Saturday, October 9, 2010

St. Petersburg: The Catherine Palace

Today was the day to get out of St. Petersburg.

We headed to Pushkin to see some palaces! Our hotel was offering day trips for around 100 euros... we made it out there and back for about 5. True, it was a little less glamorous, but it was fun and we were part of the crowd :)

Our first mode of transport was the metro. The metro stations are INCREDIBLE. So fascinating and so below ground level. Unfortunately there are no pictures allowed. Something about bombs...

So next up was the train.
(again this is photo heavy with a story in the middle of my run in with a russian girl....thanks for putting up with my photo obsessed ways!)

Right before we were ready to go, the little woman in the foreground with the scarf on her head started singing a beautiful (I'm assuming) traditional Russian song :) She then asked for some change.

Thank you communism.

After arriving at our destination we had to hop on a bus to get to the palaces... and when I say bus I mean van...

Then we arrived.

Hello, Gorgeous.

We didn't feel like getting into line quite yet so we meandered the grounds.

So here's the part where we get into a ridiculously long line and I tell a short story.
This line, was LONG. I mean LOOOOOOOOOONG. I  mean wait for over an hour with no end in sight long. The issue was that people kept budging. There was an area towards the front with a bar separating where the line was and people would just wedge themselves in right at the bar. So like 50 people would go in and we would maybe move a foot because of all the people budging. So we, like most people would, were commenting on it. I believe the conversation went something like this

Miia: Ugh, people keep going in front in the line.
Me: If I could speak Russian I would totally call them out for budging!
Joel: Notice the Russians aren't even doing that.
Me: Well if I was Russian... I would.
end scene
or so we thought

There was a family in front of us and this girl/boy (we honestly couldn't tell... not trying to be mean) all of the sudden says " And maybe some people should realize that others can understand what they're saying" and she fixes me with the stink eye... I look at her completely confused.
Rude Girl ( we later confirmed she was a girl) : "Oh maybe all Russians are crazy!"
Me: "Umm, all I said was that I was mad people were budging?"

Then the rest of our 50 minutes in line they proceeded to look us up and down, glare at us, and whisper about us. It was a treat. I'm just proud I kept my mouth shut, because I definitely could've snapped back with something about gender confusion...

probably one of the weirdest things. I don't know what she thought she heard, but she didn't hear right... at all.

Oooooooook on to more pictures

Our sweet shoe coverings, and the ridiculously ornate doors.

The entire ceiling was a painting... in fact the majority of rooms the ceiling was an entire painting.

This room was AWESOME two of the walls were solid paintings framed on the wall, and of course the entire ceiling was painted.

This palace was pretty crazy, there is even an amber room. As in, an entire room made of different shades of amber. Picture frames, pictures, tables, etc. And all, just because Catherine could.
And it totally dawned on me why so many monarchy's end in murder. If I were a peasant living in squalor and the Queen just decided she wanted a room of amber it'd piss me off! I just think that kind of wealth is a little outrageous....

The picture on the left is what it looked like in 1930 and the one on the left is 1944... during/after the war. Pretty incredible how much damage this palace sustained.

And I'm so happy they restored the original plasma flat screen TV :)

Next we were off to Alexander Palace.
It was the one place Jon wanted to go the entire time

But it was of course undergoing massive renovations....

and closed.

We spent our evening eating Pizza (we hadn't eaten since breakfast and it was 4:30 by this time!) And meandering around the river taking pictures.

I wanted to sit in her lap, but then I felt that was maybe crossing a line :)

catching Joel and Miia in an embrace :) (ok I lied it's totally staged)

And tomorrow (our last day :( ) we'll be heading to...

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