Up at 6 am, breakfast at 8:30 and Tatiana arrived on the dot of 10 am. This morning we walked for about half an hour into the center of the old town to St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Along the way we spotted a MacDonald’s Restaurant and stopped to admire the original workshop of the Faberge Company. We also stopped in the Astor Hotel to admire the brass plates next to the elevators for each famous person who has stayed in the hotel. Musicians, famous political people from all over the world, including American Presidents.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral is the fourth largest in the world. It took many years to build and the gold dome has never needed repainting as the gold was pounded into the metal roof; but forty workman lost their lives doing the process as it involved mercury. The church is a museum now and only a small chapel is reserved for regular services. But, for special events they will close it as a museum and open the church for services; because everyone stands the building will hold at least 5,000 people. Many types of marble are used in the building and many of the oil paintings have been replaced with mosaics. We saw the deep red Russian marble that is used for the floor of the main sanctuary. This same marble was used for the Tomb of Napoleon. So the Russians not only beat him at war…they have covered him for eternity. Per Tatiana!
We continued walking after leaving the Cathedral to view the massive brass statute “Brass Horseman” of Peter the Great with both hoofs up in the air. It is mounted on top of a huge granite stone. Our walking tour ended about half past noon when George picked us up in the car and we headed back to Peterhof. There we visited the “Cottage Palace”. The summer home of Queen Alexander that was built as a quiet place away from the royal duties where they enjoyed their family of ten children. It definitely has a woman’s touch and many
personal items. They were able to preserve these things during the occupation of WW II by quietly distributing them to the local people. After the war, they were returned. We were not allowed to take photos inside so only outside photos in the slideshow.
By 2:30 pm we were famished and took a break for an early dinner; we drove back towards St. Petersburg and stopped about 3 pm at a local restaurant famous for authentic Russian food called Podvorie. There were about five courses including dessert! Ate nearly all of it before driving over to our last stop for the day: Catherine Palace and gardens.
This is a monster of a palace and houses the famous “Amber Room”. In the slideshow I’ve also got some photos of photos showing the massive destruction during WW II. There are extensive grounds with lakes, plus many building for the enjoyment of the Royal Family and court.
Soon it was 6:30 and we were back in the car and headed for St. Petersburg about half an hour away and our hotel. By 7:30 pm we were tucked in for the night and watching the news of fires in California. Weather is still good but anticipate rain possibly tomorrow.
I’ve been asked about the countryside. Much of it looks like any big city in America. But in the area where the huge farms used to be…there are barren fields as very little farming is done any more. Most people have small country homes where the Grandparents take the children during the school vacations as both parents generally hold jobs. Large highways have extensive lighting because of the many hours of darkness during the winter months. Russia has a solid economy, homes are generally cash transactions so no defaults on loans or foreclosures. Most of the many automobiles on the highways are new. I’ve not seen any “cameras” mounted on windshields that take those crazy videos on You Tube. It’s been a wonderful place to visit.
I'm having trouble posting the slideshow...working on it...sorry.