01.05.2010 - 01.05.2010
I think the rain is following us.
So today originally was our free day according to our Itinerary, but well up to now our itinerary from these guys hasn't actually meant a lot.
We were picked up by Olga and given a guided tour, MAy 1 is a public Holiday, and several of the roads were closed ready for the May day march that was happening later in the day, we hit the big sites of st Petersburg, and until the last stop only took pictures from the car. The last stop was a church, we have seen many churches in Russia, this will not be the last. The church of the spilled Blood was erected over the spot were one of the Tsars was fatally wounded. Inside the church there is a small section of the cobblestones that were not covered but the building, but were preserved as they had the tsar's blood, hence the name Church of the Spilled Blood.
At the end of the tour we wandered down to St Isaacs, a cathedral that has been rebuilt 3 times. Why is St Isaac important, well the Tsar that founded the city of St Petersburg (Peter the Great) he was born on the day of the Feast of St Isaac. Another Opulent Russian Cathedral, the artwork is truly spectacular, the huge Granite columns make this a striking building inside and out.
Onward to the Hermitage, I really don't know a lot about art except to look at a painting and like/dislike. The Hermitage is massive, and massively popular, we waited in line for 20 minutes before entering the ticket office. People everywhere, I wandered through the paintings quickly, the halls that housed them were more interesting. Some say it takes a week to look at all the artwork in the building. I would agree, i stuck to admiring the walls and ceilings, and the sculptures. I found a Michaelangelo. Also I was very much looking forward to the Main staircase at the Hermitage, but it is currently under restoration. might have to come back at another time.
I finished up before Kat so hung around the exit near the food. A brush with fame, Antonio Banderas was in town and getting a tour of the Hermitage at the same time, I got a glimpse through the entourage as he headed out.
Dinner in a small homey restaurant and back to the hotel. I love Russian TV. For the second time in about 4 days, I have seen an old Jackie Chan film, this time it is Armour of the God. Unfortunately the Russian dubbing makes it very difficult to understand. They just speak Russian over the English, so you can hear the original audio underneath the loud Russian voices. But they are Jackie Chan films, you just need to see the action sequences, not understand the words.
Tomorrow we catch the train to Helsinki