelist and critic known for such novels as Lolita

Doesn’t this give you a better perspective on these individuals and how they accomplished such remarkable achievements?

Bonus Answer: he was born in Leningrad, today’s St. Petersburg, on October 7, 1952.

4 thoughts on “Day 17a: Natives Sons and Daughters of St. Petersburg”

  1. The art is breath taking. Many pieces I have never seen. You are a force and prime time ready for any game show.


    1. How did you do on the questions?
      A version of The Matisse Dancers is in the NY Met. I think this one is earlier.
      The rooms are the most sumptuous and ornate that I have seen in any country, so the glory and power of the Russian nobility
      was the top of the game in its day. Catherine, who was German, acquired many of the pieces in the main Hermitage, aside from this Collection.


  2. Hi, Victoria,

    The 5th is one of my favorite writer, Vladimir Nabokov. Speaking of which, have you taken any non-travel guidebooks with? If so, what are you reading?

    Presently, I am reading Lenin’s Tomb by David Remnick. Reading your travel blogs in Russia along with this book makes my reading experience especially more enjoyable. Thank you!

    Random travel questions:

    1. Are AMT’s readily available in the Russian cities you have visited so far?

    2. Was there a WiFi service available on TME?


    1. Hi Pedro, thanks for your comments and questions! Let’s start with the easy ones:

      1. ATMS are ubiquitous and easy to find in most tourist areas, so we haven’t had any problems.
      2. The WiFi did not exist on the TME. Gee Kin had heard that there was internet service, but maybe that was only on the Russian trains and not the Chinese ones. We tracked the schedule carefully to time the arrival of the train at 20-minute stops, but the 4-hour time difference from Moscow time to any of the stations drove Gee Kin crazy. There weren’t any points of reference to where we were in space. In 20 minutes, I had to find out whether there was wifi at each station, the password, format and load pictures, edit and post, while the emails that were backed up from the day before were downloading before anything could happen. That kept me from returning any emails as I was preoccupied and couldn’t read emails until after we were back on the train. The car attendants kept worrying that we would miss the train, but we managed to avoid getting left behind.
      I’m glad you are familiar with the Russian writers. You can see Lenin’s tomb in Moscow and many Russians make the the pilgrimage there to see it. He also lived in St. Petersburg. Coming here definitely makes me want to read more about Russian history and Russian writers.
      Because I travel light, I had to make a tough choice between my German language books and other reading material. I didn’t even bring any guide books! I am relying on the internet and finding that is a big mistake. The minimum you need are hard copy maps of each city, because you need them when you are on the street and there isn’t wifi available.
      I can recommend a great book I have given to everyone called “the Orientalist” by a NY Times Journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Reiss. It captures alot of recent world history I love reading about. It traces the history of Lev Nissinbaum, who was born and grew up in Lake Baku. He became a famous journalist himself and wrote many books just before the war. His family became refugees and lived in many countries before he ended up in Germany. A fascinating book and highly recommended.
      I have been reading Thomas Mann’s “Magic Mountain” and his book on “Sorrows of Werther” about Goethe. Reading the German authors help me to appreciate the German culture. I have taken a hiatus from doing this, but you have reminded me that I should pick up a book once I send Gee Kin back home. He’s distracting me! Have you been reading any books by German philosophers or authors? In May we visited Goethe’s and Schiller’s houses in Weimar and got very inspired by their lives and work.


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