Monday, September 17, 2012

Cruising With Virginia--Part 5 St. Petersburg

 This post is about my two excursions to St. Peterburg (Russia) that took place on Aug. 23, 24. How is Russia, you'd ask? Well, St. Petersburg is our only stop in Russia and is the only port that requires immigration check when getting on/off the ship. Unlike other ports that we had experienced, it is highly controlled and we certainly didn't feel so free to roam around on our own. After all, communism ruled the country for 70 years! Not knowing/speaking Russian, we opted to take the English guided tours to see the national treasures.
 We had two days in Russia's 2nd largest city--St. Petersburg. The first day we went to Peterhof Palace and the second day we spent the afternoon at the Hermitage Museum. Now feast your eyes...Let's start with Peterhof Palace! How amazing!
 Unfortunately on that day, it was pouring rain! But we still managed to have some gorgeous photos.
 It is very challenging to blog about these two places as we have over 1000 photos of St. Petersburg. This post is only a small sample of our excursions.

The next day we hit the Hermitage Museum. (tickets in hands, posing a photo with our Russian tour guide, outside the museum)
Hermitage Museum is one of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise nearly three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world.

Outside the Hermitage Museum. The building is absolutely magnificent! Mint, mustard yellow and white! 
Inside the Hermitage museum, photography is permitted only if you pay 4 Euros per camera (we have three cameras!). So Dr. John, Stephanie and David snapped as many as they can!
In these shots, you can can get  a sense of the museum....VERY busy and crowded.
Can you spot me and Dr. John in these pictures? I was so blown away by the ornate and elaborate ceilings in each and every room.
Here are a few sample of the priceless Impressionism art work from Vincent Van Gogh to Henry Matisse.We had only 3 hours in the museum!
After the very quick visit, it's time to hop on the bus to get back to the ship. Dr. John got lost
fell behind from the tour group (so I thought)!!! There was no sighting of him for good 10-15 minutes. I was SO worried as you can imagine. It turned out that he was taking his sweet time snapping these Impression art photos. Little did I know that he actually got to the designated waiting area right at 4pm. I was fretting that he will miss the bus and the boat! Phew! However, it was one older gentleman from the cruise ship who went missing! His wife (who had his passport!) couldn't locate him. She was in distress when all of us waited in the bus for an hour...by this time, it was 5pm! Our tour guide informed us that we HAD to leave and told the lady that the museum will take her husband back to the ship as soon as they find him....she was in distraught and so we left the museum. It was very quiet on the bus since we were all worried about this gentleman (he has a walker!). After we got close to the ship and someone spotted him near another cruise ship.... (Dr. John snapped this photo)
Poor guy! When he found out that he had lost the group, he panicked and took a taxi. Since he had only $50 US with him at the time, the fare was not quite enough for him to get back to our ship! The heartless taxi driver wouldn't drive the extra 300 meters (1000 ft.), so he had to walk! That's why we spotted him walking toward our ship.... everyone clapped after he got on to our bus! Hooray!

Well, there's "From Russia with Love for you $$"...one fellow Dutch cruiser said.
So, with this happy ending, I conclude the tour of St. Petersburg with Virginia. We are heading to Tallinn, Estonia next!
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update: Dr. John and I just returned from Minneapolis a few hours ago. EVERYTHING went smoothly! I can't wait to share this super fun event with you! 

27 comments:

Arlene said...

Beautiful photos and sounds like quite a scary trip for the poor man. Glad he got back and you all made it safely to all the tour spots.

Welcome home.

Laura B. said...

So fun to see your trip to Russia! Love the stories. Poor guy with the walker and the terrible taxi driver!! Can't wait to hear about scrapfest!

donna mikasa said...

Welcome home from Scrapfest, Virginia! So happy that Dr. John was up to going to MN--what a trooper! Can't wait to see more pics and hear more exciting tales!

Love your fabulous photos from your trip, too. I always feel like I'm getting a free tour when I visit your blog!

Dawn said...

Wow . Thanks for sharing these amazing images of your fabulous holiday. I'm enjoying all your fab photos.

mdoricheva said...

Gorgeous post, Virginia! I understand you very well. I am very sorry to hear about the inconveniences you've come across in my country. I wish I could meet you and make your visit more pleasant! Cheers, Maria

shirley-bee said...

Fabulous photos, Virginia. Stunning architecture.

Elizabeth Allan said...

I could never have imagined the beauty. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos and treating me to a mini vacation right here on your blog!

Maureen Morton said...

Glorious photos, Virgina!! And love the stories, too. Thanks for sharing. Hope the good doc got his dizziness under control, but he WAS a bunch of ditsy dames in MN! Ha! Thanks a ton.

Sheila H said...

Your photos are so beautiful - thanks for sharing. I can't wait to hear about Scrapfest :)

rcwidow (Linda) said...

Great photos! I feel like I was there! Meeting you at Scrapfest this weekend was such a joy.

Miriam Prantner said...

I want to go! It looks amazing! Despite the rain and lost people!

Barb said...

Oh, that poor man! I can't believe the taxi driver wouldn't take him the rest of the way! I do love the photos though - looks like an amazing place, V!

I had a fabulous time with you at Scrapfest, my friend - sooo glad you and Dr. John were able to make it! Missing you so much already! Hugs!

papertrails leaver said...

oh how beautiful! It's such a gorgeous city! Thank you for sharing your photos! Almost feels like I am there. loved the photo of the tix!

Lisa's Creative Niche said...

WOW!!! Those pictures are stunning!!! I would love to travel as you all do, it always looks so amazing... def. adding this to my bucket list!

Linda R said...

I am so glad you shared your photos with us. I really enjoyed seeing them.

Hugs~

Cat Craig said...

I am loving your traveling posts, and now that I have joined blogger I can finally comment. Thanks for sharing, fun to have a virtual cruise from my desk!

Karen from MI said...

What a GREAT and SMILE MAKING post, today!! :) I LOVED the story about the MIA passenger, Virginia! I'm STILL laughing, although it really wasn't funny, but I'm glad he made it to the ship. His POOR WIFE!! :( LOVED the BREATHTAKING photos, too!! It must have been a trip of a life time!!! I'm going back to admire those photos some more!! TFS!! :) Glad that Dr. John made it to the bus, too! :)

Karin Åkesdotter said...

WOW! I'm amazed at how much you got to see during your trip - you must be so happy with it (-: Love reading about it!
Have a great day, hugs, Karin

Rose said...

WOW!! you saw some beautiful art :)

Wida said...

WOW. I can't get enough of the architecture! that turquoise and gold is beautiful What a once in a lifetime trip!

Alice Wertz said...

magnificent buildings inside and out! wow! thanks for all the photos and glad to hear that with enough money, everyone and everything was all right. =)

Dwita said...

Beautiful photos, Virginia.

maria f. said...

Almost like being there - which I don't know that I ever will be - so thanks Virginia! Such an ordeal with losing track of your men. I can imagine the stress in the bus. Poor guy.

Bethany S. said...

lots of fun photos Virginia! Gorgeous photography too! Those museums are beautiful!

Kelly Griglione said...

Now that's something, I've never heard of charging for the use of your OWN camera! The ornateness of the buildings is mind-boggling. I feel for the guy in the walker. It's no fun wondering if you're going to miss your boat on a cruise. He must have been panicked in the taxi!

Katarina said...

That was amazing pictures, Virginia. I'vve never been to either Russia or any of the Baltic state, but your trip is inspiring me to put it on my travel wish list.
You really had the most amazing trip, that an experience!

Chris and Paige Evans said...

I recognize all of your photos! :) BEAUTIFUL!!!