Baltic cruise - St. Petersburg
To get the most out of our two days in St. Petersburg, we booked a guided tour that among other things helped us get into Russia without having to get visas on our own and gave us a crash course on the Romanovs. I was singing this song from Anastasia in my head while waiting to get through immigration in the morning, so clearly I had a lot to learn.
Although it was cold and misty at times, being there in October had its perks. The leaves were a-changing, and when the sun decided to peek out, it was like everything was glowing. Plus, it wasn't as crowded.
Day 1 included a visit to the gardens and parks of Peterhof Palace and the interior of Catherine Palace in Pushkin. I tried not to look up any pictures before we got there, but really pictures could not have prepared me for how massive and lavish everything was. Gold on gold on gold on gold and decorative elements from floor to ceiling. It was unbelievable.
Not pictured because I wasn't going to be that person trying to sneakily get a shot in the only room that says NO PICTURES - the Amber Room.
Day 2 included some highlights of the Hermitage Museum (I say 'some' because to see everything in this colossal complex would take years), the Peter and Paul Fortress, and the Church on Spilled Blood.
The Hermitage Museum holds so much art from around the world, I almost forgot I was in Russia. The Winter Palace is part of it, though, so in case you did forget that you were in Imperial Family territory...bam - gold and thrones and chandeliers that Sia would have a field day with.
The Palaces and Hermitage Museum also had some pictures and info of what the sites looked like in the aftermath of the Nazi occupation and how they evacuated art, buried statues, and then had to restore a lot of things. Again, unbelievable.
Last but not least, the segment of the tour I call 'let's pretend we're just casual Russians going about our day' with a ride on the metro and lunch at a local cafe with sweet and savory pies.
I guess it's an experience anywhere to use public transportation, but the subways in St. Petersburg are no joke. They're some of the deepest in the world, so the escalator ride is fun/mildly terrifying, and they have chandeliers, statues, columns, and other decorations because why not!? Check out some pictures here.
This post feels exhausting, but it's certainly not exhaustive. We could probably go back to the exact same places and have an entirely different tour with the amount of things there are to see and learn about. So, that's all for now (unless you want to listen to us talk about it). From Russia with love...