Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Arriving in Russia~~~~~~~

Having transited the busy traffic lanes of the Gulf of Finland, passing in and out of Estonian, Finnish and Russian waters, Queen Victoria embarked the Russian pilots early morning and began the long pilotage into St. Petersburg. Arriving at 7 AM and with two overnights in port ahead, excitement was in the air. Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years, until the Russian Revolution of 1917. Peter's choice of site, though impractical in most respects, created one of Europe's most beautiful cities, a glittering court, and a great artistic heritage. The 1917 Revolution, the siege during WWII, and the collapse of soviet communism have each made their mark on the city.  Despite St. Petersburg's architectural and artistic glories, it is however not just a museum but a flourishing city.

It's impossible to share everything we saw in this amazing city, second largest in Russia,  Europe's fourth largest city after Moscow, Paris and London, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We booked a guided tour ahead of our cruise and, unless you plan to stay longer, it's the best way to go requiring no expensive individual Russian visa. Believe me, we must have had the best guide in St. Petersburg. Luba, a university professor, is so obviously in love with her adopted city (she was originally from a small Siberian town), and knew everything of the history which she shared in such a graceful way, and in perfect English, all of which made for two awesome days.

The weather cooperated for the most part - a little cloudy the first day whilst we were in the heart of the city, beautiful warm sunshine the next when we took boats trips on the river and out to Peterhof by hydrofoil.

So here goes ~ first pics of day one.

Crossing the Neva River - note horses in the ironwork of the bridge - St. Isaac's Cathedral dome.

The Hermitage - The Winter Palace

Our early entry into The Hermitage (guide Luba holding the tour sign) enabled us to escape 
the huge crowds coming later.

Housed in the stunning Winter Palace, The Hermitage Museum displays a fabulous
collection of art treasures and paintings from all over the world - in fact so
extensive a tourist can only glimpse a fraction of the 12 miles of corridors and exhibits.

Catherine the Great's Peacock Clock

A wee bit of chic but definitely not too shabby in it's heyday.

All this was just the beginning………and I believe we all shared the same thought after viewing 
such amazing palaces and their priceless contents, 'no wonder there was a revolution'


  1. Incredibly intricate design and just over-the-top splendor...a peacock clock? Amazing for you to see such things !

  2. When you think of Russia you don't think of beauty right off hand. But! So much beauty it is amazing. Thanks for taking us along.

  3. The architectural details are just as stunning as the artwork. My DIL had the same reaction when seeing Versailles - No wonder there was a revolution. I think the Russian class gap was larger than most. The colours of the buildings are amazing and would look stunning in winter with all the snow.

  4. I have a few relatives named Luba. I do think that if I can ever plan a trip that touches Russia this is the city I'd want to visit. Beautiful photos!

  5. Such amazing treasures to delight the eyes. The chandeliers really took my breath away. Just wow!

  6. Wonderfully amazing.....and I enjoyed every minute that I was there also. So much to see in such a short time but what an opportunity to be exposed to that art. I am forever grateful for my trip. Thanks for your beautiful photos.....you are just the best!
    Farm Gal in VA

  7. Hi Mary,

    How lucky we are to get to view such beautiful photos of your many different stops on your cruise, and today's destination, Russia is out of this world! Such luxury!! I love the bold colours and grand gorgeousness of it all!!

    Have a wonderful week!


  8. St. Petersburg is definitely on my list. It must just be dazzling by just the little peek through your camera.
    Lovely and I love that you had a knowledgeable tour guide. She sounds wonderful.

  9. It's so good to see these places maintained in their original beauty. I enjoyed every picture!

  10. Whew, finally getting caught up on your posts from the cruise! Beautiful photos -- hope to see the Russian architecture for myself one day. And a happy (belated) birthday to Grandpa! Lots of love to you both.

    xx Cassie

  11. Dear Mary,
    I lost count of the number of OMG's I uttered whilst reading this post. I have wanted to visit the Hermitage for a very long time but I don't think I ever will, thank you so much for sharing your trip with me. More please!

  12. That's the exact chandelier I've been looking for to hang in the hall Mary.

  13. Your comments at the end are so true! Gosh, what incredible opulence!


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