This weekend we went to St. Petersburg!
IT IS THE BEST CITY EVER! at 11pm on Friday we boarded our over night train from Moscow. At 7am we were off the train and starting our crazy two day adventure! We immediately started a bus tour of the city, driving past large statues, giant cathedrals and too many palaces to count. one of my favorite sites in the city on this tour was St. Petersburg State University. It is not far from the Hermitage or the Fortress of St. Peter and Paul and all the buildings are nearly 250 years old. It felt like a small village square. It was just wonderful.
By the way: I will post all the pictures from my trip as soon as possible. I just have to find a way to get them from my camera to the computer!
After the best and cheapest lunch of my entire Russian journey so far (320 Rubles for Borscht, a salmon sandwich and a Coca-Cola, around $11) we visited the Hermitage. Hermitage is a Russian word meaning “Hermit’s Dwelling.” The vast art collection inside all started when one magnificent lady, Catherine the Great SIDE NOTE: she and Michelle Obama share the same place in my heart–just imagine how excited I was there and by her giant statues!! Anyway, she started purchasing vast works of art and placing them in a private collection in a building now known as the Small Hermitage. She would spend her private time there and sometimes invite her very close friends. since then the museum has taken over four buildings including The Winter Palace-the official residence of the tsars of Russia from Peter the Great until Nicholas II.
Everything inside is GLORIOUS! the architecture and design is just magnificent! basically everything is covered in Gold leaf. I saw the most amazing mirror inside! just amazing.
After the Palace we had free time in the city so we went to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. It is built on the spot where Alexander II or Alexander the Liberator was assassinated in 1881. EVERY inch of the interior is painted with some sort of mosaic. It is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever been to!
We had dinner at a very good Georgian restaurant and then after a night in the hostel we woke up early to go to Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin. I was thinking nothing could be greater than the Hermitage and then we walked up to the most beautiful structure I have ever seen! The palace was built for Peter the Great’s second wife Catherine I and decorated both in a baroque-esque style and a Neo-Classical style…because Catherine II (the great) hated the gaudiness of the Baroque gold leaf.
We visited Alexander’s Palace, nearby to Catherine’s which was the final residence of Nicholas II and his family after he abdicated the thrown to the Bolsheviks. It was also a command point for the Nazi army after they seized the small town while they were trying to take over Leningrad. It was also the sight of a mass execution of 800 Jews in September 1941.
Other highlights of the trip to St. Petersburg: Visiting the Fotress of St. Peter and Paul, the cathedral inside is the final resting place of the tsars and grand dukes and duchesses of Russia including Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and as of 1998, Nicholas II and his family. St. Michael’s Palace-the place where Paul I was assassinated. AND THE CHOCOLATE MUSEUM!
I know that description is long but the weekend was amazing! there is really so much more I could tell but then I wouldn’t get any sleep tonight!