Friday 17 May 2013

с прие́здом!

Welcome! Welcome to Russia, to Saint Petersburg, to an ambience packed with history!

Early this morning FRAM sailed into the Neva River to go alongside the English Embankment situated directly in the heart of the old city centre. Golden cupolas and pompous palaces gave us an idea of the splendor and luxury of previous times when St Petersburg was the home of tsars and centre of the Russian Empire.  

During the morning excursion we had the opportunity to explore the daily (modern) life of this busy metropolis. We started with a stop at one of the market halls, where we found sausages, meat, fish, vegetables or fruit from the area as well as from abroad. Really delicious are the Russian honey and the pickled vegetables, we could taste them all. After this visit we started the ride with the underground, founded in 1955. The underground, called metro is really deep, and therefore the escalators are unbelievably long and quite fast. Back on earth we walked from the Admiralty over the Palace Square to one of the former residences to have a cup of tea and eat some traditional Russian cake.

In the afternoon another excursion took us to the Peterhof Palace where we saw the splendid apartments of the 18th and 19th century. Afterwards we explored the huge beautiful garden with the famous fountains - unfortunately under the typical St Petersburg rain.

Wet was also the boat tour through the channels. It was a pity that the sun which had been with us since the beginning of our trip abandoned us today, but all the passengers took it with good humor. After cruising for one hour along monumental buildings, vividly described and explained by our tour guides, we took again the bus to proceed to the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. Here we saw the graves of the tsars and were offered a demonstration of a Russian a capella choir.

The day concluded with an unforgettable concert in our own Observation Lounge by the State Symphony Orchestra. This was not only a wonderful end to our first day in this amazing place, but also a perfect celebration of the Norwegian National Day!