Omigod! Thank you (sunshine all day)! Omigod! Thank you! All day long.
This morning we took a 3.5-hour Walking Tour of the downtown area of
Peter the Great, after whom St. Petersburg is named. He's all over the city, everywhere!
St. Isaac's Cathedral is the Russian Orthodox church of St. Petersburg, built between 1818 and 1858, and decorated with 14 kinds of minerals, precious stones and mosaics. NO, we did not go inside.
The Hermitage Museum, located on the Palace Square, is housed in a total of 5 buildings linked together. It's considered one of the world's greatest art museums and contains over 3 million exhibits. And NO, we did not step foot inside--not this time.
The Cathedral of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood is an old Russian-style church that was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated on March 1, 1881. It was built in 1883-1907, designed in the spirit of 16-17th century Russian architecture. And NO, we did not go inside!
After lunch on the ship, we headed back out again, this time for a 4-hour River & Canals boat tour, ending at Peter & Paul Fortress.
Peter and Paul Fortress as seen from the River Neva, was originally constructed in 1703 as a military stronghold. Since no enemy was ever able to penetrate its defenses, it was turned into a political prison. Throughout its history, it held such famous prisoners as the writer Dostoevsky, political activist Maxim Gorky and Leon Trotsky, as well as the elder brother of Vladimir Lenin. Today it is a “museum” that is famous for the Peter and Paul Cathedral, containing the sarcophagi of the Russian Emperors from Peter the Great through Nicholas II.
The Peter and Paul Cathedral (below the spire), inside the fortress. With it's spire, it is the tallest building in St. Petersburg (nothing else allowed to be taller, by Peter the Great's decree). And YES, we went inside! It is basically a museum and does not hold church services.
Tonight we get back the hour we lost last night, so our clocks are now set back an hour, before our next port-o-call tomorrow, Tallinn. It will be our last stop before we land in London on Wednesday morning. Are you still with me? And are you tired yet :)