Published: July 24th 2011July 3rd 2011
Grand St Petersburg. We were awake at our usual 6:00 am and looked out our cabin window to see 4 other HUGE cruse ships docked in St. Petersburg along with the Prinsendam. Lots of tourists in St Petersburg today! After our usual breakfast in the Lido Restaurant (a lovely breakfast buffet - too much to choose from) we boarded our tour coach. We began at the Spit of Vasilievasky Island with a magnificent view of the Neva River and the two Rostral Columns which served as signal towers.
We viewed the Winter Palace and other buildings of the Hermitage Museum, as well as the SSts.Peter & Paul Fortress located right across the river. I took a picture of the golden spire of the Cathedral of SSts Peter & Paul which is in the middle of the Fortress, but can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. We continue along the Neva embankment and approach the battle ship Aurora for a photo stop.
We drive along Nevsky Prospect, the main thoroughfare of the city, to the Church on the Spilled Blood. This beautiful Church is built on the Site where the Czar Alexander II was assassinated. This Church has
used to serve as signal tower on the Neva River
magnificent facades covered with elaborate mosaics and is crowned with Imposing domes, which also can be seen from many points in the city.
We had lunch at a restaurant in the SSts Peter& Paul Fortress - A much needed break from the hot day. Then we spent the afternoon visiting the famous Hermitage Museum. Anne, another group member, and I elected to SIT in the 1812 room while the rest of the group went on the 1 ½ hour tour. The heat (no air conditioning) and the oppressive crowds were overwhelming. We, each clutching our water bottles, agreed to lean against each other if we dozzed off, and then proceeded to "people watch" as the time went by. When our group came back, we joined them to to shop and enjoy the brass band on the way out to the waiting bus. I was so glad to have done that, and we gathered the comments about the paintings from the rest of our group members.
We returned to the Prinsedam for dinner and to cool off. After dinner, I attended the St.Petersburg Highlights Folkloric group performance back in St. Petersburg with some other group members. The theater/auditorium was
not air conditioned so we, the audience, were very hot but the performance was very good, Choral singing,Russian folk dancing, a full range of balalaika accompaniment, solos both instrumental and vocal, and beautiful costuming. I don't know how the performers dealt with the heat, costumes, and theater lights. They all did very well. We enjoyed the performance.
There are more photos below