We were picked up from the ship at 7.30 am for another day of sight seeing with TJ Travel.
Our first stop was the the souvenir shop owned by the agency so that we could pay for our two day’s of sight seeing. The shop was quite large and the items on display interesting and not all that expensive, but looked better quality than other shops that we had visited. The cost for the two full days, which included lunch on the first day was less than half of a similar itinerary offered by the cruise ship, and our group was only twelve people as against 40 to 50 for the ship’s tours. A little research returns a lot of money.
As we entered the agent’s shop we were offered tea or coffee or vodka, plain or flavoured, so of course, some of us had to try the plain & flavoured followed by cold water. It was 5.00 pm somewhere in the world, it was just that we weren’t there at the time.
Back on the bus for the day’s viewing.
They began building in 1801 and finished in 1811, and it was General Mikhall Kutuzov, who visited the new cathedral to pray for help against Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812.
At that time the war against France was called ‘the Patriotic War’. Later, after Napoleon had been forced to leave Moscow and retreat over the land that he already ravished, and the Russian had burned during their scorched earth retreat, it was the beginning of the end of the Grand Armée of France.
After the French retreat the cathedral became a memorial to the ultimate victory of the Russians against the French.
While looking at the outside of the cathedral I saw this statue and thought I recognised the individual, because of my interest in the Napoleonic wars.
I was correct it was General Mikhall Kutuzov – I asked the guide to make sure, and she confirmed my observation. I didn’t go in the cathedral and spent some time talking to the guide about Kutuzov and the battle of Borodino in 1812. She seemed surprised at my interest, because I wasn’t Russian.
Across the road from the cathedral is Singer House, as in Singer Sewing Machine.
Also known in St Petersburg as the ‘house of books’.
Originally to be built as a skyscraper, similar to Singer Sewing Machine’s head office in New York.
Their head office was forty seven stories, built in 1908 and was the tallest building in the world until 1909.
Singer management wanted a similar building in St Pertersburg.
St Petersburg would not allow a building to be taller than the Winter Palace, which was the emperor’s residence. This would limit the height to a six story building and 23.5 mtrs. The architect added a glass tower and then a glass globe on the top. It gave a feeling of height without overshadowing other buildings.
In the first world war it was the US embassy for a short while, and in 1919 after the Revolution, it was given to the Petrograd State Publishing House and soon became one of the largest bookshops in St Pertersburg, which is why it carries the title of House of Books.
As I took the pictures of the Singer House I saw this building across the road. I’ve no idea what it is or its history but the one thing you notice in St Petersburg are the magnificent buildings that are no longer ‘Palaces’ or the homes of the aristocracy, yet still have that wow feeling that makes you wonder who lived there, who were they, and what happened to them . . .
As we approached the landing stage to board our river cruise I saw another ‘I wonder?’ which was next door to much more modern building ‘White Night Music Joint’.
‘White Night Music Joint’, fails to conjure up thoughts of 19th century balls with well dressed officers escorting gowned ladies on to the dance floor.
We boarded our boat on the Griboyedov Canal, to sail down to the Neva River.
As we sailed under the first bridge a young man, perhaps no more than fifteen years old, waved at us, so of course we all waved back, and thought nothing of it.
Buildings for the imagination on both side of the large canal.
The next bridge and guess who is waiting to wave at us?
He waved, we waved, and he started running again.
The next bridge – we were late or he was a lot fitter than we thought, and he was waving.
All our yesterdays on both side of the canal.
Our running man is there again, and he must have waved to us from five or six bridges before we entered the Neva River and lost sight of him. As we passed under the ‘waving’ bridges, the cheers of the passengers got louder, because he must have run miles, and at a very good speed, to beat the boat so as to be waiting on each bridge.
We’ve entered the Neva River – could we have asked for better weather?
The Peter & Paul fortress from the river.
The small beach of the fortress.
The river side buildings and another tourist boat chugging along.
The yellow building is the Admiralty Building that I’ve mentioned before.
Who lives here now?
I wonder if they sell homes with water views or is that just in Sydney?
We followed other boats and did a 180 degree turn to go along side the pier for disembarkation. It did go through my mind that we might meet our bridge runner, perhaps for a tip – he certainly deserved one for the entertainment that he gave us.
The crowds have started to gather at the Hermitage Museum, as we are ushered in via a side door.
I never saw the bridge runner again.