Memories: Iron Courtesy

I remember crossing the border in the middle of the night at Narva. The border post felt like out of a cold war novel: Barbed wire, dogs, sub machine guns and guards, uniformed in heavy coats, with frozen faces. We followed the only road, drove a couple of extra miles by avoiding the potholes. Then the road widened, added a few lanes and was whole again. In front of us floated St. Petersburg between a vast sky and the sea.

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I remember the bridges …

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… the streets …

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… and the waterfront.

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I remember the churches. Some with simple crosses …

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… some with more complex ones.

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I remember a feeling of vastness, knowing that I walked in the biggest country on Earth.

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I remember going to the museum …

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… strolling through an endless succession of halls …

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… passing through doors …

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… into one hall …

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… after the other …

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… filled with splendor.

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I remember the graves, …

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… a flame burning.

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I remember a more rugged side …

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… dark and cracked.

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I remember people dealing with the rain, …

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… putting on a fresh coat of paint, …

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… celebrating, …

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… and dreaming.

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