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The City and beyond

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Wednesday 28th October
Today was the first of our out of town tours. Our lady guide seemed a little businesslike and in trying to make small talk, I discovered that there were some no-go and sensitive areas. I guess after many years of having to be careful about what you said and to whom, old habits die hard. However, after a while she was more informal and we discovered that she did have a sense of humour. Peterhof was left in ruins after the German siege of Leningrad and there was some debate about what, if anything should be done about it. In the end, restoration was decided upon and is still ongoing. In fact only the outside gardens and fabric of the house, together with much of the ground floor has been completed. It was a cold and misty morning, giving an eeriness to everything. We were not allowed to take any photographs inside the building, which was a pity as we were given a lightening tour, with very little chance to absorb very much. We bought a book on the place before leaving so that we do have something to recall and despite some lovely photographs, was not unduly expensive On the way back we stopped at a souvenir shop where the guide had clearly got an arrangement. Despite being slightly upset about being railroaded, it was quite low key and we took advantage of the opportunity to get some bits and pieces to take home. Getting back at about 3pm allowed us to go back over the Trinity Bridge and visit Peter the Great's hut. I didn't take any pictures as it cost 200 rubles – the same as for the Hermitage where I could take many more. The hut is the original 3 roomed wood building in which Peter spent 6 years while his new city was being built. It has many of his personal belongings and is a wonderful set of artifacts to be able to see. It was preserved by the simple expedient of building a stone house around it so now you can wander around the inside of the stone house and see into the wooden one. You get a tremendous sense of the history of it all.

We returned to the hotel via the Spilled Blood Cathedral, looking for a suitable place for our evening meal. We found a place called КАМЗЛОТ – Camelot. Inside it was decorated as you may expect from its name with mediaeval theme, including Arthur on his throne at the end of the restaurant. The menu had levels of meals with the more expensive being 'Royal' , less expensive 'Knight' and so on. The strangeness of a British folk tale in the middle of St Petersburg, having a place done out as a mediaeval banqueting hall in a city which was only started in 1703 made it stranger still. But the meal was excellent and very reasonable too.

10 kilometres today

permalink written by  rickandsuejohnson on October 29, 2009 from Saint Petersburg, Russia
from the travel blog: Venice of the North - St Petersburg
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Love the pics! Glad you managed to load them up.
Enjoy your last day.
Luv Bristol contingent (extra hugs from little spotty-Alfie)

permalink written by  Zoe Manley on October 30, 2009

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