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Darkness had descended on the magical city of St. Petersburg and a soft rain was falling as we set off for an exclusive evening tour of the Hermitage Museum, ten kilometres from the vast sea port where our cruise ship, Holland America’s  Zuiderdam was securely docked for our overnight in St. Petersburg. Situated on the Gulf of Finland, where the Neva River empties into the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea, St. Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great (1672 – 1725) in 1703, replacing Moscow as Russia’s capital city. Among its many opulent palaces, churches and museums, perhaps the […]

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The Hermitage Museum occupies five buildings on its main site (and three satellites here in St. Petersburg, as well as in a few major cities around the world). The main building is the Winter Palace, the St. Petersburg home of the tsars until the Revolution, which has since been part of the Museum.

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Sunday in Russia is like a romantic Seurat painting: everyone is out in the parks and by the canals and the rivers, enjoying the warm sunny weather on their one day liberated from work. Families eating ice cream, and couples, the men smartly dressed, the women with their lipstick just so, walking or sitting on park benches holding hands, some drinking beer, others possibly some cold vodka. Several are picnicking, some are playing volleyball, all seem to be enjoying the fact that summer has arrived, for today at least. 40 Minutes to Pavlovsk and Tsarskoe Selo We too are having a […]

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It is our last day in St. Petersburg, and the light is beautiful. Our train is not until 4:30 and we have officially finished with our guide Nico so we pack and organize ourselves, check out of the hotel and grab the number 22 bus to St. Isaac’s Cathedral for a day of last minute sightseeing. On our first visit to St. Isaacs we didn’t have the opportunity to spend any real time inside the church-turned-museum, so today we head back for a second look. It is known as one of the most beautiful churches in Europe, and it truly is. Ornate […]

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