Hello everyone! I am back again with another post! First off I want to thank everyone for reading and all the positive feedback I have received. I really enjoy writing these posts, so it makes it even better that people are actually reading them! Also, I just added a photo gallery of pictures that don't make it in my actual posts. I'm terrible at uploading pics to facebook, so this option is way easier for me. Check it out by clicking "Photo Gallery" on the right!
This past week I was finally able to visit the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. In my eyes, it is St. Petersburg's crown jewel.
It would take you 9 years to see all the exhibits this museum holds. I obviously don't have that kind of time, but the tour we got on Wednesday gave me all the quick highlights. It is made up of 4 parts, The Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, and New Hermitage. Obviously they didn't spend much time thinking of names for these 4 sections, but each one offers something different.
The Winter Palace was definitely my favorite. It is the former main residence of Russian tsars since Peter the Great was in power. The beauty within the walls of the palace is truly indescribable, and the pictures don't do it justice. I spent most of my time in there with my jaw hanging open gazing at the detailed ceilings and arches in awe.
I didn't think the Hermitage could get much better than that, but it certainly did. I was able to see paintings from Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo! I am certainly going back to see as much of the museum as possible. I even picked up an application to volunteer there! Even without any Russian language experience (besides reciting the alphabet), they said I could help catalog artifacts or put out chairs around the museum when needed. I'm hoping I get to do more of the first task...
|I'm the girl in red deep in thought...lol|
All in all, the Hermitage was breathtaking and I can't wait to go back. Luckily its free for students! After finishing our tour and picking up a volunteer application, the sun was setting and the lights in Palace Square started turning on. Once again, absolutely stunning. I couldn't get any good pictures, but here's what it looked like during the day!
That's all I have for this post! To wrap it up, basically Russians really know how to decorate. Kinda wish I was born into a royal family now, although it didn't end up too well for Anastasia...Anyways, thanks for reading and keeping up with my explorations and monkey sightings! Bye for now!
So that's the Hermitage! Then on Saturday my study abroad group hopped on a bus for a tour of Catherine's Palace. The palace is about an hour outside of the city in a town called Pushkin, named after the famous Russian poet. The one word I would use to describe Catherine's Palace: gilded. Every wall of the palace shines so bright, it was dazzling.
|Dining room goals|
Sadly, we were not allowed to take pictures of The Amber Room in Catherine's Palace. This is a room completely covered in varying shades and shapes of pure amber. Unfortunately, it was a recreation of the original because it was stolen by the Nazis during the time they occupied St. Petersburg. Here's a picture I took from google to show how intricate every inch of this amber covered room is.
What I enjoyed most about Catherine Palace was definitely the gardens. We walked around for a bit and explored the tree-lined paths and bridges. It started to snow and for the first time I thought how peaceful it was rather than how annoying the snow is when I'm in the city. I cant wait to go back to those gardens in spring when it is even more beautiful with the gardens in bloom.
We came across a smaller building in the gardens and a nice lady took a picture for us! We weren't sure what this building was used for, but there were pulleys and other ropes indicating it was some type of bell tower. I loved the bright colors and intricate gold details. The guide told us that before the palace's restoration, all the painted goldish-yellow figures and details you see used to be completely gilded.
To top off my great day in Pushkin, I saw a monkey in a cheetah print snowsuit. The owner was charging 200 rubles (roughly $3) for pictures with it, so we just ooh-ed and ah-ed at it instead. It was soo cute but when the man came up to us holding the monkey she started waving her arms at me and making weird noises...Kinda freaky to be honest. Luckily my roommate snapped a pic of it when the guy wasn't looking!!
|Photo evidence of the Russian monkey in a snowsuit|