I’m currently sitting in the terminal waiting for our flight so what better time than now to blog post! I’m going to try to catch up as much as possible but we had a big day yesterday (aka…LOTS of photos & fun) so I’m not sure I’m going to make it. And also, my sincere apologies. I checked my guide book and my notes which are usually my savior for these blog posts so I’m going off memory instead, which explains why I refer to some memorials as “really cool thing” and “some dude’s statue”. I may fix it later but no promises.
Yesterday, our last day in St. Petersburg consisted of an uber touristic type of day. It started here:
On one of the many bridges in St. Petersburg. If you look across the river you can see the Peter and Paul Fortress, which is on an island and one of St. Petersburg’s oldest hoods. Here is the first really cool thing:
If I remember correctly, boats used to tie up here when they came in from the sea, but don’t quote me on that one. I just thought it was really cool. And here is our group on the bridge with our bus driver, Slava (sp?):
Our bus driver was awesome. Actually he was more than awesome, he was ridiculously awesome! Everywhere we went he had amazing comments on history and other interesting stories. Our entire group thoroughly enjoyed our time with him. He could also wield that bus around some of the tightest spots! Here’s to Slava!
We also saw a pink limo on the bridge:
It’s official, I’m moving to St. Pete’s. Any city with pink limos is my kind of city!
And here’s a shot of Stefan, Allie and Jacob on the bridge:
Our next tourist destination was the Peter and Paul Fortress, which is one of the oldest portions of the city. Here is a picture of the cathedral, which is very much unlike most Russian cathedrals:
We got to explore both the inside of the cathedral and the grounds inside and outside the fortress walls quite extensively. Also, this was the first time we were allowed to take pictures inside one o the Russian tourist spots. Before we move to the interior of the cathedral, here is a picture of John and I outside of it. He was complaining that I was the only one who hadn’t taken a picture with him so I HAD to do it. Just kidding, I was happy to take a picture with him:
Those are a couple of good looking people! So next up, our amazing tour guide Natasha took us through the inside of the cathedral. Like most cathedrals, the interior was absolutely breathtaking. This is what we walked into:
The art, architecture, and decorations were all so ornate and beautiful. I had a difficult time listening to our guide because I couldn’t stop staring up at the ceiling and the chandeliers. I’m a sucker for ornate buildings and the art/architecture usually distracts me. The cathedral is a very important one to Russia because it’s where many of the former Tsars are buried. Here is one tomb area with Peter the Great and his family:
The cathedral also holds the tomb of the Romanovs:
I had heard the story of the Romanovs before but after seeing this tomb and hearing the stories from Natasha I become very much interested in their story. John was telling us about many of the books about the Romanovs and I may have to pick one up. But after I thoroughly kick Colby’s butt in beating him in our Time’s top 100 books competition! Before we left the cathedral, we were treated to a concert by a group of monks:
All I have to say is chills! It was a stunning concert! So after the cathedral we were given some time to explore the grounds of the fortress. We went through the gates:
Which led to a beachy area:
This is a very popular place for the locals to go sun bathing in the warm weather. Some of our group went for a stroll along the water to “check out the scenery”. Here I am along the water, which is across from the Hermitage, a massive art museum and former winter palace:
Our next destination was the Church on Spilled Blood:
This is another one of those instances where I really can’t remember. This church was built as a memorial for someone but I do not recall who. We only made a quick photo stop here so we didn’t get to go inside. Here is my best shot of the cathedral:
The Hermitage is HUGE! It’s the former winter palace of Catherine the Great, who had an extensive art collection and most of the building was constructed to hold her private collection. Now, it’s one the largest art museum’s from collections all over the world including Dutch art, German art, French impressionist art and much more. We first got a tour of the winter palace. Below are a few of my favorite rooms including the throne room:
And a really amazing mosaic floor:
The view from the Hermitage was also amazing:
Ok…this post will have to be continued. I’m about to board! Wish me a great flight and I’ll hopefully finish this blog post from NYC in about 10 hours!