"my dogs are barking!"

… as my mum would say (a.k.a. my feet are sore!) We had an extremely long day today on a Semester at Sea trip called “In Peter’s Footsteps”, where we visited several residences of Peter the Great. It was very long, as previously mentioned, but really nice as well.

We started at Peter and Paul Fortress which was interesting to see since all we have seen everyday until now is the outside walls (which aren’t much to look at). Inside, it’s quite different... several beautiful buildings, a monument to him, another beautiful cathedral, and a wonderful view across the Neva River.

After that we got back on a bus and went to see the original modest log cabin that he had lived in, which has had a gallery built around it to protect it. Interesting as well… we’ve learned about all of these people of power in a political sense, and now we became more acquainted with them on a more personal level.

Next we traveled to his Summer Palace and Garden, where we had an extremely overly educational (interesting, but overboard) tour of the palace. Just as all over the rest of St. Petersburg, I find it curious that there are intimidating looking guards everywhere and yet they don’t do anything when you set off a metal detector (like I did, going into the house). Oh well, maybe their main duty is just to look scary!

Finally we drove for about an hour to get to Peterhof which is a beautiful town on the south coast of the Gulf of Finland, founded by Peter the Great. It was incredibly beautiful as we walked through the gardens and parks (filled with perfectly engineered pump-less fountains). Although Peterhof came under Nazi control during the war, much of it has been very well restored by now; even the massive amounts of trees cut down by the Nazis had all been replanted years ago. We toured Monplaisir while we were there, which was a very modest residence said to be Peter’s favorite at Peterhof. He was obsessed with the sea, and it overlooked the gulf... so I can imagine that was quite a heavenly place for him to live!

I can’t believe we have already been here in Russia for four days and are leaving tomorrow… it feels as if we have just arrived. Especially given that, I have lots of schoolwork to get to as usual, so I’m off!

cathedral inside peter + paul fortress

ornate cathedral dome

inside of cathedral (my camera made it look like a painting)

prohibited activities in the fortress - note the fellow skiing (lower left bit)

in case you forgot how to use a toilet!

main palace at peterhof

peterhof’s view to the gulf of finland

treelike jester fountain - triggered by someone hidden in the bushes


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