Friday, 16 July 2010
Russian around in St. Petersburg
The weight of social and political history that surrounds St Petersburg is quite overwhelming when we finally arrive at our furthest destination. From the days of Peter the Great to the Russian Revolution, you can see that it is a city that continues to live through significant periods of change. As we tour around we can see many grand buildings in the centre but also sprawling residential and industrial constructions that seem to go on for ever ... it is a huge place! Our Russian guide is Polokov, who takes us to the major spots that represent the significant events of a bygone era such as Isaacs Cathedral, the Rostral Columns and the Battleship Aurora whose guns signalled the start of the Russian Revolution. Of course, the highlight for us is the Hermitage, which is no longer a palace for the Czars but one of the great art museums of the world. We arrive early the next day with our tour group in order to beat the rush of tourists to view a magnificent collection of works that would certainly rival the Louvre in Paris. With more than 2.7 million works of art on show, we only begin to scratch the surface after several hours. We do our best to lose our group in order to explore more of it alone, but to our disappointment, we are eventually found.