St. Petersburg

We arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia on June 25th and spent two days there. This was a repeat of our 2010 visit except that we had less time and saw fewer sites. On our first day, we had a quick photo op at the stunning Church of Spilled Blood and then toured Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. This is where most of Tsarist Russia’s Emperors and Empresses are buried — including both “Greats” (Peter and Catherine) and Nicholas II and his family. The exterior of the cathedral isn’t impressive, but the interior is a jaw-dropper. In the afternoon, we toured the Hermitage, which is home to one of the world’s greatest art collections.

On our second day, we were bused to Pushkin Town and toured the beautifully restored summer palace of Catherine the Great. Next we had a traditional Russian lunch at Pectopah Podvorye. Although it was very crowded and very touristy, it was fun, and I got to try Borsch for the first time ever. After lunch, we went to Peterhof on the Gulf of Finland, and toured the Palace of Peter the Great. Photos are not allowed inside, but, like Catherine’s palace, the interior is ornate and generously covered with gold leaf. We walked past the fountains and through the garden to the pier, where we boarded a hydrofoil for a very fast trip back to St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful and historic cities on the planet. If you can, go there.    

© Virginia E. Vail 2012