Splendor of St Petersburg (Day 2 of 2)

Today, we left the ship at 7:30 am and made our way to the same minibus and tour guide from Day 1.  We headed out of St. Petersburg for the town of Pushkin to visit Catherine’s Palace.  Our travels took us down Moscow Avenue which highlighted the Soviet period of living in the city.  The main square is called Leningrad.  This general area is known as an Economic Manufacturing Zone and is rich in farmland.

At 8:30 am we arrived in the town of Pushkin.  Alexander Pushkin was a noted Russian poet and author.  As Catherine’s Palace did not open until 9 am, we waited about 20 minutes after our walk from the minibus.  Once inside we toured the palace rooms, including the Amber Room (no photos permitted).

After exited Catherin’s Palace at 10:15am we took a tour of the palace gardens and nearby grotto.  There were beautiful views across the lake showing us a Turkish Bath on one end and a Russian Mosque on the other. When we arrived at the Grotto area, we waited outside a few minutes before venturing inside where a choir awaited to sing us a Russian Folk song.

Now we headed to the Heritage Pavilion crossing over the oldest small iron bridge in Russia, arriving at the pavilion soon thereafter.

By 11:15 am we had made our way back to the minibus and were on our way to Peterhof.  As we did not have a scheduled lunch on Day 2, a boxed lunch was waiting for us in the minibus.  The lunch consisted of a Salami & Cheese sandwich, Banana, Moon Pie, and Water.

At noon, we arrived at PeterHof and commenced touring the gardens. There was an array of magnificent fountains and after viewing them, we headed down one of the trails to Adam Fountain.

Next, we visited the house where Catherine lived for many years before she came into power.

 Then we listened to another rendition of Russian Folk Music and on to the Dragon Fountain Cascade before proceeding to the Opera garden.

We left PeterHof at 1:45 pm and headed into town to ride the Russian Metro.  We stopped first at Abtobo Metro station, paid 45 Rubles for a ticket and went down to the tracks.  The underground area of this station was as elaborate as many of the palaces above.  Metro construction begun in the 1930’s but was not completed until 1955.

After learning the history of the Activa station, we jumped on an arriving metro train at 2:40pm.  Once aboard we rode two stops getting off at Nava Gate.  Here we learned more about the station and took a long escalator ride to the top.

Once outside the station, the Narvskaya Triumphal Arch stood proudly perched over the station.  The arch was built at the end of the war with Napoleon.

At 3 pm we were back on board the minivan and headed across town arriving at Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood at 3:35 pm.  Inside this well-known landmark of St. Petersburg, we were met with the entirety of the walls and ceilings covered in beautiful mosaics.

There are over 23,000 square feet of mosaics. The light coming through the windows brings the artwork to life. Everywhere you look, there is a story being told. The detail of the artwork (all done in mosaics) is a sight to behold.

If you are traveling to St. Petersburgh, the Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood is a must see!

Now on a tight schedule to meet our ship departure at 5:30 pm, we left the Church and made one last stop at the Peter & Paul Fortress arriving at 4:30 pm.  Here we visited the inside of the Peter & Paul Cathedral and saw the burial plots of Peter III & Katherine II.

On our way out, we stepped into a small room for yet another rendition of Russian Folk Music.  This performance was by far, the best of the two days.

After visiting the Church, we took a moment to step into a small building to view the replica of the Peter the Great boat.  We departed the church grounds at 5:05 pm and headed to the minivan for our return to the ship.

We arrived at the port and our ship at 5:45 pm.  We were the last group to arrive, but others had come in just before us.  It was a wonderful two-day visit and itinerary in St. Petersburg.

Cruise Port: St. Petersburg, Russia

Tour Name: Splendor of St Petersburg | Russian Folklore Evening

Cruise Ship: Queen Elizabeth

Tour Guide: Alex