Super Saint Pete

Trip Start Dec 21, 2012
Trip End Jul 20, 2013

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Flag of Russia  , North-West Russia,
Thursday, July 18, 2013

Their is only so much you can say about St Petersburg before you run out of superlatives. Sometimes called the Venice of the North due to its canals and street into courtyard layout it is full of Palaces and opulent merchants houses. Most of it was constructed in our Georgian and early Victorian periods, mixed with Neoclassicism with a fair dollop of Art Nouveau and is truly breath taking. 
We took a Walking tour with a  local guide who told us about the history as we visited various parts on the old city. Not so old actually, the city was only founded just over 300 years ago and has been occupied by every ethnic group in the area including becoming the Imperial capital before it moved to Moscow. Our guide also told us about the siege during the second world war of what was then Leningrad (St Petersburg by another name) which lasted 872 days and killed over a million people.
The highlight was definitely the State Hermitage Museum housed in the old Imperial Summer Palace. It isn't just Russian artefacts both Imperial and Church but it houses collections from Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Mongolian, Tibetan, Indian and far eastern cultures as well as paintings by Da Vinci, Gainsborough, Van Gough, Picasso to only mention a few. We spent 5 hours in the museum and it felt like an hour simply the best museum we have ever been to.
That evening it was time for our last dinner with the group and it was with the usual mix of happiness and sadness that it was all over. Another really amazing bunch to travel with and led by a more than capable CEO Mark. Leaving for the airport at 12:00 on Saturday with much to think about which we will wrap up when we get back to sunny Orpington.
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