06/03/2014 Betsy

SUSPENSION BRIDGE ACROSS THE NEVA Our two weeks were up and, according to our VISA, we had to leave TODAY!  It was a wonderful trip and highly recommend coming to Russia. It was not what I expected and I am happy to say the old Soviet fears that I have carried since childhood have disappeared.    Regardless of what the Government does, just like in the US, the Russian people are warm and welcoming.  Not in one place did we feel any anti-American sentiment.  During our forays on our own in Moscow and St Petersburg people…

06/03/2014 Betsy

OUR LAST AFTERNOON WE’RE ON OUR OWN! May 23, 2014   We returned to the ship in time for lunch and then had our last day in St Petersburg to ourselves. Interestingly enough, before we left for Russia we vowed we would not leave the side of our guides.  We had visions of being dragged off the streets into the bowels of Russia.  Could not have been farther from the truth.  We feel so confident about making our way around this country, I wouldn’t have second thoughts about flying to Moscow or St Petersburg and touring it again! The six…

06/03/2014 Betsy

CATHERINE’S PALACE May 23, 2014 Boarded the bus at 7:30AM to head out to Pushkin for a morning at THE PALACE. Pushkin, named after the National Poet is a sweet little town, 24 miles  from St Petersburg but out of the mainstream of all that is city life. The German lines were held in this area during the Siege of Leningrad.  Nazi troops were all over Pushkin during the war.  They almost made it to St Petersburg. As we took the St Petersburg “ring” which is a beltway around the city, there was quite a bit of construction of new…

06/03/2014 Betsy

PETERHOF WORLD OF FOUNTAINS May 22, 2014       Peter the Great planned this palace as the location afforded a clear view of the fortress in St Petersburg (Peter & Paul) and the shallow Bay in Finland provided a landing area to travel to the fortress. BAY OF FINLAND   The Palace and grounds are located on a 16 meter bluff with upper and lower gardens.  The fountains are gravity fed, no pumps feed these.  Spring water at the upper level is collected and with driving pressure feed the fountains on the lower level.  Although…

06/03/2014 Betsy

ST PETERSBURG – BY RIVER May 22, 2014 (still!)   ST Petersburg was built on a delta of the river Neva by Peter the Great to rival Venice.  It is spread out over various islands garnering the nickname “City of 101 Islands”.  Taking a canal tour is a must for this beautiful city and a most pleasant way to explore the attractions.  We started on the Fontanka River which flows through Central St Petersburg.  The embankment is lined with former private residences of the Russian nobility. We boarded our canal boats and headed out to see the sights! As we…

06/03/2014 Betsy

THE  HERMITAGE May 21, 2014 When you’re happy, you enjoy the music. When you are sad, you understand the lyrics.   THE HERMITAGE The Hermitage is one of the oldest museums in the world founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and has been opened to the public since 1852.  There are over 3M items including the largest fcollection of paintings in the world.  The complex includes six historic buildings along Palace Embankment including the Winter Palace, a former residence of the Russian emperors.  It is a federal state property.   THE…

06/03/2014 Betsy

PETER AND PAUL FORTRESS May 21, 2014 PETER & PAUL FORTRESS The area between Moscow and St Petersburg was known as Norogrod and was occupied by the Swedes.  Peter the Great, in 1703, reclaimed the lands along the Neva River and built a fortress to protect the capital from attack from the Swedish army or navy. Hare Island in the Neva Delta is the location for the fortress and citadel.  Originally the fortress was built of earth and timber but between 1706-1740 is was rebuilt in stone and less than 30 years later it was clad…

06/03/2014 Betsy

CHURCH OF THE SPILLED BLOOD May 21, 2014   On our way to the Peter and Paul Fortress…..after the Smolney Institute ….. we stopped at this church with its magnificant copulas! THE CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOR OF THE SPILLED BLOOD Built on the spot Emperor Alexader II was assassinated in March 1881.  He assumed power in 1855 after the disastrous defeat in the Crimean war against Britain, France and Turkey, Alexander II initiated a number of reforms. CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOR SPILLED BLOOD CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOR SPILLED BLOOD The favorite grandson…

06/03/2014 Betsy

  ST PETERSBURG May 21, 2014  A journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you can control it!   SUSPENSION BRIDGE ACROSS THE NEVA We departed at 8AM for our city tour.  After about an hour or more in a traffic jam in St Petersburg, we had a fairly good idea of what the traffic conditions in this city were.  Our guide, Natasha, was wonderful and kept talking the entire time! At one point, while we were sitting at a standstill, cars starting taking the sidewalk to get around…

06/03/2014 Betsy

MANDROGI May 20, 2014  I travel a lot.  I hate having my life disrupted by routine.   Whether you are on a Vodohod cruise or a Viking Cruise, all ships stop at the same places.  Russia pretty much has that planned out. Mandrogi was 172 miles from Kizhi through some beautifully appointed locks. Christopher Columbus’ ships sits atop the spire on this Lock #3. Small homes and villages dotted the river as we approached Mandrogi.   MANDROGI Mandrogi was our “day off” before we got to St Petersburg where it would be non stop until we got on our plane! …