Sunday, August 11, 2013

St. Petersburg Church of the Spilled Blood...

We had a bit of a problem this morning; we found out that one of our credit cards was part of a mass problem and they reissued all of them.  But…we’re not home to receive the new card!  So we’ll have to do without the use of that card after twenty days.  They would mail us a new one but since we’re moving frequently that is a bit of a problem.  Oh well…we never travel with only one card and this proves the wisdom of that rule.   Tatiana had to wait for half an hour while we ironed out the problems on the phone; so we lost half an hour and that messed up our schedule a bit but we still got everything done from 10:30 am to 7 pm.  

The rain finally arrived and we were walking most of the day in rain with our umbrellas.  Our first stop; an easy walk from the hotel, was the Church of the Spilled Blood.  So named as the Tsar Alexander II was killed on this spot and they built a church to commemorate his death.  It is also known as the Church of the Resurrection.  He was the one who abolished slavery and was very 

popular among the poor; but also hated by many.   Their slaves were poor peasants and were bought and sold as property.  This church has five onion domes on top representing Christ and the four apostles who wrote the gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  It is a stunning church and has many stories of why is was not destroyed by the Soviet government…many could be called miracles.   It was used to store vegetables after the revolution.  The walls are covered by mosaics.  Stunning!

Then we walked to the Russian Museum that houses the art treasurers of the nation.   Tatiana took us from room to room explaining about the best of the best; but also stopped and included history on ones we asked about.  One of the most interesting was a bust of Tsar Paul, his face was asymmetrical… it looked completed different from each side.  I have the photos in the slide show. 

 By 2 pm we were out the door in the rain and headed towards the Metro System.
Built in 1955 by the Soviets, it has marble walls and granite floors.  Beautifully decorated and was a showcase for Stalin.  It is buried deep underground and you are on the escalators so long that no one tries to walk past you.  There are three of them and each will run in both directions so that there are ALWAYS two of them working.  A guard sits in a hut at the top to make sure that any problems are immediately solved.   We rode to different lines and stations and enjoyed seeing the different decors in each station. 

About 3:30 pm we finished the Metro System, purchased a candy bar for nourishment and jumped on a bus as it was still raining.  We only went a short distance to the private apartments of Rimsky Korsakov, a famous Russian Composer.  The apartment is now a museum for him.  Weekly they have various musicians perform classical music in a salon and we were fortunate enough to enjoy one starting at 4 pm.  The program lasted an hour and fifteen minutes.  We had the Four Seasons and other pieces played on two very different instruments that complimented each other. 
Tatiana met us after the performance with George and the car.  For the next couple of hours we visited by car some of the final sites on our tour.  We saw the outside of St. Nicolas of Sailors Cathedral, the Egyptian Sphinx and Chinese Foo Dogs that decorate some of the landings along the 
Neva River.  We drove to Smolny Cathedral on the outskirts of the city.  And finally to the Souvenir Shop for our special remembrance of our trip to Saint Petersburg…a tiny Faberge Egg.
Back at the hotel we said our goodbye to Tatiana.  She was truly a treasure to have on this special journey.  She’s given us things to do tomorrow on our last day that are within easy walking distance.  We may do them and we may take a day to rest before leaving on Tuesday.  Our driver George will be back to take us to the airport for our flight to Berlin.

But for tonight we enjoyed a light dinner at the restaurant next to our hotel and then called it a night.
Again….if you can do slideshows…click on the photos below to go to the web page:

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