My Mamma kindly took me along on a trip to St Petersburg. We don’t get to go on many holidays just us two so it was nice to explore a new city together.
We landed into below zero weather and were delighted with the smattering of snow that greeted us, even if it was as light as a dusting of icing sugar.
We were lucky enough to explore lots of different Palaces. The first of the bunch was Peterhof, on the outskirts of St Petersburg, in an area named after the palace.
Peterhof palace was made by the request of Peter the first Tsar of Russia, and is now deemed the Versaille of Russia.
The beautiful French gardens lead from the palace out to a pier, where in the summer ferries go to and from St Petersburg to Peterhof palace.
The palace is an amazing place and has been through quite a lot, reaching absolute disrepair after the Great War and being ridiculously well restored to its former glory. The rooms are mainly that of Baroque and Neoclassical style. Baroque being a favourite of Catherine II, with plenty of gold, whilst the Neoclassic is a smidgen less lavish with cleaner lines and mainly white washed.
Unfortunately, you aren’t allowed to take any pictures inside the palace. But if you ever find yourself near St P, do stop by, it is fascinating!
From the opulence of Peterhof we went to the relative simplicity of Alexander palace.
Alexander Palace was the place in which the Romanov’s were placed into house arrest at the time of the revolution. So safe to say it’s steeped in history.
Like these were the very doors they left through, to their fate in Siberia.
And you can’t help but be taken aback by the portrait of Alexandra Feodorovna, the guide told us Nicolas II, her husband loved this image as it gave an accurate representation, showing the ghostly reflections of others sorrow and compassion.
The next day we whirled around the streets of St Petersburg itself, with its mishmash of beautiful architecture mirrored eerily in the Neva River.
First stop the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan. A semi-circle of Pillars line your way towards the bronze enterance.
The cathedral’s huge bronze doors are one of three copies of the original doors of the Baptistry in Florence, Italy (the other two are in San Francisco and on the Baptistry itself).
We were lucky enough to experience a Russian Orthodox service whilst we were there. All the ladies had their head draped in scarves like little Russian dolls in a row as they rowed up to be blessed.
Mum had been to St Petersburg before and was absolutely itching to get back to the Church of the Resurection of Jesus Christ, commonly known as Church of Saviour on Spilled Blood. It’s her absolute favourite.
I think you can see why, the whole facade and interior is covered in intricate mosaics, giving it a beautiful trinket box appearance.
Next we darted across the Neva to the Winter palace and hermitage. This is one of the largest museums in the World with one of the largest art collection, ranging from all over Europe from all the masters like Rembrandt and Da Vinci.
I was particularly fascinated by the malachite vases, which were actually put together as a miniature mozaic to give the impression of a solid block.
The peacock clock is a bit of a show stopper too, when it unfurls its feathers and moves its head.
The exterior is pretty special too, in green, white and gold, with these terribly gallant chaps holding up one of their entrances. It’s said to be lucky to rub their toes and I think they may need a bit of warmth at this time of the year as they aren’t wearing much.
Our final day was spent in Pushkin. We started by strolling through Alexander palace’s grounds its a beautiful wild garden based on the English style. We both thought it must of been a magical place to run and play as any of the Tsar’s children and the current residence of Pushkin.
Followed by the beautiful Catherine Palace, the gardens for this palace, although next to that of Alexander Palace, differs tremendously, it is to French designs. Catherine Palace was the summer residence of the Tsars, due to its rural location.
And if you’re lucky you may even see a little Red squirrel, isn’t he just precious?! It’s the first one I have ever seen, and he was ever so friendly.
A much more opulent palace again, quite similar to that of Peterhof, but then again it was commisioned by Peter the Great for his soon-to-be Wife, Catherine I. With the rooms either being based on Baroque or Neoclassical designs.
Isn’t this the most beautiful central heating you have ever seen?!
Now, I think you can see why this place is well worth a visit and will take your breathe away.
My favourite room, was the amber room. Yes! a room floor to ceiling of amber, unfortunately again no pictures were allowed in this room. But if you want a cheeky look see, there is a picture on St Petersburgs tourist website.
We went round the corner to Flora for a classic Borscht soup, before saying our sweet farewells to St P as we whizzed off back to the airport.
I will definitely have to return with 101 more Cathedrals to see and you could spend a lifetime walking the halls of the hermitage.