|Church at Monastery|
On our final full day in Russia we were treated first to a special celebration for the birthday of Alena's sister and then a tour of Catherine Palace outside the city at Pushkin.
|My handmade Russian doll|
Most appropriate, don't you think!
|Pretty cup and plates. And that delicious salmon!|
I never got the name of this monastery. It was not the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. And it was not the Smolny Convent and Monastery. I found this site listing monasteries in St. Petersburg but none of these appear to be the one we visited, as you can see from the few photos taken with the iPhone. I forgot to bring the camera this day (so no good photos of Catherine Palace either).
List of important churches and monasteries in St. Petersburg
|Scrumptious baked goods!|
Tables had been set up in the rear room, covered in nice plates and serving dishes and scrumptious looking baked goods. There were also small plates of smoked salmon (yay!!!) and small bowls of red caviar. Large plates of "pancakes" were passed around upon which one was supposed to spread the caviar and or smoked salmon and a smear of something white (cream cheese? sour cream? yogurt?). I passed on these and just ate a piece of smoked salmon. Oh so good. I was not really ready for caviar first thing in the morning.
|Riza and new sister-in-law, with his|
mom and dad on either side.
And all the sweet baked goods were delicious! I have forgotten all the things we sampled but every one of them was delicious. And that Russian style tea is amazing. Really enjoyed that every time at every place during our stay.
After stuffing ourselves yet again with great foods, we wandered through the gift shop nearby. It was filled almost entirely with religious items but I did manage to find a small glass cube with skyline of St. Petersburg etched inside. That will go to our granddaughter as a Russian souvenir.
|Church at the monastery|
|Monastery grounds and buildings|
|One of hundreds of garden paths|
at Catherine Palace
|One end of Catherine Palace|
This church and other buildings at this monastery were beautiful. Wish we had at least learned the name of it.
Riza walked the group out to the main road and arranged a taxi van to take 6 of us out to Pushkin and then back to our hotel. It was a long drive out there. In the cold rain. At least no ice yet this day.
|One of many buildings at|
|In the Great Hall of Catherine Palace|
Pushkin is the current name of the small town of Tsarskoy Selo. And the site of the famous Catherine Palace and its many gardens and fountains and stables.
|Did I mention that there is a LOT of gold gilt|
|More gold rooms in palace|
On these grounds are also situated the Alexander Palace and the White Tower and the Imperial Farm. In total, there were 30 places to see, many of these huge structures. The largest of which was the Catherine Palace.
|And yet more gold|
|A more sedate use of the gold|
The Catherine Palace was mostly constructed under direction of Empress Elisabeth, daughter of Peter the Great.
|In heaven. In a place I never thought|
possible to personally visit.
|Bill among the tourists, admiring the gold.|
|Note the elaborate wooden marquetry floor.|
|A very fancy desk.|
I want it!
|Fireplaces or sources of heating were|
camouflaged by beautiful tiles.
|I would buy this chair today.|
Amazing how classic styles
do not change. Of course, I
would not have that gold.
The most famous room is the Amber Room. Today it is all reconstructed and renovated after a fire after being occupied by the Nazis in WWII for 3 years during the siege of St. Petersburg. Photos were not allowed in the reconstructed Amber Room, but it looked just like the images in this YouTube video of the original room, pre-Nazi looting.
YouTube Video of Catherine Palace and info
|Another classic style chair|
Info about the palace on this site
Nice photos on this palace tour site
Another link about grounds at Catherine Palace
|Classic dining side chair|
Each of the 3 chairs in these photos are such classic style that these would be big sellers in a high-quality furniture store even today.
We would buy any of these today -- without all that gilded gold, of course!