Days 21: St. Petersburg Sightseeing: Plenty of time in St Petersburg to get acquainted with the fascinating history and way of life. Our sightseeing tour includes the great Winter Palace, the incredible Hermitage Museum; visit Petrodvorets with its palaces, parks and fountains. And for a taste of local flavour, anyone for caviar and a vodka chaser? (Breakfast and Dinner included)
Hotel: LDM Ulitsa Professora Popova
Breakfast: 8:30 Bus departs: 9:00
The bodies of Nicholas II’s family were found in 1991 and were given a state funeral, by 1998 DNA testing showed a 98.5% chance that the bodies were Nicholas II, Alexandra, Tatiana, Olga, and either Maria or Anastasia. The bodies of Alexei and Anastasia have not been found.
At 11:40 we were dropped off near the Nevsky Prospect McDonalds and had free time till 1:30. Today we had KFC for lunch, the workers hear understood enough for us to order. We ended up with enough time to not really do anything other then walk down Nevsky Prospect a bit. Our 1:30 meeting today was for our tour of the Hermitage, which I was very excited to see.
The reason we went to the Hermitage today instead of yesterday is that yesterday there were 5 cruise ships in town and the place would be mobbed, this is the value of having a tour guide. As excited as I was I was literally falling asleep standing up and walking, that would explain why I was walking like a drunk and bumping into people. It was kind of bazaar, but I do remember seeing many of the rooms in the Winter Palace and some of the famous works of art throughout the museum, I’m glad I got a book on the Hermitage. From what I remember it was a remarkable place with all the formal gold and jewles you might imagine. After the tour I decided not to continue walking around the museum for obvious reasons. I decided to find the internet and write home instead. Well I waited on line for 15 minutes at a coffee shop counter to buy 20 minutes of internet. The guy in front of me complained to some woman who had cut the line, she just showed her Hermitage id, said she worked there and gave the look of death. When I got to the cashier I was told they couldn’t sell anymore time because they were closing in 15 minutes, NIET NIET!!!!! I must have given her the look of death because she called over the manager who explained it again. I swear, I almost jumped over the counter and strangled someone. It made me very cranky for a while, but I was able to save other people from wasting 15 minutes of their time on line, at least there was that.
We walked around a bit, saw some brides (these were not the first brides we saw in St. Petersburg, we had seen at least one everyday we were here) and walked over to the Church of the Spilled blood and a miracle happened, I actually bought a matryoska doll, yea! I even bargained for it. She tried to sell me another one that wasn’t as nice since it was closer to my price range, but I liked the one I picked out much better.
At 5:00 we were picked up and taken to two photo stops, St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral and the palace where Rasputin was assassinated. Rasputin became a fixture with the Tsar’s family and many believed he was really controlling the Tsar’s decisions, some thought he was the Tsarina’s lover too. In December 1916 those loyal to the Tsar thought he had too much power and assassinated Rasputin. They tried to poison him, but that didn’t work so they shot him. When he was still moving after being shot they clubbed him and dragged him to the Neva River and threw him in – the cause of death was drowning.