After touring Moscow, I took the high speed train to Saint Petersburg. There are two famous palaces near the city and I decided to visit both of them, both have their merits.
First stop was the Catherine Palace, a palace that impresses anyone who enters.
The palace symmetry is broken by the domes of the palace chapel, the chapel was closed at the time of my visit. The crowd of tourist thins out in the winter, but there there were still a good crowd. I can not imagine what its like in the summer and limited indoor climate control.
The gold domes really shine with the cloudy skies.
I was informed the figures were covered in gold in the past.
After the coat check, you get a taste of what is to come at the main stairs.
The first room is the main ball room, and the theme is gold and mirrors.
As you can see in the reflection the hall is long and covered in gold.
A smaller hall after the grand hall with ornate furnaces for the cold Russian winters.
The golden walkway… you can see there were a lot of tourist even in the winter. Chamber after chamber was as luxurious as the one before.
Then the highlight of the palace, the Amber Room. You can not take pictures inside the room but I took one right before I entered… The walls are part amber and part mirrors. The walls almost seemed to glow from inside.
The history and unsolved mystery of the room adds to the experience. Another shot on the way out. Most of the palace is restored and the room is impressive and worth the visit.
Next highlight was the Picture Hall, it was interesting to hear some of the history and how the room was put together.
After all the gilt gold in the more intimate private quarters but no less fancy. The dining room looked like a Wedgwood dream.
In the winter the gardens of the Catherine Palace is deserted, its worth a walk but its extremely cold. After an intense morning at the Catherine Palace, I head over to Peterhof.
The Grand Palace at Peterhof, most locals just call it Peterhof Palace. Its known for its fun filled lower garden with trick fountains, but in the winter the water works are shut off. The trade off is that the crowd is non-existent. In the winter most tourists skip Peterhof and go to the Catherine Palace.
First I visit the palace rooms, and they are on a smaller scale than the Catherine Palace but is just as impressive, but no picture taking is allowed inside this palace. After the palace I visit the lower garden and the highlight is the cascade. The gold statues are impressive and really shine bright even with gray winter sky.
Some parts of the cascade were covered to prepare for the winter.
The center fountain.
The view from the canal. Impressive to anyone who enters.
Walking back up from the lower garden.
A closer look at some of the gold…
The view from the palace terrace. I enjoyed my palace tours in the winter as I did not have to deal with massive crowds. Some might say I missed the fun fountains, but I felt this is how it was before it was open to the public.