Thursday 10 May 2012

Perfection in Petersburg,

Palaces, Paintings, People.

There is no question that everyone was enthusiastic to see as much as possible of this special Russian city.

Yesterday, the Canals, Fortress , Monastery and Smolny. Today many more of the highlights of art and architecture.

The clear view of the dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral is poor preparation for seeing the scale of the building from ground level. Ceramic domes at the memorial Church of the Spilled Blood sparkled in sunshine.

At the Hermitage (starting pre public opening hours) we saw not only the art filled interiors of the Winter Palace but also the precious treasure and fine gems of the Gold Room. “Everyday Life in St. Petersburg” led passengers to explore the deepest underground rail system in the world. The Metro Plans were drawn up in 1899 - a very different era to that in which it finally opened in 1955.

There was also the great option of a full day expedition out of the city centre to Tsarskoe Selo on the Gulf of Finland taking in both the dramatic Catherine Palace, so often referred to as the “Russian Versailles” and the grounds of Peterhof.

With a Wedding Palace close to the ship it was no surprise to see bride and groom posing with historic backdrops. The mansions along the English Embankment mooring are less well known to visitors, but like the Palaces, each has a story to be told. No wonder that this is a popular place for locals to stroll.

Surprised by warm temperatures over the last couple of days, guests are cooling down watching ice carving tonight as we head off out into the Baltic once more.