A. Day 7 - Day 2 in St.Petersburg (Matt's photos)

Trip Start May 15, 2009
Trip End May 29, 2009

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Flag of Russian Federation  , North-West Russia,
Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 2 of Grand Tour. Lots of traffic, so we were late to Peterhof Palace.  On the bright side, it gave Matt opportunity to snooze, which was helpful after two 5:30am starts in a row (after winding the clock forward).  The Palace had some nice rooms, but was not hugely impressive.  The unfortunate fact that much was destroyed in WW2 and reconstructed, and therefore not original, detracted.  There is also a limit to how much gold leaf can be used before it starts to look tacky - particularly without adequate light to make it shine.  We also didn't get to see much of the gardens due to lack of time.

After that we went to ????nov Palace, where Grigoriy Rasputin was executed.  It had some lovely decorated rooms.  Fatigue was starting to take its toll, as well as people continually getting in the way, and lunch couldn't come soon enough.

Lunch was at "The Academy".  It was nice - salad, soup, fish and potato, as well as champagne and vodka.  The restaurant was a quaint, traditional building.  There was a band, which were good, but their act involved the diners clacking weird Russian toys that sounded a lot like a locust plague, only louder.

After lunch we visited two Russian Orthodox cathedrals.  The first was St Isaac's Cathedral, which is simply beautiful within and without.  Unfortunately, we didn't have opportunity to take photos of the outside from a suitable distance, but had plenty of time inside.  The second was the Church on the Spilled Blood, which was constructed on the site of Csar Alexander's murder (......and then he died!).  It is a most unique and Russian structure, brightly coloured and adorned with onion domes, or what Amy likes to call "bobbles".  The two Cathedrals were by far the highlights and made the day worthwhile.


-  St. Isaac's Cathedral was so impressive. The walls and ceilings are covered in paintings, it has huge marble columns, and huge gates as entrances. The dome in the centre actually has a dove in its centre which I didn't discover until I looked at the photos.

-  I like the 'bobbles'. The Church on Spilled Blood had impressive mosaics on all walls. They simplified which colours were used (eight only) so they could get it all completed within a reasonable timeframe.

-  St.Isaac's Cathedral was my favourite on the inside but The Church on Spilled Blood was easily my favourite on the outside (the one with the coloured bobbles) but I think that goes for 99.9% of the population who see it!  (They are both great inside and outside though)

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