We departed for today’s tour, Magnificent St. Petersburg, at 8:30am on a bus holding 54 passengers. The tour began with a scenic drive around St. Petersburg taking in some of the sights of the city. We stopped at Universitetskaya Embankment to view two original Sphinxes that were acquired during the French Revolution of 1832. The Sphinx sit in front of the impressive Imperial Academy of Arts building. Next we made a quick stop in a small market for souvenirs.
Our first tour stop was at St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the largest orthodox basilica in the world. The cathedral was constructed during the 40 year period of 1818 to 1858. The inside of the cathedral was truly a feast for the eyes, richly decorated in marble. The cathedral’s outside dome is covered in plated gold while the entry doors feature high relief bronze artistry. The interior of the cathedral contains paintings from Russian masters visible in nearly every direction and there were several enormous wall mosaics as well.
After our visit at St. Isaac’s, we traveled a small distance by bus to the Yalta Restaurant in Pushkin to sample some Russian national dishes of particular Borscht soup which has the beetroot as a primary ingredient. We dined with a Military family from Washington DC, and between the soup and our guests, this made for quite interesting lunch conversation. The main dish aside from the soup was Chicken and Pepper Gumbo and fries.
After lunch we headed to the elegant Catherine’s Palace via the Egyptian Gates, the entrance to the Tsar’s Village. This palace, in the baroque style, was also the summer residence of the Royal Family. Here we toured many rooms of the palace including the Picture Gallery, the Great Hall and most certainly the Amber Room, where no pictures were allowed. At the conclusion of our tour we headed outside to tour the statues and monuments of the palace gardens. Unfortunately, as we tried to gather as a group, we noticed a guest was missing and therefore we began a search rather than completing our gardens tour. From what we could see, the palace gardens were very ornate and well attended.
We did find our lost guest and even picked up another guest who had been left behind as we made it back to our awaiting bus. All in all we had a good day in St. Petersburg.
Cruise Port: St. Petersburg, Russia
Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Lines
Tour Name: Magnificent St. Petersburg
Tour Operator: Baltic ?
Steps logged: unknown