Africancrab visiting a World Heritage Site: St Petersburg

Saint Petersburg Travel Blog

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This blog should read: 1997. (Scanning my photos will take a while,  in the mean time, here is the blog). St. Petersburg the city was designated a world heritage site by UNESCO. This would be the last stop in my long and cold visit to Russia. Peter decided to be a little more civil in the office and a charmer out of the office: such British manners I might add. I always told him there was a reason he was born British and no other nationality, he is plain sarcastic and can be hypocritical. Funny how he, and I, still managed to be long term friends and still do. After behaving so badly in Moscow, it was time to make amends, so he decided to take me to St.

The winter palace, Hermitage museum
Petersburg where he had visited many times during his seven years of service with the company. I'm not a morning person and worse so when it is cold outside or raining: Peter set my alarm clock the night before pointing a finger at me NOT to turn it off when it went off in the morning. I shook my head in reply and promised to jump out of bed for an early start . . . well it id not happen, I got up to the sound of pounding at my door and Peter was not too thrilled to see me in my PJs. He mastered a lousy grin and with his usual British gentlemanly behavior asked politely if he would stay while I freshened up for the day. He offered to bring coffee but I declined with a mind to have coffee along the way (an excuse to enter another coffee shop).

Normally I would exhaust a good 30 minutes in the shower, but with my personal 'police' sitting right in my room; I dared not create more tension than already was.

I started with the layers of clothing I needed to keep me warm and when I thought I was done Peter asks if I have a coat to wear. "We shall make a stop to pick up a coat, shall we not?" he asked as if we were actually going to his apartment to pick up a coat, what he really meant was that we needed to buy me a coat that is warm enough. I agreed to let him have his way with me since he would be the drive, guide and friend all at once. Once I became the 'yes' girl, we began to understand each other and soon Peter was good company. We left the hotel at a little after 9:00 am. two hours later than planned, ha-ha! O' and we were happy. Once we left the hotel, I began my reminiscence down History's memory lane: St Petersburg was the subject of the Bolshevik uprising that I studied in my European history class. It was the capital city of the Russian empire for many hundred years and ceased to be the capital after the Bolshevik or what is popularly referred to as the Russian Revolution of 1917.
A view from across the canal
  It is the center port on the A Baltic Sea for Russia and represents a major European culture: with a population of close to five million, it comes second after Moscow in being the largest city in Russia. Most of the foreign embassies are located here in St. Petersburg; Peter was kind enough to call his friend from the British High Commission to join us for a quick breakfast (more like a brunch).

St. Petersburg is the heart of Russia's culture and features great architectural wonders like the Winter Palace, the Kazan Cathedral and the Peter and Paul Fortresses. St. Petersburg is a great city for sightseeing, art and music: I believe I never felt out of place here, it is probably the most western, communist place I ever visited if there is such a place.

Some of the most beautiful churches in the world, the best museum in the world (Hermitage) are located in St. Petersburg. It is interesting the feeling one gets being here in a city that separates our time from an era long gone. Interesting to find that the city was built on the gulf of Finland, the canals are a constant reminder of that. The palaces and statutes, gardens and arched bridges over graceful canals bring back the gone by times, the time of the czars. Okay enough with the history already, Peter wanted to show me the Hermitage, the guys we had met at the coffee house has suggested we go to  Nevsky to get a better feel of the city, but Peter brushed them off (silently) because he had been to Nevsky Prospekt before. The hurry to make it to Hermitage robbed me of the sights that I now wish I had taken time to see. (well Hermitage was well worth it, so the regrets are minimal). Peter promised we would see the fortresses before day end, so I calmed my spirits long enough to enjoy the Hermitage.

The Hermitage: The Hermitage can be rightly called one of the world’s top ranking Museum because of it’s large collection of European art and masters, of course I would not disagree but I found the Louvre in Paris to be the best of them all including the Prado. To be perfectly honest I don't think any other museum in the world can rival the Hermitage in size and quality except the Louvre.  I think that if anyone had to spend time viewing everything inside the Hermitage, they would need at least a year to do so. The museum is set in what was originally the palace of the Tsars known as the winter palace and placed at the vantage of the Neva river. We found so many tourists there who had made a special trip just to visit the Hermitage. I have always loved art and the appreciated of it came with my time spent with Don my American boyfriend who was art crazy. The people who come to the Hermitage come to spend time on painters whose work can be admired by seeing the originals in a city so rich in history; granted many can go to New York or Paris, but why spend so much money on high priced places like New York when for half the price Russia offers a world never seen before?. From modern art on the top floor, alternative options on the second floor and antiques on the lower level, the museum offers a feast to the eyes of the art lover and the historian. The second floor hosts the location of the chambers were the royalty of Russia help parties and feasts. The Italian and French influences are very strong, the French  impressionist paintings dating back hundreds of years. I have never seen so many collection of the works of Matisse and Rembrandt in one place like there is in the Hermitage.  History praises Peter the great for being an art collected who started it all. I can’t remember now how much Peter paid for the entrance fees, but it must have changed in the past ten years. The entrance is located on the river front side of the building. I suggest you purchase your ticket and visit the museum in the morning hours. I recall they closed the ticket counters much earlier than the museum closed and many people were disappointed by it.

As our day drew to a close we spent a little time seeing the bridges which seem to be a perfect part and parcel of the whole city of St. Petersburg. I can't tell you how many bridges there are in this city but they are quite many and considering that they were all built hundred years ago, they are art pieces in their own right. I don't think any city in the world has as many bridges as St. Petersburg does: well the whole city is built on canals, no wonder they needed to connect it together to make it work huh! The bridge on the Neva river of course was the closest to where we were, so we stopped by and then we saw the Fontanka bridge too. There are about 15 bridges across the Moika river alone and most of them built more than a hundred years early, now I wish I had a video camera to film it all back then. Well I guess I will just have to go back and maybe take my little girl with me to see this wonderful city, and in the summer months this time round.

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The winter palace, Hermitage museum
The winter palace, Hermitage museum
A view from across the canal
A view from across the canal
Saint Petersburg Sights & Attractions review
The Hermitage Museum
The Hermitage can be rightly called one of the world’s top ranking Museum because of it’s large collection of European art and masters, of course … read entire review