Яussia* (Day 6, Part 1)

June 1

St. Petersburg

So, what do we know about Russia – and St. Petersburg, the country’s cultural and arts center?  A few useful pointers . . . 

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[Places to be visited in the coming days . . . ]

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[And now back to the amateur photographer.  Now that you know everything there is to know about President Trump’s favorite country (and Professor Doctor Colonel  Kiehne was reading a biography of Peter the Great), back to the more mundane.  Our first breakfast on the boat – original Russian pastry . . . ]

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[And then it was safety drill time . . . ]

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[First chance to get to know your neighbors.  Obviously, all English-speaking passengers coming from the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and maybe New Zealand (?) . . ]

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[I heard they were serving mimosas . . . ]

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[And now for our first off boat excursion – to the Hermitage . . . ]

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[Passengers filed out to their appointed buses, all overseen by Karoline Landa.  She was the hotel manager, meaning she was pretty much in charge of everything that wasn’t involved with the operation of the boat . . . ]

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[Here she was discussing the day’s events with one of our favorite guides, Sasha, and Margo Goncharova, the program director . . . ]

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[Karoline collected all the boarding passes . . . ]

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[And pretty much greeted us coming and going on all our off-boat adventures.  She endeared herself to me by remembering my name from day one . . . ]

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[On the road again!  Going over the Big Obukhovsky bridge . . . ]

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[A boat sighted at a stoplight . . . ]

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[This guy must be local rather than national . . . ]

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[Because although it’s a substantial statue, I can’t find anything about it?]

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[And something well known is made here – I just can’t remember, nor can I find it?]

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[The fishy restaurant again . . . ]

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[They have wires in the sky . . . ]

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[I like the ones that need no further explanation – other than it’s a 4-star hotel . . . ]

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[Traffic on the Palace Embankment with Trinity Bridge, ahead, in downtown . . . ]

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[Well, there are 5 million people here – gotta expect a little traffic congestion . . . ]

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[Modern and colorful apartment construction . . . ]

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[Nice views along the Neva . . . ]

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[Stranded during a high tide?]

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[Peter and Paul Fortress across the river (more further down) . . . ]

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[Three-masted frigate near The Embankment of the Neva River . . . ]

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[The Summer Garden is located where the Fontanka River flows out of the Neva River. It was founded in 1704 by order of Peter the Great, who was personally involved in planning it, and is laid out according to strict geometrical principles.  The Neva River end of the Summer Garden is bounded by a fence designed by the architect Yury Felten in 1773-1786. The Garden is also home to a Coffee House (designed by Carlo Rossi) and a Tea House (designed by Ludwig Charlemagne); in front of the latter is a statue of the great Russian fabulist Ilya Krylov by the sculptor Pyotr Klodt. The base of the monument is decorated by a bas relief based on themes from Krylov’s tales. (saint-petersburg.com)]

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Ladies and gentlemen . . .

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We are arriving at the Hermitage . . .

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[Peter and Paul Fortress across the Neva from the Hermitage.  The Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel of St. Petersburg, founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and built to Domenico Trezzini’s designs from 1706 to 1740 as a star fortress.  In the early 1920s, it was still used as a prison and execution ground by the Bolshevik government.  Today it has been adapted as the central and most important part of the State Museum of Saint Petersburg History. (Wikipedia)]

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[Sasha’s 3C lollipop leads us to the Hermitage entrance . . . ]

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[Inside, heading for the Jordan Staircase . . . ]

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[The principal or Jordan Staircase of the Winter Palace is so called because on the Feast of the Epiphany the Tsar descended this imperial staircase in state for the ceremony of the “Blessing of the Waters” of the Neva River, a celebration of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River.  The staircase is one of the few parts of the palace retaining the original 18th-century style.  The massive grey granite columns, however, were added in the mid 19th century. (Wikipedia)]

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[Looking back down the staircase . . . ]

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[This is a canned photo.  I don’t know why I didn’t get it except I may have been swept up in the crowd . . . ]

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[The entrance ceiling . . . ]

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[Sasha leads our group into the next room . . . ]

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[A room with vases and chandeliers . . . ]

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[You are here!]

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[Chandelier in The Large Field Marshal Hall . . . ]

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[Peter the Great’s Small Throne Room in the Winter Palace . . . ]

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[A golden room known as the Golden Room . . . ]

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[As a cruise ship group, arrangements were made to enter the museum before it was open to the general public.  Otherwise, we would have been standing in these lines.}

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[Another selfie??]

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[Russia’s commanders of the 1812 War against Napoleon . . . ]

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[St George’s Hall (also referred to as the Great Throne Room) is one of the largest state rooms in the Winter Palace.  It is located on the eastern side of the palace, and connected to The Hermitage by the smaller Apollo Room(Wikipedia)]

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[The Golden Throne in St. George’s Hall . . . ]

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[The Super with a floor, and a throne . . . ]

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[Elizabeth . . . ]

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[The Peacock Clock, the work of the 18th-century London watchmaker James Cox. On the gilt branches of an oak tree sit a peacock, a cockerel, an owl in a cage . . . ]

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[Looking out on the surrounding gardens . . . ]

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[The Peacock Clock, again . . . ]

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[Giant malachite vase . . . ]

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[Unknown, but then it appears they didn’t have anyplace to carry ID’s?]

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[St. Matthew the Evangelist (?), St. Dujam, St. Anastasius, St. Louis of Toulouse and St. Mark the Evangelist – tempera on panel . . . ]

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[A group of tourists looking at stuff – stuff you’re not likely to find in other places . . . ]

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[A pair of Madonnas and child by Da Vinci . . . ]

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[Generally known as ornate elaborate doors . . . ]

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[An elaborate 17th century mantle clock . . . ]

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[I wonder what the going rate for bath helpers is today?]

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[College dorms, c. mid-1960’s, when the boy had to keep at least one foot on the floor.]

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[Commissioned by Empress Catherine II in the late 1780s, the Raphael Loggias are the exact copy of the Gallery in the Papal Palace in Vatican City. The frescoes of the open loggias of the Papal Palace were painted after Raphael’s sketches. Their copies made in Italy by a group of artists under the supervision of Christopher Unterberger, took their place in the gallery of a separate building erected by Giacomo Quarenghi. The Loggias vaults are decorated with scenes from biblical stories, the walls are covered with paintings with ornamentation motifs, known as “grotesques.” (hermitagemuseum.org)]

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[Small Italian Skylight Hall . . . ]

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[Holding hands . . . ]

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[This piece was purchased in 1785 by Empress Catherine the Great from the Lyde Browne collection . . . ]

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[There seems to be some disagreement in the literature as to whether this is a “sleeping boy” or a “dead boy.”  I’m going to resolve it by saying he’s sleeping!]

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[A popular depiction of Madonna and child . . . ]

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[I somehow managed not to get an identifying plaque here – anyone?]

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[It’s a Michelangelo – so it’s going to get 360 degree of photo coverage . . . ]

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[Whom amongst us doesn’t enjoy a good lute player?]

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[This was important enough for extended coverage by Sasha . . . ]

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[So much so that we will break off Part 1 here . . . ]

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[And pick up later with Part 2 next (obviously), a continuation of our adventures in the Hermitage . . . ]

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[Ending with Adonis . . . ]

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I don’t much enjoy travelling, but I have always longed to take a slow train to Russia. I’d like to go alone – like writers do – with only a pencil and piece of paper as company. I’d take my sketchbook and note down all the wonderful details of other travellers.  ~ Jane Birkin

Up Next:  Part 2

2 thoughts on “Яussia* (Day 6, Part 1)

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