Яussia* (Day 8, Part 1)

June 3

The last day in St. Petersburg before we finally begin travel by boat.  It was a cruise, after all.  This would be a long day not unlike the preceding one – a visit to Peterhof Palace on the morning; St. Petersburg by canal in the afternoon.  Let’s begin . . . 

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[This may or may not have been Goulash soup night, but this is where I found it in my jumbled literature.  Whenever, it was yummy!!]

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[On the road to Peterhof Palace, about 30 km (or 40 minutes), west of the city, past the now familiar highrise contruction projects . . . ]

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[The Super has settled in for the trip . . . ]

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[Lot of activity going on here . . . ]

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[Pretty in Pink . . . ]

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[Donning a winter coat?]

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[And then, there it was . . . ]

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[The Peterhof Palace is a series of palaces and gardens located in Petergof, laid out on the orders of Peter the Great. These palaces and gardens are sometimes referred as the “Russian Versailles”.  The palace-ensemble along with the city center is recognized as a UNESCA World Hertitage Site.  The dominant natural feature of Peterhof is a 16-m-high bluff lying less than 100 m from the shore. The so-called Lower Gardens (Nizhny Sad), at 1.02 km² comprising the better part of Peterhof’s land area, are confined between this bluff and the shore, stretching east and west for roughly 200 m. The majority of Peterhof’s fountains are contained here, as are several small palaces and outbuildings. East of the Lower Gardens lies the Alexandria Park with 19th-century Gothic Revival structures such as the Kapella. Atop the bluff, near the middle of the Lower Gardens, stands the Grand Palace (Bolshoi Dvorets). Behind (south) of it are the comparatively small Upper Gardens (Verhnyy Sad). Upon the bluff’s face below the palace is the Grand Cascade (Bolshoi Kaskad). This and the Grand Palace are the centrepiece of the entire complex. At its foot begins the Sea Channel (Morskoi Kanal), one of the most extensive waterworks of the Baroque period, which bisects the Lower Gardens.  (Wikipedia)]

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[A brief stop at the entry so Alexey can ‘splain stuff to us – like how to find your way back to the bus!]

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[And we’re off . . . ]

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[This is the two-headed eagle rooftop feature . . . ]

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[We were told to walk toward the two-headed eagle to find our way out . . . ]

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[And where the two-headed eagle resides in the grand scheme of things . . . ]

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[Gathering for final instructions, the Super grinning at something on her tablet . . . ]

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[Again, the gardens will be more fun for me than slogging through the crowded palace interiors . . . ]

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[Fortunately, we fit the bill . . . ]

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[Inside now, looking out onto the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea . . . ]

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[Here’s Peter!  The world has oft been told he was Great!]

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[The model, or doll house, of the palace . . . ]

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[Once again chagrinned these places don’t come with escalators . . . ]

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[Ceiling art, amongs other things. The lady in the immediate foreground was our shipboard neighbor, from an English-speaking country not ours . . . ]

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[Another “selfie” heaven . . . ]

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[Alexey notes there is a lot of art in this room . . . ]

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[The Super takes advantage of a rare near-empty room for a photo op . . . ]

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[My footies on the floorie . . . ]

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[Catherine II]

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[Suspect Catherine, though I can’t find this one in the literature . . . ]

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[Gold ballroom . . . ]

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[Thought a work of significance, but of what do I know?  Can’t find it anywhere?]

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[White Dining Room . . . ]

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[The Picture Hall . . . ]

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[Floor in the Portrait Hall . . . ]

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[Tsarina Elizabeth Petrovna, 1760 . . . ]

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[A room with lots of great china . . . ]

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[A room with lots of green chairs . . . ]

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[A rather modern looking model – I think they snuck in a ringer?]

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[Somebody slept here . . . ]

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[Peter’s man cave?]

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[The great outdoors . . . ]

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[The Peterhof Marine Canal to the Gulf of Finland . . . ]

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[Let’s go exploring . . . ]

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[We’re beginning our walk down through the grounds to the Gulf . . . ]

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[Looking back at the palace . . . ]

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[The Super with a new friend . . . ]

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[Admittedly, a rather grand place . . . ]

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[As I point out here . . . ]

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[You’ll notice here the top is a cross; our two-headed eagle way out is on the other side . . . ]

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[A tree-top canopy walk . . . ]

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[To the land of fountains in Lower Park . . . ]

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[Discovered just off the beaten path . . . ]

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[Looks like Paul Revere; allegedly another statue of Peter . . . ]

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[Not Peter, but maybe they dated . . . ]

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[The Sun Fountain . . . ]

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[Monplaisir Historical Palace Museum . . . ]

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[This is where we are now – we ambled to the right (on the map) of the Great Palace on the Upper Park and then down to Monplaisir on the Lower Park waterfront . . . ]

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[The museum gardens . . . ]

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[The “Sheaf,” the main fountain at Monplaisir . . . ]

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[The Gulf of Finland . . . ]

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[In the distance, the Lakhta Centre skyscraper . . . ]

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[The Lakhta Center is an 87-story skycraper currently under construction in the outskirts of Lakhta in St. Petersburg.  Standing 1,516 ft tall, the Lakhta Center is the tallest building in Russia, the tallest building in Europe, and the 13th-tallest building in the world.  The Lakhta Center is also the second-tallest structure in Russia and Europe, behind Ostankino Tower in Moscow.  Construction of Lakhta Center started on 30 October 2012; it was topped out on 29 January 2018.  The center is designed for large-scale mixed-use development: composing of public facilities and offices.  The Lakhta Center is intended to become the new headquarters of Russian energy company Gazprom.  (Wikipedia)]

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[Of course, there was controversy (no, not involving Trump).  As the historical centre of St. Petersburg has become a World Heritage Site since 1990; the World Heritage Committee opposed the construction of the 400-metre tower of Okhta Center as it would affect the cityscape of historic Saint Petersburg.  In December 2006 UNESCO World Heritage Centre Director Francesco Bandarin reminded Russia about its obligations to preserve it and expressed concern over the project.  In 2007, the World Monuments Fund placed the historic skyline of St. Petersburg on its 2008 Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites due to the potential construction of the building, and in 2009 reported that the tower “would damage the image of Russia.”  During the 36 session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO held in St. Petersburg in 2012 it was stated that a large area of St. Petersburg falls within preservation and buffer zones provided for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. That is why it is good for the city that the Okhta Center, which had been planned by Gazprom in front of Smolny Cathedral was moved to Lakhta.  (Wikipedia) (Stock photo of the building)]

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[The beautiful waterfront at Monplaisir . . . ]

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[The Super with a trident friend . . . ]

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[Looking over to the pier . . . ]

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[A last glance back at Lakhta . . . ]

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[Now we had to fast step it back to the Great Palace for the fountains show . . . ]

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[And here we go!!]

[Let there be fountains!!]

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[Woo-woo!]

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[Beautiful day, beautiful venue . . . ]

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[Heading back now in the direction of . . . yes, the two-headed eagle . . . ]

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[On the bus back to the boat.  Could that be a golf course?]

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[Yes!!]

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[Back to “our” bridge for lunch.  Part 2 will be our afternoon cruising the canals of St. Petersburg.]

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The secret of good politics?  Make a good treaty with Russia.  ~  Otto von Bismarck

Up Next:  Part 2

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