St. Petersburg-overwhelming & its just the suburbs

Trip Start Jun 03, 2010
Trip End Jul 02, 2010

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Norwegian "Sun" cruise ship

Flag of Russia  , Sankt-Peterburg,
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday, June 10  St. Petersburg, Russia

Ok, I know all of you are frightened that I am going to give you a history of St. Petersburg, well don't worry because I’m not.   I’m going to give you my impressions and sometimes Sam and Danielle’s impressions too.

First off today was a very long day mostly in the suburbs of  St. Petersburg  and some of what we saw was amazing while some of what we saw was depressing.  A little history to start with, St. Petersburg was once a marsh and in order to fill it in every citizen was taxed one stone.  Some of those stones are still driven and walked on to this day.  I wish US taxes were paid in stones.

We started our day with a quick sightseeing tour of downtown St. Petersburg.  I saw the Hermitage for the first time; it was AMAZING and HUGE.  We only passed the Hermitage but we get to visit it tomorrow, I am very excited.  Anyhow we made a quick stop for a couple of photo ops and then it was out to the suburb of Peterhof.

Peterhof palace—Peter the Great loved fountains.  We saw fountains that looked like the sun and like a mushroom.  We also saw a cascade fountain which looked like a giant checkerboard and another fountain depicted Samson killing a sea lion, really representing Peter the Great defeating the Swedish navy.  The fountains come on at 11:00am to music, we arrived at the palace just before eleven and were able to and   watch the fountains come on and it was awesome.  The fountains came on one by one and with the palace behind the main fountains it was a majestic sight.  One other fascinating fact is all of the fountains are operated by gravity, no electricity is used at all.  We strolled the grounds of the palace seeing only a few of the 147 fountains Peter the Great had built. 
We weren't able to go inside the palace at Peterhof but it was huge on the outside.  Instead of the palace we were able to visit the home where Peter the Great stayed while the palace was being built.  His home was large for just one man and it was beautifully furnished.  Most of the furnishing are reproductions because during WWII almost everything in the St. Petersburg area was looted by the Nazi's and what was left after them the Soviet Union nationalized for themselves.   The original fireplaces were made from porcelain imported from Holland and were used to heat the home all of the palaces we will see during our visit to St. Petersburg had similar fireplace/heating features. The hallways and interior rooms were beautiful from the floors to the ceilings it was breath taking to look at.

While we were at Peterhof we stopped for some soft serve ice cream and it was to die for, Sam who did not want any took one lick of mine and that was the last I saw of it.  It was probably unhealthy for me anyhow so Sam was really just looking out for me, yea right.

Overall our first morning in Russia was great and the weather cooperated even if it was a little cool the afternoon looks to warm up with lots of sunshine.  So for now luv to all Ann, Sam, and Danielle
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