On St. Petersburg: The Royals

Whereas the first post focused on a few of St. Petersburg non-Royal sights  (here’s the first), today is about royalty, so “opulence” is the word of the day.

An appropriate red sky greeted our second day
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Catherine’s Palace (quite a small, humble abode)
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There’s a tad of gold in most rooms, but they prohibited photos in the awesome Amber Room (here’s a video of Catherine’s Palace for those wanting more)
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The fountains at Peterhof are an architectural marvel (See more of Peterhof’s 234 acres in this video)

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Hermitage: a palace turned into the world’s fourth largest art museum
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The Hermitage’s grand entrance (well, part of it)
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We would love to attend a dance event in the Hermitage’s ballroom
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Our last day ended by visiting Rasputin
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Hope you enjoyed a glimpse of the royal opulence in St. Petersburg. As the Celebrity Constellation sails away for Helsinki and a chance of us to gain an extra hour of sleep, enjoy these short videos recapturing some of the beauty this city has to offer. (Direct link to Helsinki post)

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On St. Petersburg: The City

As part of the whirlwind portion of our eastern Baltic cruise, the Celebrity Constellation arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia. As one raised during the Cold War, visiting the Giant Bear of the North was something we never imagined.

Russia requires visitors to have a visa. However, cruise passengers need not apply for one as long as they are participating in a government-approved tour agency. Therefore, we booked the two-day St. Petersburg Royal Tour with Denrus, who provided a great two days with a delightful tour guide and driver.

Because both days were fascinating, I will give St. Petersburg two posts, with today’s post focusing on some of the non-royal aspects. Enjoy!

St. Petersburg Factoids

  • Peter the Great founded the city in 1703
  • Located on 14 islands with rivers and canals
  • Peter the Great was fond of his time in Amsterdam
  • Population: about 4.8 million
  • Also called, Petrograd and Leningrad
  • Getting a border agent to smile is not easy
  • The non-smiling faces of the older residents is a stark reminder of the past

The old, walled fortress city (Russian royals buried at the tall church)

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Old Navy ship for military enthusiasts to research
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Many Khrushchev-style apartments are in the city (Interestingly, we didn’t see many homes within the city)

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Across the river to St. Isaac’s Cathedral

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St. Isaac’s Cathedral’s huge doors
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St. Isaac’s interior

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Sts. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Peterhof (outside St. Petersburg)
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Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood
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Besides the longest escalator I’ve ever been on, the subway stations are like museum (To see more, checkout this 3-minute video)
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The nesting Matryoshka dolls for the American tourists
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We’ll return to St. Petersburg after tomorrow’s mid-week satire post. (Click here to join us in St. Petersburg.)