A few weeks ago we went on a Baltic adventure. I’m going to do a few posts of our days ashore, along with lots of photos. Our third port was St Petersburg in Russia and boy did we take a lot of photos! We took so many that I’m splitting the days in half so I can share more of those pics.
So, I finished the last post with the Hermitage museum, which was amazing. Our next stop was St Isaac’s cathedral. It’s the fourth largest dome cathedral in the world and is quite spectacular. We took a few photos of the outside, one of which has our lovely tour bus in it. Then we headed inside, where we took more pics. It was lovely in there with details everywhere.
We’d packed in a lot of sight-seeing in the morning and were ready for lunch so were happy to be headed to a restaurant next. I didn’t take any photos inside the restaurant but I did take one of the waiting area on the way out. It gives you an idea of what it was like there.
We’d been expecting something pretty basic but were surprised to find ourselves in a lovely restaurant with beautifully laid tables, with nice crockery, doilies, bottles of water etc. There was beer for those that wanted it and it was a set menu.
We had Borscht to start. There was sour cream on the table to add to the soup. It was lovely. I’d always fancied trying it so it was great to have it in Russia.
Next was Chicken Kiev with potatoes and pickled cabbage. It was beautifully presented and was delicious. Dessert was little sponge cakes. We had two each of different flavours and they were lovely. It was all followed by tea or coffee.
We were seated with six of our travelling companions and had a lovely chat and a good laugh so it was a brilliant meal. Even the bathroom in the restaurant was special with gilt taps and fittings. And that was after the ship had warned us that bathroom facilities tended to be pretty basic. That really wasn’t our experience on either day.
Our final stop of the day was Catherine palace which was about a 35 minute drive, perfect for relaxing after our lovely meal. It was gorgeous. I mentioned that we’d taken a lot of photos in Russia – we took 70 in Catherine palace alone, and that’s after I’ve weeded out the not-so-good ones. Don’t worry, I’m not going to share all 70. I have narrowed it down a bit LOL
As I said in the previous Russia post, we were allowed to take photos everywhere, but in the churches and museums, there was no flash allowed. Some of the indoor photos are a bit dark, but they’re good enough.
The palace has a baroque exterior with gilt domes and is really impressive. We had a good tour of the inside and saw the famous amber room, which was the only place where we weren’t allowed to take photos. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it was amazing.
There was quite a bit of restoration going on in the palace. Not everywhere was decorated although they had the furniture in place. The rooms that were finished were incredible. There was so much to see and as you can see from the photos of the outside, it wasn’t crowded there. Alla tours work it brilliantly so we get to see loads, and without the crowds that you’d get on a less organised tour.
I’ve picked just a few of the indoor photos to give you an idea what it was like in there. The most amazing room was the main ballroom. It was huge! The decor was stunning. The walls, ceiling, floor – you didn’t know where to look first. It was impossible to get a photo showing all if it, but this is the best one that we managed.See the ropes? It was really well organised. You had tour groups on both sides, and there were people in place to manage the flow of tourists and keep it from getting jammed up.
On the way back to the ship, we were taken to a huge souvenir shop where we got a few gifts for friends and on the way back through to immigration we stopped at the duty free shops and got a little present for me. I’d been thinking that I might like a matryoshka doll as a souvenir and when Stephen spotted these, I was sold. Not exactly traditional but they go nicely with the rest of my Disney collection. I’ve displayed them like this, rather than nested.
We had a buffet dinner in Islands and relaxed on our balcony for a while with a coffee. We decided not to go to the evening show as we had a very early start the next day and were tired from our busy day.