January 9, 2013
At the end of the summer Frank and I made our way to St Petersburg, Russia. I know, crazy, right? Agreed. Super crazy. Getting into the country was crazy enough, I was positive they were going to deport me and were sending evil spirits through their eyeballs because of how intense customs was. All the other countries we visited in the Baltics, we just walked right in. Not Russia. Russia was legit scary. And I’m positive I will never be allowed to be a spy because I have a Russia stamp in my passport – that is only a dream of mine now because of my new and recent obsession with Homeland. Anyway, Russia. We spent two days in St. Petersburg. It is crazy huge. And so depressing and dreary. Our tour guide, loved her so much, says that no one smiles in Russia and it was likely because of the weather. She did crack jokes about how she has umbrellas to match every outfit – but she said it so seriously it was hard to take it as a joke even though it was meant to be humorous.
The first place we went in Russia was Peterhof. It was gorgeous. I was very taken aback by some of the rooms we went in inside (that I was of course, not allowed to photograph) adorned in all gold and paintings that would cover the whole wall. It’s nicknamed the “Russian Versailles” and is located just outside of the city of St. Petersburg on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. The palace and it’s grounds have been named UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are among the most popular tourist attractions in St. Petersburg. The palace and the French-style gardens were initially designed by Peter the Great and subsequent generations have added additional fountains to the grounds. One of the most interesting facts about the elaborate display of fountains is that they are operated without pumps. Water from natural springs is collected in reservoirs on the upper level and the force of gravity creates the pressure necessary to operate the fountains on the lower level. How crazy is that??? Maybe you need to see how much water we are really talking about in person to marvel at it like I did.
After we had time to tour the whole gardens at Peterhof, we took a ride on a hydrofoil. I so wish I had a recording of our tour guide saying that word because it was so awesome to hear. And she said it about a million times that morning. Feel free to google hydrofoils because there is a lot of interesting info on them that I am not going to talk about here. But I will show you a picture!
We tried on Russian hats!!
This was pretty fascinating and I wish I had taken more photos of it. It is called The Church of Our Savior on Spill Blood and was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881 by a group of revolutionaries who threw a bomb at his royal carriage. Hence spilled blood. Get it?
Inside was even more incredible. The walls, the floors, the ceilings, were COVERED with mosaics. You thought they were paintings! I wasn’t supposed to take pictures unless I paid a stupid fee, but I did sneak one. And now I am probably going to spend my life in a Russian prison because I am showing it to you. It’s not exactly in focus but you can see what I mean about the mosaics! They were everywhere! And they just look like paintings if you didn’t get up close and see that they were little tiny tiles everywhere.
President Bush stayed here once. It is the Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria. Of course, when he stayed there, they rented all of the rooms out to him. So, he had the hotel to himself.
Only sunshine we saw!
I thought this was funny – I’m sure we were just getting refueled but with the security being what it was at the port, I’m sure this guy was there to make sure we didn’t escape!
We had two days in Russia but we knew that after a whole 13 hour day of touring that we were going to be tired so we just took a tour of the waterways the next time. I know they say Amsterdam is the Venice of the north but they also say the same about St. Petersburg. There were so many different canals and channels to float along.
I stupidly was messing with the settings on my point and shoot and a lot of these came out pixelated beyond repair.
Just some street shots for ya.
Russian sub….not scary at all…..
on any of these fine social media platforms…
I’m based in Maryland, DC and Northern VA but don’t worry, I LOVE to travel.
I love me a new passport stamp.