"" Writer's Wanderings: Russia -- Peterhof and the Metro

Friday, August 14, 2009

Russia -- Peterhof and the Metro

The second day of our tour of St. Petersburg began with a trip to the main Metro line. Entrance to the Metro was through a church that had been converted into a subway station. The city's subway is said to be the deepest in the world at an average 180 feet below the surface. The escalator seemed to go on forever as we descended. But when we reached the bottom, we were greeted by huge pillars that supported the ceiling above us. Not only were the pillars huge, but they were extremely decorative as were the lighting fixtures that were more like large chandeliers.

We rode the Metro through three stops. Each was different in design but each equally impressive. The station where we exited had half of its pillars decorated in ornamental glass. We were asked to leave our cameras on the minibus because no pictures were allowed in the subway but I did find some online if you are curious, click here.

After boarding our minibus again, we were off to Peterhof. Along the way, we passed several communities of homes that looked much like our own suburbs. We also passed a large estate that was the presidential home.

Arriving at Peterhof we hurried to the Grand Cascade see the celebration of the fountains. Each morning when they are turned on, the national anthem is played and the fountains begin to flow. All of the fountains are gravity fed and eventually, as you look around you realize you are surrounded by large and small water displays.

Bob and I were confused initially and thought that we had been to Peterhof on our first visit. But we discovered that it was actually Oranienbaum we had visited. We certainly didn't remember any lush gardens or the enormous amount of fountains at this palace nicknamed the Russian Versailles because it was from the French palace that Peter the Great got his inspiration for this home.

As with many palace projects, it was handed down to the successors who finished, changed and added on to the original. We did not get inside the palace due to time restraints but wandered about the gardens which are extensive covering many acres. Eventually we made our way to the shoreline and peered across at St. Petersburg where we could make out the dome of St. Isaac's. Our next adventure was to ride a hydrofoil back to the city.

As we waited our ticketed time, we watched a whole bridal party and guests arrive for a wedding in the gardens. The bride was beautiful and I'm sure her wedding was wonderfully done in the palacial gardens.

Our hydrofoil trip was surprising. Inside were luxurious accommodations--leatherlike upholstered seats almost like a recliner with an adjustable back. It didn't take long for Bob to get comfortable. I woke him as we entered the river area knowing he didn't want to miss the view of the riverfront.

By the time we reached our destination, we were wondering where our next meal would be. After all, we were on a cruise and used to eating more than just regularly. We were in for a real treat this day.

More on St. Petersburg:
St. Petersburg
Catherine's Palace
Church on the Spilled Blood
Pies and another palace

St. Isaac's and St. Peter and Paul

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