Catherine Palace and Nevskiy Prospekt

Trip Start May 09, 2013
Trip End Jun 15, 2013

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Flag of Russia  , Saint Petersburg,
Sunday, May 12, 2013

We had organised a local tour guide to take us to Catherine Palace today. We were extremely lucky and had the tour guide all to ourselves. The palace is outside St Petersburg in a town called Pushkin - named after Pushkin of course. Pushkin has lots of colourfully painted buildings and is what I imagined St Petersburg would look more like.

The palace is huge as are the gardens. You could spend all day just wandering the gardens. The palace is very opulent and decorated in gold everywhere. The gold you see in the photos is all real gold leaf. Sections of the palace were heavily damaged during WWII and have been restored to the same as before. That's why much of the gold is still so shiny.

There is one room we couldn't take photos in - the amber room. The room is decorated floor to ceiling in real amber. The amber colours varied from yellow to deep red. The original amber used to decorate the room was taken down during the war by the Nazi and it has never been found again. The new amber used to decorate the room was donated by Germany ( I think). The room now looks like it would have have looked when first decorated - it was definitely something special. The colours were amazing.

The gardens were nothing amazing and they weren't particularly colourful. St Petersburg is having a late spring and the leaves were literally budding on the trees the day we arrived. The weather has kindly warmed up for us and is around 19 degrees.

After the palace we went to St Nicholas church in St Petersburg. It is a working Russian Orthodox Church and is decorated with icons inside according to tradition. Most Russians are Orthodox with the next majority being Catholic and many other religions as well. I had never seen inside an Orthodox Church before so it was interesting to see. Their services go from 3-7 hours and no sitting is allowed ( except for the Tzar as we later found out at another church). There are no seats to be seen so its looks quite different to what I'm use to seeing in a church.

We asked our guide to drop us at one end of Nevskiy Prospekt - the main street in St Petersburg. Our hotel is at the other end of the street. It took us about 3 hours to get back to our hotel. The street is long but not 3 hours walking time. We stopped of at places along the way. We found a store that sells all kinds of delicacies and was known back in its owners time for the exotic food it sold and its fancy interiors. We stopped there for a hot chocolate and macaroon. We have found out since then that if you ask for a hot chocolate its a drink of real chocolate with a little bit of milk to give it a slightly runny consistency. Its like drinking a sauce - a very yummy chocolate sauce! We have had a few since then : ) Mum it's just like the one we had in Sprungli in Zurich. If you want what we would normally consider a hot chocolate you ask for a Kakoa drink.

The tour starts tonight with a drinks and dinner. Turns out the majority of the people on the tour are Australian.
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Kate on

Hi Amy & Belinda

Glad your trip is going well. The pictures look really good.

Jim on

Palace looks huge! Love the footwear for the palace, you could skate along from room to room. Great photos!

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