RST Day 3: getting lost in st petersburg.

I’m going to keep writing like I actually wrote in on the actual day. I don’t know why, but I’m weird, so deal with it. :)

Sunday, 17th October, 2010

Today was the visit to The Hermitage/Winter Palace. It was built by Peter the Great for his daughter Catherine, in which she housed a number of her prized paintings/statues/super special awesome clock thing.

We took the bus and dropped near by, took a short walk to the main square AND THEN IT WAS SNOWING. Awesomeness. :) And so exciting. :))

the hermitage; SNOWSNOW!; poser.

Fun facts:
– If you looked at each exhibit for 30 seconds, it would take you 11 years to get through the entire collection.
– The building used to be painted a red, but it was later repainted the current light green.
– The museum takes up 6 buildings worth of space! However, only 4 are open to the general public.

So I mentioned the Hermitage was big right? Here are some a lot of pics from inside.

inside the hermitage.

The interior is so ornate though, what you would expect from a palace I guess. Of the pictures below, The Peacock Clock (top-middle) is one of the first pieces that Catherine II acquired for her collection. It is apparently still in working order, but is only wound up for special visitors. One thing that really excited me, though, was the Rembrandt Room (bottom-right). That was super cool, since Rembrandt is one of my favourite painters, when I decide to be particularly artsy. :) I’m not actually sure what the various rooms are; we were whizzed through on a crazy tour. Oh well, looks like I will have to revisit Russia. :)

more of the hermitage.

Seriously though, wandering around inside, you could get completely lost. But there is just so much to see, in terms of exhibits, but also the architecture of the place. I totally loved this blue crystal light (top-left). Another thing, it was lucky that we went as a group, because the line to get inside was absolutely crazy (bottom-middle). I cannot imagine what it would be like in summer. I actually spoke to our guide (who was fabulous) and I asked her what it was like in summer, because it was already so crowded when we were inside. She kind of groaned and said how it was next to impossible to move, or even see some of the exhibits, it got thaat crowded! So note to self, when I go back, avoid summer… even if it would be nice weather!

more inside and some outside of the hermitage.

The Hermitage houses so many different styles of art, across different periods and countries. There was so much though, it was overwhelming at times. I’m glad that our guide took us by the way that she did, because we got to see a good variety- Italian Renaissance, French Neoclassical, Impressionist, post-Impressionist, and even some Modern art.

monet, van gogh and picasso.

After our whirlwind 2-hour tour, C, B and I managed to find each other again and set off to St Isaacs once again. Luckily, the skies had cleared up and we were given some beautiful blue skies. :)

blue skies, blue skies!

We may have gone around in a bit of a circle at one point, but we made it, and headed on up to the colonnade.

stairs up st isaacs. 200 spirally ones was only part of it. :)

Once we got to the top, we were rewarded with beautiful views of the city. Only a couple of days in and there is already so much that I love about this city.

hello st petersburg.

view from the top.

the colonnade.

After St Isaacs, we wandered the streets a bit more, seeing the Mariinsky Palace (top-left), canals, Nicholas I (bottom-left), and oh yeah, that’s St Isaacs (bottom-right).

a little bit of wandering.

A late lunch was in order and we were lucky to find this awesome little Italian place. I guess it’s something you can’t really go wrong with, and it had a really good vibe. Food was excellent too.

super pizza man... and food.

After lunch, it was back to the streets. We spotted this sign in a window of a bar.

how to drink vodka.

One thing that I have noticed about St Petersburg so far is that there are a looot of statues to various people littered throughout the city. However, the names are generally all written in Cyrillic, making it difficult to figure out just who they are trying to honour. Here is just one of the random statue men.

random statue man.

As we wandered the streets, we came close to Gostiny Dvor, a huge department store, (although I do not think top-left is it exactly; but it does look somewhat like that), some sort of military academy, and then a military product store. We headed back to the market near the Church of Spilled Blood, and I bought a couple of things, before splitting in search of the Mariinsky Theatre for the night’s opera performance. Except, I may have gotten a little lost on the way. And time was ticking. So I caught the metro a few stops, got off and, after a quick consult, headed in what I thought was the right direction. After a lot of walking, I realised that things started to look familiar, and I had in fact made my way to the Mariinsky Palace (as I’ve mentioned somewhere above). That’s what I get for reading my map and walking at the same time. I checked again, and found that the Mariinsky Theatre was a few blocks away. I decided to follow the canal so that I would not get lost. I got to the Theatre at about 6.45 (bottom-right), with the opera starting at 7pm.

a little bit of st petersburg.

However, when I went inside, I was met by a few men sitting at a table. They looked a bit like security, and so I thought that it was just some standard procedure to get inside. One of the men then stopped me and told me in very broken English that I was in the wrong place. Poor little confused me did not understand how I could be in the wrong place. I showed him my ticket again and something clicked for him and he directed me to a computer screen and pointed to the place that Ineeded to get to. I soon realised that the Mariinsky Theatre, where I was, and the Mariinsky Concert Hall, where I needed to be, were not the same thing. And the little map he tried to show me didn’t really help, seeing as I couldn’t really figure out where I was in relation.

So I did the next best thing. I headed back to the street and stopped a little old lady. I showed her my ticket and pointed to the words in Russian and, after a second, she nodded and tried to give me directions in Russian. I wasn’t quite sure where I was going, but at least now I had a general idea. As I ran for a few blocks, I kept stopping random people on the street, one girl with a violin who luckily spoke a bit of broken English, another group of girls, and finally…

inside and outside the mariinsky concert hall.

… I made it. And just in time too. I was a mess after running around like a crazy person, but I got there in time and everything. *phew*

So tonight, we saw a performance of Le nozze di figaro (“The Marriage of Figaro”) in Russian. It was definitely an interesting experience, but I think opera is not really for me… particularly when it is in Russian!

le nozze di figaro, at the mariinsky concert hall.

After a lovely night out with the girls, we made our way back to the hotel, but not before spotting the beautifully lit up St Nicholas Cathedral on our way home.

st nicholas cathedral, by night.

And now I am back at the hotel, playing Golf with B and C. It may be a late night. :)

I can’t remember just how late we stayed up but… oh the things that I would like to write here, but probably shouldn’t. Maybe I will add them later, for memory’s sake. But there we go, a little bit more of Russia for you. :)

misselty.

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  • Comments (4)
    • shanaya
    • November 17th, 2010

    wow russia looks soooo beautiful! and cold.

    love the pics. esp the first inside the hermitage. so pretty.

    i like monet best.

    lol at you running around. but so many places with similar names would make it confusing.

    wow…opera. its so loud. and i imagine the russian wasnt making too much sense…

      • misselty
      • November 18th, 2010

      it iis such a beautiful place. st petes more than moscow though. and yes cold coooold. lol.

      yeah there is supposed to be a grand staircase with that picture you like… but it was under restoration. T_T lol. it’s the trend in europe atm…

      yes running around… i was getting so freaked out because time was a ticking.

      yeaaaah. the ballet was cooler. xD

        • shanaya
        • November 21st, 2010

        ballet ♥ which one did you see again?

      • misselty
      • November 24th, 2010

      we ended up seeing swan lake…. :)))

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