Saturday, November 14, 2009

Estonia Trip to Renew Visas

Here are pictures from our day in Narva, Estonia Monday November 9. We needed to go there to renew our visas with 4 elders. We need to leave Russia every 90 days to renew our visas.

We arrived at 6:30 a.m. It was very very cold. None of the stores open up until 10 a.m. so we walked around a little bit in the dark and went to a convenience gas station/store and picked up juice and the elders picked up breakfast. We were walking around a bit more trying to stay warm. Elder Croskrey didn't have a hat so I loaned him my knitted ear muffs (hence the photo next to the McDonald's sign). He was very grateful (and cute looking!) Such a good sport.
Elder Wignall called the two missionaries serving in Narva and they told us to come over to get out of the cold. We stayed at their place until 10 a.m. and went to the stores to shop. We ended up having very yummy pizza for lunch.

The statue you see is of Lenin. Apparently their is suppose to be a Lenin statue in every city in Russia. Not sure on that fact. This statue was inside the castle courtyard.

Note of interest: The fort was built in the 1300s.

There is one photo that you will see that looks like a wooden box, the photo next to it is what you see when you open the lid - down to the ground below - this was the toilet the soldiers used. Hope no one was on the ground underneath when someone was going...

There is a picture of a semi-truck and other cars in a line up. This is the border crossing going back into Russia. Very small compared to the Peace Arch or Truck Crossing in Blaine!

The photos that are overlooking Russia and Narva were taken on the highest peak inside the castle. The photo of a fort from this vantage point is the fort on the Russian side of the river that separates Russia and Estonia.

Narva is a tiny town, but seemed more modern. There was a store we went to that had quite a few American made food items. It felt a bit like a Safeway. Very nice. I even found a rubber spatula! I could not find a rubber spatula in St. Petersburg. Funny how even the little things in our daily lives become important - even a rubber spatula.

Fortunately there was no problem in obtaining our new visas and when our courier arrived with them at 3:30 p.m. we walked back across the border, filled out new immigration paperwork for Russia and got through just fine. Our 2 hour drive back to St. Petersburg went well also.

It was nice to travel the country side. It looked just like Whatcom County. There are individuals homes as well - no apartments. As you can see from some of the pictures it looks a lot like Whatcom County. But much much colder. Although the weather currently is in the low 30s the humidity makes it feel much colder.

It has been snowing here in St. Petersburg everyday since Tuesday. Everyone tells us it will continue to layer up in snow with snow and sand and start to melt in April. Tuesday afternoon as we look at our apartment windows we saw the largest snowflakes we have ever seen in our lives. Jeanie commented that the Angels must be having a pillow fight because they were as large as feathers. That snowfall left 2 inches of snow. It seems only a week ago that we could look out a window and see the changing of the colors in the trees but almost overnight those trees are now bare of leaves and the roads and sidewalks are covered with ice. Speaking with the elders here they say that spring comes the same way. You wake up one morning and everything has suddenly turned green.

Enjoy the pictures.

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