I have to admit, we were feeling pretty flat after our first day in Russia. I really wasn’t looking forward to our second day there, and of course Tyrone was dreading the lunch situation happening again. We made sure we picked up some cookies on the boat just in case.
On our second day we had a different tour guide and she seemed to be a lot more understanding of Tyrone’s dietary requirements. She also turned out to be an amazing tour guide and had a real talent for making Russian history more understandable!
The first stop was Catherine’s Palace which is located in the town of Pushkin. It was about an hours drive from the ship.
The palace was the summer residence of the Russian tsars. Just like Peterhof Palace, the building was destroyed in World War II. It blows my mind how well they have been able to restore such a huge and intricately designed building.
I’m sure we can all agree that the colour of Catherine’s Palace is beautiful. I think I should paint the outside of my house blue too!
We took a tour of the inside of the palace. As with Peterhof Palace we had to wear lovely slippers on our feet to protect the floors.
After taking a look inside of the palace we walked around the gardens.
After visiting Catherine’s Palace we drove into St Petersburg for lunch. We were pleasantly surprised to find we were going to a different restaurant for lunch and it was actually a really lovely place. Our guide made sure that the staff were aware that Tyrone was a vegetarian and he actually ended up eating well that day.
The Church on Spilled Blood
In the afternoon we were taken on a panoramic tour of St Petersburg and one of the first stops was the Church on Spilled Blood (also known as the Church of the Savior on Blood). It sort of looks like Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, but not quite as colourful.
Sadly part of the building was covered in scaffolding (why does this always happen to us?!) so it was a struggle to get decent photos of it.
We didn’t have time to go inside the church which is a shame because I’ve seen photos and it looks absolutely stunning.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral
The next stop on our tour was St. Isaac’s Cathedral. It’s the fourth largest cathedral (by volume under the cupola) in the world. Again, we didn’t have time to go inside.
After our very short stop at St. Isaac’s we were taken to a state owned shop. Yes, I know, the idea of a state owned shop sounds really dodgy, and I don’t really know the ins and outs of why they exist or how they function, but it was a part of the excursion so we didn’t have much choice.
I did purchase a Christmas decoration from there, and the good thing is you in the state owned shop you can pay with Euros or US Dollars. Tyrone and I tried on some Russian military hats that were for sale just to kill time!
I think I would have rather spent the time exploring St Petersburg but that’s what happens when you go on an organised tour.
Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral
Our final stop of the day was, yes you guessed it, another cathedral! This time it was the Peter and Paul Cathedral and we actually got chance to go inside this one. Here’s a picture of it from a distance:
The Peter and Paul Cathedral is located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress, which is the original citadel of St Peterburg. If you were to look at it from above you would see that the walls of the fortress form a sort of star shape.
The cathedral itself is the oldest landmark in St Petersburg. It’s really strange how the photo I took inside of the cathedral makes the ceiling look green, because it was green at all!
Overall, I really enjoyed our second day in St Petersburg and I’m glad we decided not to cancel this excursion after the problems we had experience the day before. I went from really not liking the city to actually falling a little bit in love with it. I like to think of it as a cross between Rome and London.
Would I go to Russia again? No, probably not. Am I glad I went? Yes, of course. Do I want to see another palace or cathedral? Not for a little while!
If you are a fed up of hearing about Russia then don’t worry; the next post in my series is about Helsinki in Finland!