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canada goose clearance sale Tourists shoot pictures in front of the iconic Brandenburg Gate, a major Berlin landmark. (Wolfgang Kumm/Picture Alliance/Deutsche Press Agentur via Associated Press ) canada goose clearance sale

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uk canada goose Thanks to cultural insights gleaned in Germany’s stately gem of a capital, and in Russia’s glittering «second city,» with its ornate czarist palaces filled with artistic treasures, we returned to the United States feeling far more knowledgeable about the country that Winston Churchill famously called «a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.» For this, we also give a nod to our local tour guides as well as the ship’s lecturers. uk canada goose

Canada Goose Parka Nighttime near St. Petersburg’s Peter and Paul Cathedral. (Olga Maltseva/Agence France Presse via Getty Images) Canada Goose Parka

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canada goose uk black friday Whatever new impressions we got about Russian politics and history, though, were dwarfed by the impact of the masterpieces on display in the museums and palaces. They are one and the same in the case of the sprawling, pastel tinted Hermitage that stretches in a seemingly endless series of connected buildings along the Neva River embankment. Its core is the Winter Palace, with its high ceilings and lavishly gilded arched walls, where Catherine the Great began collecting matchless European works around 1762. Almost as astounding, though: how a Soviet state built on hatred of czarist excesses had devoted itself to preserving the treasures those rulers had accumulated on the backs of peasants mired in poverty. (The simplest explanation we got: Even the communists prized the centuries old cultural heritage of Mother Russia.) canada goose uk black friday

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buy canada goose jacket cheap Our first stop after embarking from Copenhagen, Warnemunde, was a town unfamiliar to me because it lies on Germany’s eastern coast: the «wrong» side of the partition created by the Soviets, the United States and other allies after World War II. During my Army years, I had traveled around Europe but never imagined entering East Germany. Now, Eileen and I were eager for our first look at Berlin, a 90 minute ride from Warnemunde on the bus that would also serve for our tour, led by Konstanze, a Berlin based guide who joined us in the city. The excursion we had chosen onboard canada goose coats on sale focused on the once divided city’s moves toward reunification at the end of 1989, and the Berlin Wall’s fall, after which the Soviet Union soon dissolved. buy canada goose jacket cheap

canadian goose jacket View of Berlin’s landmark Canada Goose Outlet Brandenburg Gate on the Pariser Platz as the sun sets. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images) canadian goose jacket

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canada goose uk outlet Their descriptions, it turned out, uniformly reflected weariness with government corruption, Vladimir Putin’s long tenure, effectively 15 years, and a lack of personal opportunity they perceived amid the country’s financial struggles. Still, that was mixed with appreciation for the very freedom to speak their minds in such a way these days. They also praised how Russia continues to preserve and to restore the treasures we were being shown. canada goose uk outlet

Canada Goose Coats On Sale The topic of restoration led to another theme one that touched on the Russians’ animosity toward their own, earlier occupiers: the Nazis. Restorers were the behind the scenes stars at two stunning palaces we visited outside the city’s perimeter: the Catherine Palace from 1717, with a Canada Goose Parka spectacular «amber room» decorated with the precious substance, and Peterhof from 1721, with terrace after terrace of glorious fountains. Both had been all but destroyed during the Siege of Leningrad, and palace displays featured shocking before andafter photos of the ruin at the hands of the Germans. Canada Goose Coats On Sale

canada goose factory sale We devoted a whole day to St. Petersburg’s Hermitage, the height of Russian opulence. Miraculously, it sustained little damage during the long German siege, through which Soviet defenders kept the enemy from breaking through at the city’s outskirts. As for attack from the air, our guide, Anna, proudly recounted how camouflaging the Hermitage had fooled German bombers an almost unbelievable achievement given its enormous frontage along the Neva. canada goose factory sale

buy canada goose jacket Workers reinstall the gilded bronze sculpture of double headed eagle, Russia’s state emblem, on a telegraph tower of the State Hermitage Museum in December 2014. (Dmitry Lovetsky/AP) buy canada goose jacket

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canada goose «Thinking about Catherine the Great acquiring these works of art, way before America even declared independence, reinforced how young our country is,» recalled canada goose coats fellow cruise passenger Jo Kirsch, a retired nursing professor who back home is a frequent visitor to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kirsch was especially moved by the Hermitage’s Rembrandt and Titian rooms, and its two da Vinci paintings (two more than the Met has). John Renninger, an adjunct New York University global affairs professor who had spent 30 years with the United Nations, deftly blended pessimism and optimism. He hung much of his talk on the presence of an unpredictable Putin. That fit in well with Churchill’s riddle mysteryenigma description of Russia, an assessment that had come in 1939, Renninger noted. That was when the Soviets signed a «nonaggression pact» with Germany that seemed to put the European communists and fascists on the same side. (The pact collapsed when Adolf Hitler broke his promise and invaded Russia leading, of course, to the Soviets joining the Allies and helping win the war.) canada goose

cheap Canada Goose Churchill’s full comment has this less familiar conclusion: «But perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.» The trick now for Eileen and me: using our newfound experience to help us understand what that might be. cheap Canada Goose

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