Monday 10 July 2006
Highlights: Pushkin Palace (Summer Palace), Petredvoert (Versailles of Russia), Attending the ballet – Swan Lake
This morning I visited what is now know as the Pushkin Palace (after famous Russian poet) but was the former Summer Palace of the Tsars. This palace was occupied by the Nazis in WWII and severely damaged, so much so that they are still fixing this palace. The palace is incredible, especially the architecture. The Romanovs (Tsars) spared no expense building this place. In fact they hired the best artist etc from Western Europe or sent locals to Rome to study and came back and build this place.
Peter the Great loved Western Europe which is why he built St Petersburg to get Russia closer to Europe. In the afternoon I visited Petredvoert which was a summer residence of Tsar Peter the Great and has been compared to Versailles in France (which I think is a fair comparison). The grounds are breathtaking. In summer the fountains are a sight to behold.
They don’t use pumps but instead nature via water pressure, a brilliant design. In the evening I attended a ballet, Swan Lake, and I was very impressed. I go to the theatre usually a few times a year, and I actually saw my first Opera overseas in Vienna, but the ballet might have to become a regular event for me. The theatre wasn’t air conditioned (and the day got to 35 degrees) but I still loved the performance. Apparently the ending of Swan Lake can vary but tonight we got the happy ending.