We took an overnight
train 650 Km.
from Moscow to Saint Petersburg
arriving at about 8:00 in the morning. We were traveling with
other couples from the US Embassy in Moscow. Our
driver met us at the station and we took a driving tour of the city to
start to get oriented and then checked in at our hotel, the Arbat
The next day we visited Peter the Great's summer
palace, Peterhof, outside the city. Throughout the grounds
fountains, four cascades, majestic palaces, and numerous
statues of ancient gods and heroes. The palace was decimated
during World War II but has been restored in recent years.
Everywhere you look there is gold.
All the museums and
palaces that we
remarkable displays. If it isn't gold it's other
Here are vases of malachite, lapis lazuli, jasper, columns of malachite
and lapis and an array of other minerals
carefully formed into an inlayed tabletop.
Ken, Denise and Nancy
had to try
these 300 year old chairs that were on display. Yes, it was
OK. There were women watching in every room to be sure that
didn't touch or even photograph anything we weren't allowed to.
One of the ballrooms in
palace, another of the places we visited.
Catherine the Great happened to notice a tourist smoking outside the
Summer Palace. She didn't look pleased.
tables. The first
decorated with cross-stitch, the
second made of malachite, and the last inlayed with many different
Elaborate parquet floors
everywhere. They were made with
exotic woods with natural colors ranging from cream, white, black, and
yellow to blue and purple.
We visited several
this one famous for the bakery that the priests ran. The
We visited Saint
Nicholas church on
his feast day. As you might
expect, celebrants filled it waiting for the patriarch for the region.
We were just leaving as
arrived. Dale got this picture as he (the patriarch not Dale) was escorted
The Ethnography Museum
It displays some artifacts and clothing of the 150 peoples of
Russia. Because it extends from the Pacific ocean to the
sea and from the Arctic to the countries of southern Asia there is a
lot of cultural diversity represented.
Elaborate embroidery, a fish skin rain jacket, a saddle for a horse or
maybe a camel, vessels for fermenting milk and grape juice were a few
of the displays. The sleigh would have been pulled by three
horses. The music of many of the groups was represented as
with a display showing how bells were crafted and an instrument that I
had never seen before; a 3 stringed, hand cranked, keyed
The young ladies were visiting the museum as well and took the
opportunity to practice their English (their pronunciation was
excellent). I demonstrated some magic tricks that they seemed
No, not one of our group.
It was the name of the
where we had lunch one day. It was reportedly one of the
of Fyodor Dostoevsky who lived and wrote near here and the restaurant
takes its name from what is considered to be one of his greatest works.
The Peter and Paul
Fortress was built
on an island at the mouth of the Neva river to defend the area from an
attack by Swedish forces. It is now a museum. A
was playing some classic russian songs and of course we bought one of
the CDs he had for sale.
Each of the bridges in
is decorated in its own unique way. This Egyptian figure is
example. It certainly makes it easy to recognize whether or
you have come this way before.
St. Isaac's Cathedral
granite columns and a magnificent
gilded dome more than 100 meters high. Looking straight up at
dome you can see a silver bronze dove with a wingspan of 6
meters. The columns and walls of the cathedral show
from shelling during World War II. A circular staircase
you to the upper colonnade where you can look out across the city.
Church of the Spilled Blood. It was built
on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was murdered. A
official name is
Church of the
Resurrection of Jesus Christ. During
the Communist era when many of the tsarist churches were
or destroyed this one was much less damaged because it honored the
"good tsar" who had freed the surfs, very much in line with Communist
ideals. However they didn't maintain it as a
church. It was
used as a warehouse for vegetables which gives it another nickname,
"The Potato Church".
We picked up some souvenirs at a kiosk across the street.
We saw this unmistakable
as we walked along a street that ended with a sharp turn at one of the
many canals that this Russian Venice is famous for.
You can't go to Russia
to the ballet. We were fortunate to see a presentation of
Lake. The gold decorations in the theater were impressive as
the carvings in this room.
As we left the theater
at about 11:30
PM we got a little taste of the "white nights" that Saint Petersburg is
famous for. We were nearly a month early to see the full
but it really brought home just how far north we were.
Here are some dachas
that we saw from
the train as we traveled back
to Moscow. Often they are a small cabin without
running water but they are a place to vacation and to grow flowers or
I have seen
the statistic that nearly 30% of Russian
families have dachas.
More of our trip to Russia Mendeleev's
laboratory, and Moscow
See other places we have visited here.
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