"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

St Pete Day 1

I wish that I could cut my whole trip into just one concise post… or even two posts… I just don’t think I can do it!  This trip to St Pete was just about perfect in my book, and I want to remember it well.  My mom is probably the best person to travel with, she’s easy going, she’s always ready to go, and she’s always happy to let me spend as much time doing what I want as I want!  And she lets me plan our itinerary Smile.  That is what I call a winning combination.

Our first morning… Isla is ready to go!

Im Ready Mom

We stayed on the Nevsky prospect, which is the most famous street in all of Russia.  It was a great location!  We decided that we wanted to head to the Hermitage Museum first.  The Hermitage Museum is the former Winter Palace of the Russian Tsars, and it is HUGE and filled with priceless art and statues.  I love museums… I mean I LOVE museums so I could not wait to go and see it!  The is one of THE MUSEUMS to see if you are a museum-o-phile like me.

I am certainly not an art critic by anyone’s stretch of the imagination, and I couldn’t tell you a thing about color or technique, but I love looking at all of the art works.  I like to know the story behind all of the paintings, who painted it, what were they like, who did they paint if for, what were they thinking when they painted it, what is the painting about, what was the artist trying to say in the painting.  I just love it.  I wish that there was a book that went with each painting, and that I had all the time in the world to go and sit by each picture and learn all about them.

Anyway, we set out and decided to stop at one of the many bridges of St Pete for a photo op.  Peter the Great founded St Petersburg and he was a huge fan of the Dutch; he thought that they were the bees knees.  He envisioned a city built on canals, similar to Amsterdam, and although he was not able to make it quite so aquatic, there is still water everywhere, along with many beautiful bridges.


We had a map, but we still did not have a good feel for the city… along the way we got a wee bit distracted by this beauty in the distance on a side street and decided to take a little detour.

Church on Blood

WOW!  That’s about the purtiest church that I have ever seen.

Church on Spilled Blood 2Church on Spilled Blood

It is called the Church on Spilled Blood.  We did not go inside, which I could kick myself for, we thought we had more time later although in the end we did not!

Here is a little bit more about it if you are a geek like me and are dying to know!

Church Plaque

Anyway, my mom we got a little bit distracted by the most excellent souvenir market near the Church on Spilled Blood.  We did a little bit of shopping and then headed over the Hermitage…

N Hermitage 2N Hermitage

The other side of the courtyard… its immense.

Not the Hermitage

At least, that was what we thought was the Hermitage.  We spent a good bit of time taking pictures there and walking around.  We started to look for an entrance and couldn’t find one, and then we realized…

The Hermitage was across the courtyard.  This was the Hermitage.  Thank goodness for travel books with pictures!


The Hermitage

Ahem.  I need to get on my high horse for a second.  Thank goodness I read and plan so much because I read a nice little tip that we could purchase our tickets in advance for the Hermitage, which we did, and that allowed us to bypass a line that took up the entire inner courtyard of the Hermitage and barely moved.  This picture was taken at the end of the day so the line was gone, but you can imagine that it was pretty long.  People can make fun all they want, but at times like this… I laugh all the way to front of the line, HA!

Hermitage Courtyard

Once inside, my mom and I praised the stroller Gods for pointing me in the direction of my MicraLITE Toro.  We were very appreciative of the fact that it only weighed 17 lbs because we spent four days carrying it up and down stairs like these…

Stairs 1

…and these!  We got a great arm workout.

More Stairs

Apparently there were not a lot of elevator shafts in 17th century St Petersburg.

I loved every second of the Hermitage.  Isla fell asleep right when we got inside so I was able to take my time and enjoy myself!

Anna Speet

The Russian Tsars sure loved their gold!  I think this is called Baroque style.  Everything was gold!  Even building roofs were gold in St Petersburg.

Pot of Gold

The grand entrance.

Heaven Im in Heaven

Look at how beautiful and intricate the floors were!  The Hermitage was huge and went on and on, and every room had a different pattern and they were so ornate.

Hermitage Floors

And the same goes for the ceilings!!!  Incredible new designs in room after room.

Inside Hermitage 1

Every room had a little old babushka, or grandmother, sitting in a corner, waiting to scold people for using their cameras or just to keep watch over things in general.  Its pretty cute because I am not sure that they could do much if something ever did happen, but still they are in every single room. Some of them fell asleep at their posts; it was so cute Smile

Anyway, all spring that I have been here in Novo at least once a day I have a babushka come up to me, and in Russian tell me that I need to bundle Isla up more and then they will tighten her hat strings or button her up and tighten her blanket around her and love on her.  And they all do this.  My pastor Ilya says that they send all Russian grandmothers to the same school Smile.  While we were in the Hermitage we put Isla’s blanket over her to keep out the light and we had at least three babushkas come up to us and tell us that we needed to remove the blanket because Isla was probably too hot!  They did that several times through out the trip… apparently I cannot win with the babushkas!!!  No matter how I dress Isla, I just cannot please them!Inside Hermitage 2

There were only a handful of rooms that we could take pictures in, I had such a good time walking through them.  Each room was dedicated to a different country and time period.  My favorite room was the Flemish room because it had at least half a dozen works by my favorite painter, Peter Paul Rubens.  It was so cool.

Anyway, after the Hermitage we went and scoped out all that we planned for Day 2 and then went back to our hotel.  It doesn’t sound like much, but it was a pretty full day.  Everything shuts down by 6 PM, and we walked quite a bit and spent a lot of time at the Hermitage, although not nearly enough IMHO.


  1. I'm not a huge on museums, unless there is lots of impressionist art, but the building looks amazing . . . I think even I would have enjoyed this. Good luck with the babushkas! funny stuff!

  2. oh and your mom sounds awesome to travel with!

  3. She is! I think she might even beat out Nick. :)

  4. I love the stories of little old ladies coming up and fussing over Isla — I love the elderly!


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