Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Beautiful St. Petersburg

We are back from a quick getaway to our cabin in northern Wisconsin.  It was nice to get up there as we have not been there since June.  This has just been one of those summers.  
But I am ready for some cooler temperatures and ready for pumpkins and apples and fall cooking and fall schedules!  

But, before all things fall I want to post a few more of our summer cruise.  We saw so many wonderful things and I need to record it all before I forget!

So please join me for Russia!  

I have always liked Russian history.  I took a few classes in high school and college and have enjoyed books about the old days of the tsars and tsarinas.  So I was especially excited that our cruise would be spending 2 days in St. Petersburg.  It is very likely somewhere I would never visit and so to have this opportunity was very special.

In preparation for the cruise I read Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie.  I was so glad I did because for the next 2 days I saw many of the places from the book and it all had so much more meaning for me.  I just wish I had done a little more reading.

Our first stop on our visit to St. Petersburg was the incredible Catherine Palace.  The palace is actually located in a town outside of St. Petersburg called Pushkin, or Tsarkoe Selo.  I was glad we were able to leave the city and see a little bit of the countryside.

Come on in.
I am trying to give you a sense of the scale by these 3 pictures.  The above is straight on and the next 2 are to the right and then to the left.  This place is enormous!

We had a private tour that we arranged outside of our cruise ship and I have to say that it was the way to go.  We got to the palace ahead of the tour crowds as you can see by the lack of people in these photos.  By the time we came out of the palace there were very long lines.

Many of the rooms had these beautiful tile stoves in them.  And so much gold leaf ~ it's everywhere.

Catherine the Great

We stopped briefly at this church and ran in for a few photos.  I include it only for my memory.  I don't even remember the name of the church.  But even so I want to remember that we stopped there. 

This is a famous statue of Peter the Great, commissioned by Catherine the Great.

Words do not prepare you for what you see when you enter.  And my pictures don't either.  I just kept taking them, even though I knew it wouldn't capture the experience of being there.

The interior of the church is entirely covered in mosaics.  The light coming in through the many windows turns the interior into a sparkling jewel box.  It just makes you gasp ~ 


              This is facing the altar which is behind the doors.  

This is a portrait of Alexander II, the church is built on the site of his assassination,  in the Russian tradition, a church is often built on the site of the spilled blood of its tsars.  This church was built around the turn of the twentieth century I believe.  That's why the name is the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, not of.  

I hope that wasn't too many pictures.  Believe me when I say that this is a small fraction of what I took that day. 

Thanks for joining ~ come back for day 2 !