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Europe » Russia » Northwest » Veliky Novgorod August 23rd 2016

Last day in St P'sburg we spent in the Peterhof gardens. Travelled there by metro and then marshrutka...The latter was a bit of a competitive rush. A hundred or so of us all wanting to get on to small minibuses, people getting on and bagging half the places for their friends and relations who didn't materialise, hot muggy day.... But we got there. And it was worth it. Peterhof palace was a holiday home for the Romanovs. We had seen many pictures of the interior on Recent tv programme. We needed a rest from gilded palace decor so spent the time wandering round acres of beautiful immaculate palace grounds with gorgeous fountains and miles of alleyways of pleached limes, bordering on the wide river estuary. It seems to be the place where all of St P'sburg ... read more
More Peterhif
Pleached lime alleys
image

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Veliky Novgorod August 23rd 2016

We were up at sparrow fart for 07.19 train from St. Petersburgs's Glavny Muskovosvky station. There was enough time enough for a coffee, bun and a wrestle with an ATM 'stand in front of the wall' which refused to spill out the oolong. Ivan, our ticket collector, checked passports outside carriage number seven and pointed us in the right direction. The electric train was bound for Veliky Novgorod. A three hour journey. Veliky means 'great' and Novgorod 'new town'. We Geordie Novocastrians can spot a 'Nov' and know it's going to mean 'new' despite this UNESCO town's claims to being the oldest cultural and trading centre in Russia, second only to Kiev in the Middle Ages. 859 is the year it was founded, its power based upon international trade, being the main Russian port with access ... read more
Kremlin Walls
Giant Russian flag for Flag Day
Horseman Stomping on Nazi Swastika

Europe » Russia August 22nd 2016

Our last day in St Petersburg: Petershof The sun is up the sky is blue, I'm off to Peterhof, how 'bout you? After reading advice on t'internet we took a metro to Avtovo (a beautiful station), then crossed the road to catch a 424. The bus cost 70 rubles: about 85p. It probably took us under an hour in total. Some nervousness about when to get off, but 90% of the customers were Peterhof bound, so there was no need to fear missing the stop. We spotted lots of high rise living on the way punctuated by lots of green space and a few old timber houses from the past. Petrol spotted at a garage on the way, was 39.5 rubles a litre, about 48pence a litre! We entered the estate by an open gate into ... read more
The Lion Cascade (there's a pair of lions there at the back)
Hydrofoil home
Marion swings into position

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg August 21st 2016

The cost of dining / drink is substantially cheaper than in UK or France. There are pigs on the street down from our hotel,inviting you in their establishment! But we've been using travel guides and budget as we set off each night to find a restaurant ........and we've realised the ones we've chosen are Georgian, although we are clearly in Russia just now. Georgian cuisine is highly valued here in St Petersburg. Frikadelki on Griboyedov Canal Embankment, and Suliko on Kazanskaya St have been the best. We always seem to be sat in comfortable low carver chairs at quite high tables. The resultant posture would aid the practice of eating with chopsticks ....... although that hasn't been a desire or offer when eating Georgian food. It may be a coincidence or perhaps it is a culturally ... read more
Vodkas and pitcher of red wine
Kazan Cathedral's colonnade
Kissing icons insidede Kazan Cathedral

Europe » Russia » Northwest August 20th 2016

Our second day in the State Hermitage. One of our favourite outings, back home in the North East of England, is a trip to Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, Co Durham. There is a stunning automaton silver swan on the ground floor........It still swims daily on a sea of silver. James Cox collaborated with John Joseph Merlin in 1773 to create the machine. Here in the Hermitage, Catherine ll's golden peacock was commissioned in 1777 and shares the same maker! James Cox worked this time with German Friedrich Juryman to convert a smaller automaton made for the Dublin Lottery(!) into the very popular display now still on show on the first floor. A video shows the peacock working, putting on a tail feather display for a somewhat under impressed owl, who taps his foot. From a ... read more
Hermitage Golden Peacock
Rembrandt 'Portrait of a Jew'
Punishment of a Hunter, comic strip?

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg August 20th 2016

Yesterday, second Hermitage day we went first to see the Rembrandts in the Winter Palace. Awe inspiring, such detailed work, thoughtful faces, visual feasts. And then there was Van Dyck and scores of wonderful Dutch , de Hooch and OTT Rubens! We thought to go and see the Da Vinci in the Italian section but the gallery was filled with hordes of Japanese tours all struggling to take a shot of it. We struggled to escape. We returned to the Staff Building for lunch and to see some more of the galleries there. It is so peaceful and cool there, compared to the Winter Palace which is hot, stuffy and crammed with us tourists. There was. Faberge gallery which displayed objects manufactured by Faberge for the army in WWI.- mess tins, boilers, etc very beautifully made. ... read more
Swan feathered bride
How to eat khachapuri at Suliko restaurant
OTT shoes

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg August 19th 2016

I'm intrigued by the over-specified gauge of tube for the St Petersburg down pipes, or as we like to call them: 'spoots'. I haven't measured them, but I reckon they must be 250mm in diameter, standard, on pretty much every building in the centre of town. They're made of light galvanised tin. Many are characteristically 'bashed in' on the bottom two metres...... I suppose their substantial size makes them a pleasing target for a kick from a drunken Doc Martin wearer...... Our current theory for the design brief is that when snow melts in the spring there'll be need for a quick evacuation of excess water to stop leaks through tin roofs. Or perhaps there's been a very successful gutter salesperson maintaining a market for big pipes 'cos there's more profit in them for the manufacturer? ... read more
Singer Café
Matisse: Les Danseurs
Church on Spilt Blood interior mosaics

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg August 18th 2016

Today was the first Hermitage day for us With our two day online Hermitage tickets. the Hermitage is like an unfathomable labyrinth of treasures of art. The more you see the more there is to see. Every turning gives new choices of which room to turn to next. Luckily, as we both wanted to see the Impressionists rooms first we spotted a sign saying that they were in the Admiralty building across the square from the Winter Palace so we made our way there for our first treat. I have uploaded a few of the treats.... read more
Bonnard. By the Mediterranean
Besson. The miners.
Van Dongen. Lucie and her Dance Partner.

Europe » Russia August 18th 2016

Geo: 59.939, 30.3158As with Tallinn, our return to St. Petersburg (Leningrad, when we first visited) was under far better conditions. We awoke to find ourselves already pulled up to the very large cruise terminal complex. The skies were gray but it was not raining, and the forecast rain held off all day. The cruise area was huge, with berths for at least 10 ships visible from our single mooring. There were, however, only three ships in port this day, including our own. Many other sailings that include St. Petersburg include two days in port, allowing far more time to see the city. We, alas, only had one day -- though we were in port from 7:00am to 6:30pm. Peculiarities with my work prevented me from staying in Russia for more than one day, so we had ... read more
K&A
Anna
St. Isaac's

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg August 17th 2016

Day 2 St Petersburg The Romanov tears from heaven have been wiped away and today the sun is shining. The Hotel Rachmaninov has delivered a fullsome breakfast. Porridge is served in a pot in its own tartan jacket, hot water is from a 21st century samova ........ cheese, ham, eggs and salami kiss croissants, apples, granola with honey and yoghurt. And, after research, it turns out that Rachmaninov, his good self, scaled the same steps to the 2nd floor as we did last night. In 1883 he lived in a flat in this block whilst he was studying at St Petersburg Conservatoire ........ an establishment he entered at the age of ten! As we chomped on the first meal of the day we decided to walk a circular route to get an overview of the River ... read more
Marion by Winter Palace
St Peter and Paul Cathedral
Vibraphonist in Summer Gardens




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