Blogs from Saint Petersburg, Northwest, Russia, Europe


Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 19th 2021

The impressive Olga's and Tsarina's islands were created between the years 1830 to 1840, on the order of the emperor Nicholas I. They are dedicated to his spouse Aleksandra Feodorovna, and their daughter Olga. Anna always brings history to life in her tours. So many wonderful stories she explained so eloquently. The pavilions were closed but we could enjoy all the beautiful gardens and surrounding lakes. Tsarina's pavilion - There is a flower bed between the bench and the pavilion, with a fountain in the marble basin in the center of it. In the bowl of the fountain, there is a statue of Narcissus, admiring his beautiful reflection in the water. The "Praying boy", set in the niche of the pavilion - is the Roman copy of the Greek original. A shimme... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg July 31st 2021

I stayed at the hotel in Moscow for the rest of the morning and got good sleep. My friend Ben had suggested that I take the overnight train, Red Arrow (?), VIP class with full Russian music at the platforms, to St Petersburg which was super tempting. However, what I mostly needed was sleep and was worried I would not sleep on the train and would get in too early to check into the hotel. So, I just booked business class on the train that left around 10am and took my time to pack up and relax. The train station was just steps from the hotel, but lugging my giant suitcase around in that heat is never fun. I found the business class lounge and was able to get a bit of breakfast and tea before ... read more
Steamed dumplings
Seven Bridges
Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg July 13th 2021

Kronstadt Alongside establishing the city of Saint Petersburg in the spring of 1703, emperor Peter the Great commissioned to build fortifications on Kotlin to make sure no invader could get in. Very quickly a little town of Kronstadt would be founded Kronstadt is a town and naval base on Kotlin Island, just west of St. Petersburg, Russia. Anchor Square is dotted with military memorials. On the square, the 20th-century Byzantine-style Naval Cathedral has an ornate interior. Tree-lined Petrovskiy Park is home to the 19th-century Monument to Peter the Great. Kronstadt History Museum displays regional artifacts. Offshore is the man-made island of Fort Alexander. The beautiful St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral - the biggest church built for the navy. It is a memor... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 16th 2021

Peter the Great was designing the city as another Amsterdam & Venice with canals instead of streets. Initially, there were only about ten bridges constructed in the city, mainly across ditches and minor creeks. By Peter's plans, in the summer months, the citizens were supposed to move around in boats, and in the winter months when the water froze to move in sledges. However, after Peter's death, new bridges were built, as it was a much easier way of transportation. Temporary ponton bridges were used in the summertime. The first permanent bridge of bricks and stones across the main branch of the Neva river appeared in 1850. Today, there are more 342 bridges over canals and rivers of various sizes, styles and constructions, built at different periods. Some of them are small pedestrian bridges, others are ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 1st 2021

1st May - Vitebsky Station is considered the most beautiful railway station of St. Petersburg. Today we were able to visit with Anna & learn about the history of this beautiful structure, originally built in 1837 and the first railway station in Russia, Opening its doors in October 1837 The first passenger train headed by locomotive Provorny went from there on the line connected St.Petersburg and Tsarskoe selo (today’s Pushkin). In 1904, a new station was built in the Art Nouveau style. This Art Nouveau architectural gem with Anna’s help gave a glimpse into the bygone splendor of Imperial Russia. The beautiful waiting room was now a showpiece, one could only imagine what is must have been like to travel through this station in years gone by. Anna also took us to the service area with ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg January 22nd 2021

29th December St. Petersburg The last of yesterday’s tours- I’m surprised I’m not jet lagged all this zipping about. 4 years ago we visited St.Petersburg (our 2nd visit) but have not visited in December so it was nice to see the Hermitage and surrounding buildings looking all festive. The view of the small canal behind the hermitage brought back memories of the trip we took through the canals of St.Petersburg back in 2016. Tsar Peter the Great founded St Petersburg in 1703 on the marshes at the mouth of the Neva River where the Rus Vikings, the founders of ‘Russia’, had passed through centuries earlier. Peter’s city of timber, mud and stone was transformed by the Tsarina Catherine into a Baroque fantasy. This glorious 18th century city is characterised by elegant and extravagant architecture: St Peter ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg July 2nd 2020

I was reading a book, and came across this rather colorful description of a stinky situation. I am sure each of us has a story that may top this one. But here you go: This is from Tim Moore in his book, "The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold" as he cycled along the old Iron Curtain, in a Russian shopping bicycle with only two speeds. "After 1700 km of odorless, aseptic Finland, my nostrils were befouled by the rolling miasma of unregulated (now in Russia) neglect and decay, sulphur and solvents, fermenting rubbish, burning plastic, poo, and wee." I actually had a similar experience when I was peering out the window from the Trans Siberian Railway. I could "see" the stench that Tim Moore is talking about. That sounds pretty bad. But I have ... read more
Stinky fruit
Dirty sweat socks
Durian makes me barf!

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg February 29th 2020

When I started my first job after leaving school, all the men save one, smoked cigarettes...and all of the female staff. But in those enlightened days...everyone who had a TV knew that cigarettes were cool...and most importantly...they were good for you! When I left there 9 years later...none of the men smoked...not one...but many of the women still did. And that was before laws forbidding smoking in many public spaces including restaurants. 'Cos someone let the cat out of the bag...the cigarette companies knew all along...that cigarettes were not good for fact they could ultimately kill you. In my travels in China...16 provinces so quite extensive...most of the men seemed to I guess Chinese cigarettes are different...or the message had not yet got out that they are not good for you! Yet in Russia ... read more
St Petersburg
St Petersburg
St Petersburg

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg February 3rd 2020

This tale has nothing to do with kissing frogs nor the Disney production of "The Princess & the Frog" nor the Grimm Fairy tale "The Frog Prince". Y'all know this dancer would NOT extol that fantasy claptrap..."Historophile" being my middle name. Now I've cleared that up...let us begin. Long, long ago there was a Tsar who had three sons. When they came of any loving father he called them before him and said, "While I am still able to guide your futures...I wish to ensure you are happily married and bear grandchildren for me to enjoy." The sons said, "You know what is best for us, oh father. Who shall our brides be?" "Do as I say. Each take a bow with a single arrow into the countryside and shoot it. Wherever it lands, there ... read more
Take me as your Wife

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg December 30th 2019

There were 600 palaces in St Petersburg before the Russian Revolution but only members of the Russian Royal family lived in them. The Tsars had heaps of children and it was only right that each had their own palace. There were also 870 Aristocratic families in St Petersburg before the Russian Revolution. They were not Royals and did not live in palaces but lived in mansions. That's what we were told at the secure vaults of the Hermitage. But this dancer knows better. Elizabeth, Peter the Great's daughter, the one who ordered the Summer and Winter Palaces be built, gifted Anichkov Palace (1741-50) on the banks of the Fontanka River to her lover Aleksey Razumovskiy. So did that gift make him a Royal? I don't think so!!! Alexander the Great, our esteemed guide told the history ... read more
15th Anniversary Egg 1911
Lillies of the Valley Egg 1898
Rosebud Egg 1895

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