Saint Petersburg - Travel Report


Jun 8th, 2017, 08:42 PM
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Join Date: May 2016
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Saint Petersburg - Travel Report

I landed Saint Petersburg from Moscow in April yet the weather was still freezing cold. Snowflakes dropped on our noses and technically it was not the best time to visit the city. For one thing, the famous fountains in the Peterhof Palace operate only from early May to early October. Yet, there was some sort of excitement walking in the gardens under the naked trees, in anticipation of the coming of spring…
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Saint Petersburg is located in the north-western corner of Russia with 300 years of history and a close proximity to the northern Europe. It was appalling how quickly the city was developed as the second largest city in the country with a high level of scale and exquisiteness, owing to the three ambitious and visionary Tsars: Peter the Great, Elizabeth Petrovna, and Catherine the Great. One of the city’s most magnificent architectures is the Winter Palace. The palace was the residence of Russian Monarchs for years and now part of the palace is restored as the world-renowned State Hermitage Museum. The palace is located in the heart of the city by the river and it’s a huge complex. Not only the museum has a marvelous collection of first-class artworks from all over the world, but also the rooms in the palace is something to see. (For info and tips of these rooms, I wrote about it in Rooms. State Hermitage @

After marvel at the jaw-dropping beauty of the Winter Palace, we didn’t stop. The next day we continued our explorations of the refined Russian historical architectures in the outskirt area: Peterhof Palace (a.k.a the Summer Palace) and Catherine Palace. Both attractions are located about 30 kilometers away from the city center but in different directions. Catherine Palace is in the south and Peterhof Palace is on the west by the sea. We planned to visit Catherine Palace in the morning and then Peterhof Palace in the afternoon by taxi. Taxis in Russia are generally cheap and I have some tips. I wrote about those in We are here! Moscow! @

We stayed in a hostel right in front of the Russian Museum and Mikhailovsky Garden. As we headed out in the morning to have some breakfast, we had already wandered past some amazing landmarks like the Savior on the Spilled Blood. We had a simple breakfast (as there were not many choices in the area) and then we got a taxi to take us to the Pushkin District where Catherine Palace is located. It took us 20 minutes to find a taxi, and somehow US pop music is popular in the country. I heard Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Ed Sheerin, Taylor Swift songs were playing in boutiques, cafés, salons, and taxis… as the taxi driver was playing loud and funky music, I found it was kind of contradictory to the moody and cold sceneries outside the window. As we got out of the taxi we saw that the area is rather quiet – I was a little worried whether we could get a taxi to Peterhof Palace afterward (given that it took us 20 minutes to get one in the city center), but well, then I figured I would worry about that later after lunch.

One thing that makes Catherine Palace recognizable is its vibrant color of blue, white and gold. There were so many palaces in the countries but I quickly remembered the three main palaces during my research: The Hermitage is in green, Peterhof Palace is in yellow and Catherine Palace is in blue.

**Catherine Palace**

Personally, I love the interior of the Catherine Palace the most out of the three palaces in Saint Petersburg because it showed a different side of my impressions toward the Russian icy exterior. The colors and patterns on the wall showed femininity and romance from a female perspective. As I was wandering in the giant garden through the naked trees, frozen ponds and static fountains, I had a moment and finally understood the excitement of the anticipation of spring. I wondered, how magnificent and joyful it would be when the palace is embraced by green in the summer.

**Peterhof Palace**

While the interior of Peterhof (photo is not allowed anyway) is less impressive than those rooms in the Winter Palace and the Catherine Palace, it was all about the Grand Cascade and Samson Fountain. So, imagine how disappointing it was for us to visit there in April and missed the spectacular “fountain show” the palace had to offer. The fountains where the Peterhof Palace overlooks today were later installed in the 18th century after Peter the Great by the engineer V. Tuvolkov. I could imagine the design and engineering of such large-scale fountain were no easy tasks; and therefore, it was fascinating for me to know that the Grand Cascade waterfall and all the water fountains require no pumps at all. The water of the fountain and waterfall were collected from natural springs in the Upper Gardens of the palace and were carried to the Grand Cascade and the lower garden fountains through a long aqueduct by gravity pull. I wondered it would be the reason that the fountains did not operate in winter due to this reason?

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You are welcome to visit my blog for more details and photos of traveling to Russia.
knycx_journeying is offline  
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Jun 9th, 2017, 04:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We're heading to St Petersburg soon, so I'm delighted to read about your trip. Thanks!
Marija is online now  
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Jun 10th, 2017, 06:24 AM
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That's great and I hope you would enjoy it Marjia!
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