Tag Archives: winter palace

Day 2, The Countryside of St. Petersburg

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Gates of the Summer Palace in St. Petersburg

Gates of the Summer Palace in St. Petersburg

We eagerly passed through customs, and because we  had cleared customs the day before, we didn’t have to do that again. We only had to  find our tour bus.  The same guide was with us both days, and this we were grateful for, but as the morning passed, I realized how much we were being told that wasn’t exactly as we knew it., or at least as we thought we knew it!  For instance, and this is where I got a little skeptical….Our tour guide was telling us how mild the winters in Russia were, particularly in that one place where individuals who had been criminalized  were imprisoned…..

You guessed it…..Siberia!   When we were told that, my radar surfaced, and all of a sudden I was interested in every tidbit of information I could get,  even more than before.  Siberia,  really?  They have beautiful, mild winters!  Are you kidding me?  Not one of us questioned this statement, but we all knew that people were sent to Siberia to suffer, and die.  I think the information we received on the museums, and palaces were correct, but this one statement made me realize that not everything we are told by our tour guide, can be believed.   I think this may be true anywhere, anyplace.

On the grounds of the Summer Palace

On the grounds of the Summer Palace

The summer palace was every bit as opulent as the winter palace, with acres and acres of beautiful parks, and ponds, statues, and gilded gates.  Everything was incredible, and interesting beyond belief.

The gardens at the rear of the Summer Palace

The gardens at the rear of the Summer Palace

Again we toured the country side, and the city to get where we needed to go.  But we were all interested in everything we could learn about what I would consider this mysterious country.  I guess I hadn’t stopped to think about what Russia would look like.

One of Catherine the Great's gowns

One of Catherine the Great’s gowns

This is one of the gowns worn by Catherine the Great.  On the sides, inside the gown were small boxes.  These boxes were called flea boxes because the fleas from the dress, and the wig would make their way to the sweets hidden inside the boxes.  Remember they didn’t clean their clothes, or wigs like we do today.  Can you even imagine having fleas?  I can’t even stand it when I find a flea on our cat or dog.  We don’t have any lousy fleas in our household!

After we toured the summer palace, Les and I sat on a bench, under a shade tree  in the garden to rest. As we sat there I noticed lots of cats around the palace.  This we were told was to rid the grounds of rodents, OK that I could believe.  I watched one cat, who was particularity lazy, & most probably well fed, watch a pigeon. His interest was not of a cat who needed a meal, but one of a cat mildly intrigued with a bird.  The pigeon was not one bit worried about this cat, although as you can see, he did keep an eye on him!

Russian Pigeon

Russian Pigeon

Thank you for reading my post about the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg Russia.  Next week I will post once more on the end of our second day.  This will be the trip from the country through the city, and back to our ship.

First Day in St. Petersburg, Russia

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Russian Orthodox Cathedral, St. Petertsburg

Russian Orthodox Cathedral, St. Petersburg

After cruising all night on the sea of glass, our next destination after Finland, was St Petersburg.  Everyone was excited, and not one of us knew what to expect.  We all stood silently in line to clear customs as we entered Russia.

The customs agents were stone, cold sober.  Not a smile!  But they weren’t threatening either, they were just doing their jobs, and doing it seriously.  I find our own customs agents are sometimes much the same way.

Mural on the Celing of the Hermitage Museum, Russia

Mural on the Celing of the Hermitage Museum, Russia

After clearing customs, we proceeded to our designated tour busses, and there we met our guide.  She was very friendly, and helpful, answered questions, and took us on the most incredible journey through the city of St. Petersburg.

Van Gough at the Hermitage Museum

Van Gough at the Hermitage Museum

The bus trip started with the Hermitage Museum.  The lines were long even though it was mid-morning,  the artwork was beyond imagination.  Much of the museum was gilded in gold, and we would later realize that much of Russia is also gilded in gold!  There was a great deal of up the stairs, down the stairs, waiting in line to go into another part of this gigantic museum.  Without any air-conditioning, this huge building was stuffy, and  hot.  Occasionally there would be a window open for some circulation, but not often enough, and certainly not enough circulation for the amount of people.  We were allowed to take pictures in most parts of the museum, that really surprised me.  Some turned out pretty well, some were too dark to keep.

Inside the winter palace

Inside the winter palace

From there we toured the city, and as we were touring we realized that never once did we see an ambulance, or even a police car.  The city seemed void of any kind of law enforcement.  Later the next day, we did actually spot a police car but it was not engaged in any activity, just driving along the road.

The first day was devoted to sightseeing, the museum, and seeing the winter  palace.

During the Second World War, after taking much of the artwork out, the Nazis bombed almost all of the palace  Everything has been recreated based on pictures, and remnants of wallpaper, gilding, floors, etc.  The green foil is a recreation as well, based on green foil found in the palace after the war.

The green room in the winter palace.

The green room in the winter palace.

One of many dining rooms in the winter palace.

One of many dining rooms in the winter palace.