Wednesday, October 8, 2008

St. Petersburg, Russia

Our next port of call was 2 days in St. Petersburg, Russia. This was a long awaited visit for us as my husband & I had planned to go to Russia for our honeymoon in 1991. It was obviously put off because of the turmoil in Russia at that time.

Russia is an unique place. For example, you are not allowed to wander on your own. You actually could not leave the ship unless you had a Visa or were on a scheduled tour. Not a place I'd like to wander on my own anyway!

Our first day we book an all day tour of the city with several stops along the way. I must admit it was nothing like I expected. It is a city of canals, many palaces, churches with onion spires, and lots of large columned colorful buildings.

Our first stop was a 2 hour visit to Peterhof Palace was was built for Peter The Great. It was very reminiscent of Versailles in France, with many fountains and gardens as well. We visited around a dozen or so rooms-some with original items such as china in the dining room, but many were "reconstructed". Nearly every room had a large delft stove for warmth. There was one room with hundreds of paintings of women.
Unfortunately, they charge you (a lot!)to take photos inside--so you'll have to do with my descriptions.

After a hydrofoil ride to the center of the city, we had an outside photo stop at St. Isaac's Church which is the largest church in Russia.

After lunch we were able to visit The Church On The Spilled Blood which was built by Alexander III as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. The outside as well as the inside are covered with mosaics, including up into the domes. Every wall, window & ceiling were covered, and it was most impressive!

Stay tuned for part 2 of St. Petersburg.

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