Friday, October 6, 2017

Days 2-3 - Museums and Palaces

Our first day in St. Petersburg started with a great tour of the Winter Palace and The Hermitage Galleries.  We split uo into two smaller groups, esch with seperate art historian guides and were shown the important works of the museum. 

In additional to the magnificent architecture of Peter and Catherine the Great, we saw collections of da Vinci and Rembrsndt, some equistite artifacts, and a new exhibit of royal costumes. The highlight if the tour for me was Rembrsndt's "Ptodigsl Son," the Peacock Clock, and an amazing painting of St. Sebastian by Pietro Perugino

As a special thank you for an outstanding job building our entire Russian snd Trans Siberian itinerary, we invited our sgent Nastasha snd her daughter to join us for our time and activities in Petersburg. What a delight!

The Peterhof estate is outside of the city. In route we past President Putin's summer residence. 

The Peterhof palace is a baroque work of art with impressive gold leaf stucco and plaster adornments EVERYWHERE!  The gardens and fountains were outstanding. 

It was our first day out as a group, with many new club members, and everyone seemed to enjoy the day. We had a lovely family dinner in the hotel and a well-deserved rest. Tomorrow would be big day. 

We enjoyed a casual morning and then departed for Catherine the Great's palace in Pushkin. The drive took us outside of the city past huge new urban apartment developments and shopping complexes.  It looked as if we were back in China in the middle of their urban exoansion. 

The village of Pushkin, home to the famous and reveted Russian author was quaint and small. Soviet petiod block buildings mixed with wooden homes from the 18th and 19th centuries. 

The Palace of Catherine the Great was a magnificently testored overly baroque experience. Kgs of gold leaf at every blink of the eye. 

The Amber Room was stunning, coveted floor to criling with Baltic amber. Tons of it. 

From thete wr enjoyed s borstch lunch and then back into the city to virw two magnificent churches...thr absolute highlight for the dsy. The Church of spilled blood and its mosaics were unbelievable. Literasly every inch a miniture glass tile mosaic. 

The architecture of St. Ivan's Cathedral was equally stunning. 

The malachite pillared altar was inspiring. 

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