This post has been a long time coming. We went to St Petersburg way back in July already for our holiday, but more importantly it was to attend the baptism of my niece. I am her godfather. Yes, I am the Godfather! As you can see, I have a lot of fun with it. The focus of this post though will be more about the city and some of the places we saw, than about the baptism as I want to do another post about it later.
We got to there just after White Nights, which basically means that the sun does not set until after midnight and rises before five in the morning, thus a very short night. We did not really mind, as it gave us a chance to do more and catch up on sleep a bit later. As before, the city itself is very beautiful and we managed to see quite a few things we never saw on the last trip. Places we saw this time include Catherine Palace, Peterhof Palace, Peter and Paul Fortress, The Saint Petersburg Metro and a night out in the village.
The metro is probably the best value sightseeing one will ever get. It costs around 60p (GBP) to enter the metro and you can then travel anywhere. The stations are really amazing and exhibits many typical Soviet designs and features exquisite decorations and artwork. We literally spend one evening after the rush hour going from station to station to photograph their interiors. Below are some images from the stations, in the following order Narvskaya, Kirovsky Zavod and Avtovo.
One aspect of St Petersburg that always amused us, are the number of wedding parties we see having their photo’s taken all over the city. There is always a distinctive white limo with two gold bands attached to the bonnet wherever you look. Not far away you will find the bride having her photo’s taken. At one particularly popular spot, there was a whole collections of pad locks attached to the bridge, obviously for luck and a prosperous marriage. Someone really needed a lot of good luck, as the one padlock was probably the side of a small suitcase.
One of the places we had not previously seen was Peter and Paul Fortress, which was the original citadel founded by Peter the Great in 1703. The Peter and Paul Cathedral is also the burial place of many of the Russian tzars, from Peter I to Alexander III. Though for me the most fascinating part photographically was the bell tower which contains a carillon and had some really good light. I spend a good hour just playing trying to capture some good images.
No trip to St Petersburg is complete unless you visit one of the palaces. You have to visit Peterhof and its amazing gardens and fountains. It was our second visit and once again did not disappoint, though far busier this time, it was still well worth the visit. The second palace we went to was Catherine Palace which is a Rococo palace located in Pushkin about 25km outside of the city. One of the most remarkable themes of the visits this time round was comparing what the buildings looked like pre World War 2, post World War 2 and finally complete renovated into their current state. The palaces looked almost completely destroyed and it is remarkable just how much effort went into restoring the buildings. Another aspect was the people who risked their lives carrying all the valuable works of art and contents from the palaces back to the city as the Germans were approaching in order to save them from being captured or destroyed.
The final few images are from around St Petersburg. The Church on Spilt Blood is always a popular stop along the tour of the city and once again proved worth it. It always delivers some interesting photographic opportunities, from capturing the building to some very excellent people snapping. The last two images were from the baptism boat trip where I was playing with motion and reflection.
Thank you for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it and get inspired to visit St Petersburg.