"It was wrong, all wrong,"  I thought.

The outfits? Too Disney. The girl? Too much makeup. 

To top it off, if she were trying to portray a young Catherine the Great, with which this palace in Pushkin was usually associated, then she looked too Slavic to be Germanic. 

Indeed, her features were somewhat common, peasantly: she even had the famous Russian "duck nose," unlike the country's nobility, if physiognomic studies of portraiture were to be believed.

And what were they dancing, anyway? Mazurka? The Polonaise? Was this, at least, historically accurate? The latter, of course, was a sign of my own ignorance, but who'd want to admit that

There was something about the Rococo spirit of this place itself that made me feel rather haughty (more so than usual!). "Well, at least the lighting is nice," I finally admitted.

Farewell to Slavianka

June 7, 2013. It's nearly 11 o'clock at night, but completely light outside.

White nights in the St. Petersburg area. 

We are leaving Catherine's Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, having been wined and entertained (as I wrote earlier ) by a classical concert and a petite lady in red making an occasional appearance--and the walls of the great palatial hall shake with her operatic shrieks competing with a nightingale. 

Like this

It's always the tiny ones, isn't it? 


As I walk toward the gate, I am using my telephoto lens to shoot closeups of imperial heraldry over the palace with the dual-headed eagle and the black-gold-and-white flag.

Then I hear it. One of my favorite military marches!

The trumpeters who greeted us as we entered are now saying "goodbye" with, well, Farewell to Slavianka. The latter is an imperial-turned-Soviet march that now exists in numerous instrumental, vocal, and lyrical varieties. 

So when you look at the image below, this is what you should hear. Well, perhaps, you should envision a tank, too. And a bear, to make it extra-Russian!