Day 28 – 14 March 2017 St Petersburg
Our very knowledgeable guide Anna picked us up and we headed off to Peterhof. – the Summer Palace just outside the citiy in St Petersburg. We drove along the Neva, which looked beautiful in the sunshine, as did the Peter and Paul fortress. Crossed many of the rivers and canals that break up the city into distinct neighbourhoods and phases of history.
Along the road as we left St Petersburg once lined with mansions of the nobility there were still small palaces that had escaped destruction post revolution and during World War II. We did not have time to visit any but would make a great day or several.
Once at the Summer Palace there was again the reminder of what summer in St Petersburg can be like with an empty car and bus park and rows of ticket offices empty. It was explained that during summer season you were guided through the palace at quite a speed and often there were so many people it was not possible to see all the exhibits.
Peterhof is surrounded by huge garden and grounds that rival Versailles. And were modelled on Versaille – designed at the time to be even more magnificent. At the time of our visit the fountains were not working and statues were covered to protect them from the winter. Apparently Italian marble does not tolerate the icy temperatures and can crack.
Smaller palaces and the gardens stretch down to the Gulf of Finland. In Peter the Greats time boats would come up to the palace along the canal shown below.
Inside and out the palace it is Baroque gone crazy. Everything is embellished in gold leaf. Inside there is much use of beautiful chinese patterned silk wall covering. Differing patterns and colours in each room. One a magnificent deep turquoise blue with intricate pattern.
Came back to the hotel early afternoon then out for a last dinner at Rustaveli. Not only did we have great service – we were given a rundown on the delights of Georgia – so much so that Georgia here we come! And we hear the wine is better in the country than what is exported – yippee. Another meal of fantastic Georgian food in very warm welcoming surrounds.