Saturday, January 31, 2009

St. Petersburg, Russia, Part I

It's finally Saturday and I can't wait to take another tour. Are you all set to go? Do you have your passports ready? You will need them to go to St. Petersburg, Russia. We will have to go through customs and security to get our pasports stamped. Remember not to try to be friendly with immigration officers. Just hand them your passports, they'll stamp and give them back to you and you do not have to say a word. That's how they like it, so don't try to make a conversation.

There is so much to see so I plan to go back again next Saturday. I hope you don't mind.

Now, just a few reminders: We can go shopping but remember not to buy fur coats, Russian coins, any KGB memorabilias and antique Russian religious icons. They will not allow you to take them out of the country and they might arrest you for it. Unless of course, you want to be detained and spend the rest of your life in Russia.
If you want to see more details on the pictures, please click on them.

Ok, let's go sightseeing!

The main altar inside St. Isaac's Russian Orthodox Cathedral is 3-tiered and is decorated with mosaics and a stained glass window of the Resurrected Jesus.

The gorgeous green and blue columns in the iconostasis found inside the Cathedral are made out of malachite and lapis lazuli, in fact, over 35,000 lbs. of malachite is used in the interior of the cathedral.
I can't show you everything inside because we will run out of time and we won't be able to tour other places, but trust me, it's all so richly adorned, sparkling in gold and simply breathtaking. The next three pictures show the outside. The massive red granite columns are made of single pieces. The picture below shows me on the right, my sister on the left and my aunt in the center,

Outside the church, you will see vendors selling lots of souvenirs such as Matryoshka nesting dolls.
Our next stop is the Hermitage Museum. This used to be the winter palace constructed during the reign of Catherine the Great. It was the home of the Romanov family from Peter III to the last Czar. Today, it exhibits so many artistic masterpieces by famous artists such as Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Rubens and Van Dyck.

Below you will see some of the art work.

Jordan Staircase at the State Hermitage Museum.

Whew! The walk along the halls of the Hermitage
is exhausting. How about some lunch? Now, this is what I call a fun lunch, with Russian dancers and entertainers. Rice and chicken with a creamy sauce and vergetables. Yummy!
How about a salad? It's very similar to our salad here. I think even the chicken is similar to what we eat here.
How about some pancake looking bread and caviar? Russians are also famous for their vodka and boy , is it ever so strong! It's enough to either wake you up or knock you down. I bought 2 of them, bottled in very pretty blue and white Czar and Queen jars. I will have to show them to you on a Blue Monday post.
Now, let's just drive around. There are so many big buildings with amazing architecture. It's interesting to know that St. Petersburg has no single homes, but you will see apartment buildings all over.
Russia is also very rich in culture. Just look how big their opera house is! This is the Marinsky Opera House and Theater.
Peter, the Great's Monument
A Russian couple in their costumes. Give them a dollar or 2 and they will post to take a picture with you.
I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did. We will go back next week again and see Peterhof and Pushkin and we'll see Catherine's summer palace. I hope you will join me then too. I promise you, it will be another incredible journey. Thanks for joining me. I really enjoyed your company!


prof en retraite said...

Oh Christine! This is somewhere I have always wanted to too many Russian novels!! lol Your pictures are amazing! What a beautiful city! Thanks for the tour!...Debbie

Glenda said...

I surely am glad that you explained the proper protocol for dealing with customs and security. I didn't realize that certain items would not be allowed to leave the country. Glad I didn't cause an international incident.

I also didn't know the weather was ever moderate enough to permit just shirtsleeves to be all that you required, though I did notice you had something tied around your waist. I somehow thought it was pretty cold there most of the year.

The food looks very appetizing. I enjoyed this trip very much and thank you for your commentary.

mbkatc230 said...

What a fantastic trip. The church is just amazing, but I don't think you would have gotten me out of the Hermitage, just breathtaking. Thanks for taking us on this trip, you're a wonderful tour guide. Kathy

marty39 said...

Oh Christine, the church and the Hermitage are both just wonderful. There is so much detail to every inch of both places and the precious materials they're built out of. The painting and to gold, wow. How interesting that they have no single homes. That's strange. Loved the tour and can't wait to see more next week. Hugs, Marty

Dixie's Whimsey said...

Sweet Christine... what lovely pictures of a beautiful city... but what.. can't buy fur coats or religious icons... i'm insensed!

oh well... I wouldn't wear a real fur coat any way!

hugs. Dixie

Cindy J. said...

So beautiful Christine, I am so glad you invited us along. All of that lapis and malachite that is simply breath taking. Gosh I didn't know about the restrictions either, glad you are here with us we wouldn't want to end up in their jail! Can't wait until next week. Love, Cindy

ann said...

That museum is fabulous.The beauty blows my mind.Can you imagine the neck aches of the artist?I can.And the nesting dolls.Sheila At note songs has gotten me wanting some.Great post.Keep up the great work...Ann

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Christine, what a beautiful tour you took us on today. I'm glad you explained the rules for the custom officers. Now.. I'll probably never find out first hand, but at least I know the The craftsman ship is absolutely amazing.. thanks for a great tour..
hugs ~lynne~

Karen at Nittany Inspirations said...

Thank you for sharing your photos of Russia. I did not know they had all the beautiful buildings.

ann said...


Susan said...

Thank you for the tour, it was beautiful. I look forward to next Saturday. My husband was in Russia 20 something years ago and what he brought back was 2 McDonald's plastic cups (when they opened) and some blue and white pottery (I love the pottery). Why can't you buy a coat?

Bo said...

This was a wonderful trip to Russia and it didn't cost me a dime! LOL...Your photos are excellent and you are showing the very sights I would also want to visit if I were there...I'll be back next Saturday for more! ;-) Bo

nikkicrumpet said...

Well since I'll probably never make it to Russia myself...I really appreciate you taking me on a tour there. It looks like there is so much to see! What a beautiful place. Thanks for bringing me along.

Tootsie said...

thanks for taking us and guiding us through!

santamaker said...

What a wonderful little trip to Russia! Gorgeous photos, I really enjoyed myself!
By the way, saw your pretty blue and white dishes on the previous post. Such a great collection!

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Hi Christine, thanks for the visit and your kind words and support. I'm glad you like "one" of my dolls. There are hope all is well with you and your family..hugs ~lynne~

Chari said...

Hello Dearheart...

Ooohhh...Russia!!! I sure enjoyed the sight-seeing, thanks so much for taking me along!!!

You know, I'm a huge fan of architecture...I have to admit that I really don't know to much about it but I sure do enjoy it! St. Issac's Cathedral is's hard to believe that those columns are solid malachite...oh my, soooo very beautiful! I just can't get over how ornate these old buildings are...they just don't make anything like them anymore!!! Of course, the fact that they're hundreds, and some of them thousands, of years old just adds to my "AWE" of them!!! And the Hermitage...Ohhhh my...once again, I'm just blown away by the beauty!!! I honestly would have a difficult time concentrating on the art...for my love of architecture!

Well my friend, what wonderful travel experiences you are so blessed to have visited so many marvelous places!!! Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of Russia with us...Can't wait for Part II!

Love ya,

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