Thursday, September 20, 2018

Travel Thursday -The Baltic Adventure Part 5

When I was 12, I babysat on Friday nights for a family who lived 3 doors down from our house. Because I was a slightly weird child (and remain a very weird adult) I use to watch 20/20 on Friday nights. This show had a big impact on me. First it made me think I wanted to be a journalist (which one year in journalism school taught me it didn't), and second, it made me fall in love with Russia. They did a show on treasures inside the Kremlin. I was hooked. I became a little Russia obsessed. While over the years that obsession has decreased, my desire to see Russia has not. The entire point of this adventure was to spend two days in St. Petersburg, to make my dreams come true. (Number one on the bucket list is to stand in Red Square in Moscow, but we are pretty darn close!) [Note: Russia was never a place the Man wanted to visit, but he went because it was my #1 place].

I am not a crier by any means, but I will say, when we stepped off the ship and onto the dock in Russia, I sobbed. I realized I still had to go through immigration, so I pulled myself together as being the sobbing person there was likely not going to help. Russian immigration is intimidating enough!  I spent the next 2 days in a state of awe. The Man kept asking me if I was ok, or what I thought, and I nicely told him to leave me alone and just let me be in Russia. It is not every day you get to live a dream you have had for 31 years! Even now, as a prepare this post about 1.5 months later,  I feel the emotions swell up! 

Most of the pictures I am going to show over the next at least 3 travel Thursdays, are going to be of the Russia of my dreams. The palaces of the Tsars.  This is what our tour showed us. However, we did see a little bit of the city that was not the land of the Tsars, it is the life of Russians. I tried when possible to snap a few pictures of this too. Because while I was living my dream, I am very aware of the state of this country. However, these blog posts are not going to be the place I explore my thoughts on this. 

An apartment building

Our first official stop was to river, where we got to make our wish to a cat. Legend has it if you rub the cats tongue as you whisper in his/her ear, your wish will come true. (You will note ear pieces in these pictures, that is so we can hear our guide. We were a group of 14).

The Man's wish

My wish

Touching the Neva
Next we went to the Peter and Paul Fortress. This is where most of the Russian Royal Family (including the last of the Romonavs) are buried.  The cathedral is the first and oldest landmark in St. Petersburg.

Morning sun on a an usually sunny day

My one dislike in Russia was the crowds. It has become a very trendy place to travel and we went at peak tourist season (something we won't do again). Our guide was wonderful at helping us navigate this. 

Next we were off to the Church of The Savior on Spilled  Blood. It has this name as it was the place where Emperor Alexander II was fatally wounded in 1881.

The interior of the church is covered with over 7500 square meters of mosaics. All the art inside is made of tiny tiles.

From the back

A remaining statue of Lenin

Because it amused me

Lunch was included on our tour and while I am not one to just take pictures of people eating and food  normally, I was so surprised to see the Man eating Borscht (one of my faves) because he hates beets!

Our first stop after lunch was the Catherine Palace. Much of this palace has been rebuild due to damage from WWII. It is famous for the Amber Room which has been reconstructed and is the one place in the palace you can't take pictures. To see it and learn about it, click HERE.

The palace is in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) 30 km out of St. Petersburg. It was the Tsars summer residence.

Our tour group wearing the cool booties

This is what I love about the Tsars - over the top beauty! 

One of Empress Elizabeth's gowns. She only wore each outfit one time and had over 15 000 dresses. Members of her court were only able to wear an outfit once. After an event, paint would be thrown on them or they would be cut so they could not be re-worn. 

Next week we will start at Peterhof - home to over 144 fountains.


  1. my mom is in love with russia too, she even learnt the language as young woman to talk with the people there, it's interesting to see you instead of my parents there ;o)))) btw: the wish of my mother came true, she asked the cat for the possibility to come back... and viola next year she can whisper another wish in te ear of the kitty ;O)

  2. Hari Om
    yes, as you know, I too have this fascination and learned the language (now rusted!)... and have a small envy at your having attained this much longed-for experience. Thank you for making the trip on our behalf!!! YAM xx

  3. Visiting other countries always reminds me of young our country is by comparison.

  4. Wow.....double WOW. What a wonderful trip and most gorgeous photos. I was intrigued by the guy riding the horse...with the bucket on his foot.
    And of course the CAT.
    Hugs HiC

  5. This is the post I've been waiting for! Although I didn't quite have your level of obsession with Russia, it was a place I'd long wanted to visit, the country having loomed so large in my Cold War era childhood, and I too felt quite emotional when I finally made it to St Petersburg last year. We were too early in the year for the crowds but we did have to deal with a terrorist attack... I look forward to next week's pictures of the 144 fountains at Peterhof, all of which were switched off at the time of our visit (late March)!
    Cheers, Gail.

  6. The churches are absolutely gorgeous! Mom loves beets but she's never had borscht.

  7. Wow! That was amazing! My ghostwriter has always wanted to visit those places too.

  8. I can understand your emotional well up...What wonderful history!!

  9. Whenever Mom and Dad see photos of Russia or documentaries on TV, they are always in awe of the beauty of all those buildings. Your photos attest to that too. We are glad you had your dream of going to Russia come to fruition, and we hope both of your dreams come true. Otherwise Phod and Hailey might have some words for that cat.

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  10. So happy your visit lived up to your dreams. Just gorgeous. The opulence, a must see, since words can't describe it.

  11. Wow...just WOW! What an incredible trip and your photos are amazing. It is gorgeous and I was very intrigued by the history. I laughed at the guy on the horse with a bucket for stirrups and your group's shoe pic let me know they must have been fun too. I'm looking forward to next week.

  12. How wonderful you were able to fulfill your dream
    Hazel & Mabel

  13. I never thought of going to Russia and after your blog I have a different look about it
    Coffee is on

  14. Such a beautiful place and your photos are STUNNING!

    Hugs, Pam

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