So how can you tell I liked Russia the best hey?  They just have so many neat things there.  Anyhow... I was impressed by the two monumental red painted columns in front of the Naval museum that symbolize the naval power of the Russian empire.  

They were built in the early 19th century as beacons.  They are situated on the Strelks (spit) on the eastern tip of Vasilievsky island.  At one time, (here where the River Neva splits in two - the Bolshaya Neva and the Malaya Neva), St. Petersburg's main port was located.  The Rostrad Columns were built as beacons to guide the ships around the two channels during St Petersburg's long dark nights. 
Internet photo Rostrad Columns

The architect decided to build the towers in the style of Roman rostral columns - victory columns on which the prows (rostra) of captured enemy ships were mounted.  The Latin word for a ship's beak is Rostrum

At the base of the columns sit statues of four allegorical figures representing four of Russia's major rivers - the Volga and Dnieper at the northern column, and the Neva and Volkhov at the southern column. The massive 32-meter-high Doric columns are decorated with sculptures of naiads, sea creatures and anchors. The large bowls at the top of the columns were originally designed to hold hemp oil for burning. Later, electric lamps were installed as beacons, but this soon became too expensive. In 1957, the Rostral Columns were connected to the gas supply and now, on holidays such as the City Anniversary, Victory Day and New Year, the columns are topped with seven-meter-high tongues of flame.  Actually, I just realized we were lucky to see them lit - and they were, only because it was the City's birthday. 

My pic isn't really doing it justice... here's a nice photo off the internet to show you how beautiful they are.
Internet photo Rostrad Columns


I didn't go down to see the little mermaid (den lille havfrue) but the kids did - so this is their pic.  We were docked quite a ways away, so it just wasn't on my list for that day.  People are often surprised that its so small.  It is only 1.25 metres tall.  It's the LITTLE mermaid people - get over it!

Its based on the fairy tale of the same name by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.  It was made in 1913.  Didn't realize she was so old.  It was a gift to the City of Copenhagen from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen.  The ballerina Ellen Price was asked to model for the bronze and granite statue, and the face is hers, but she would not agree to model in the nude, so the body is that of the sculptor's wife Eline Eriksen.  

The statue has been damaged and defaced many times and has always been restored.  And geeze when they vandalize a statue down there they mean business - her head was sawn off and stolen, her arm was sawn off and she has a gash in the neck from a further beheading attempt.  Sheesh.  Then on more separate occasions she was decapitated again, knocked off her base with explosives, draped in a burqa, had a dildo attached to her hand,and had paint poured on her many many times for many many causes.


Carpe diem (seize the day)
Carpe noctem (seize the night)
Carpe vinum (seize the wine)