Rabbit Rabbit, Cemeteries, and Getting Lost

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Does anyone remember back in the day on Nickelodeon when they would tell you to do random things the next day? They would always tell you to say "rabbit, rabbit", first thing in the morning on the first of the month and then you would have good luck for the entire month. I always hated that because I would remember around noon that day that I forgot to say it. For some reason I remembered that yesterday… and of course forgot to say it today.

Anyway, yesterday we decided to go for a nice walk. That walked ended up turning into a trek through the outer regions of Petersburg. We headed for a park that Jess had ran around a few times. It was actually very nice and beautiful with the leaves in different stages of changing colors and falling to the ground. It was nice to be in the woods and away from the noise of good ole Grazdansky Prospect. She mentioned that there was supposed to be a graveyard at one end of the woods but that she could never find it. We ended up walking long enough that we did come across it. The first part we saw was completely over grown. They were all Orthodox graves but we found it very strange that every single one of them had died in 1959. My goal was to find out what that was about, however I couldn't find anything online.

We continued walking only to find these large rocks with 1941 written on them. We thought it was strange but the more I saw them the more I began to think they might have been mass graves. The numbers on the stones continued to increase; 1942, 1943, 1944. As we turned a corner we realized that we were actually in a huge memorial cemetery. Walking further on we found a massive monument with an inscription that we believe (if we knew enough Russian) would sound beautiful. We deciphered what we could but most of it we figured out by looking online after we got back. It is apparently the Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery which is dedicated to the lives lost during the siege of Leningrad that lasted from September 4, 1941 to January 22, 1944. Continuous air bombing and being completely cut off from the rest of the world by German troops, hundreds of thousands of people were either killed or starved to death. During this time the area that we were in was designated as a cemetery so bodies were brought there. Apparently 420,000 civilians and 50,000 soldiers are buried in 186 mass graves on the site. It was amazing that we just happened to stumble upon this site, not even understanding what it actually was at the time.

While our walk through the park was great and finding the cemetery was amazing we some how got turned around in the woods and came out on some street that we did not recognize. Because we all though we were going to walk to a well known place none of us brought a map. Luckily we had a cell phone and we were able to call to get directions home. Unfortunately we were out walking for about 2.5 hours and it was getting dark and cold by the time we got back. It was quite the experience but we survived!

While we were wandering around getting directions I thought I would take a picture of this typical Russian sign.
In Russia, when the light turns green don't walk, Sprint!

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