Day 8 (March 26, 2015)   Peterhof


   This day we’ll visit Peterhof Palace. For this we’ll use the hydrofoils leaving by the Admiralty building, just one street from the hotel.

   At afternoon, back in Saint Petersburg, we could explore Hermitage Museum if there is enough time and we didn’t the previous day.


   The spots marked at map are:

 0- Van stop
 1- Upper Gardens
 2- Lower Gardens
 3- Grand Palace
 4- Grand Cascade


  This is low season, nothing sails the frozen water here, and this includes hydrofoils. Fountains at Peterhof will be off but this, at least, I already knew. My wife choose to keep resting at room as tomorrow she’ll come to Catherine Palace, which is the best visit of the two in winter.

Avtovo Metro stationLine of vans to Peterhof

   I follow the indications to reach Peterhof by land easily: Take metro to Avtovo station and once outside I can see the vans across the street. I have a walk, though, until the crossing point. There is a long line of vans and I must go to the first one where I take the last available seat. After a while on road I can change to the first seat, just after the driver and I just say “Fountains”, he shakes and points with the fingers in a clear sign for “later on”. With this I’ve manage he tells me when it is and it’s not obvious. The reference can be the beautiful cathedral in Peterhof town, just across the road of the entrance to the complex. The total time of this trip from hotel has been a bit over one hour.

Peterhof Upper Gardens
Peterhof Upper GardensPeterhof fountains covered in winter

   I walk through the Upper Gardens and I can see the palace in front of me. There is no green around and I find out the sculptures are covered by wooden boxes, I guess to protect them from the hard winter here. At the other side of the palace, once at Lower Gardens, I find the Grand Cascade, which is the only place where I can see statues. The golden bronze must be enough protection for them.

Grand Cascade in Peterhof
Grand Cascade in PeterhofSamson statue in Peterhof

   The wide canal connecting this spectacular fountain with Baltic Sea in at the center of the palace and now is full of mounts of snow here and there.

Chapel in Peterhof PalaceGrand Canal to Baltic Sea

   I can read at palace’s door it opens at 10:30 AM, so two minutes ago. There is a group of scholars and some couples of tourist waiting but I still manage to be the first in the line when realizing the right place. It opens 15 minutes late and, once inside, I can leave the coat and explore the halls freely. Photos are not allowed and there is an old woman seated in every room, even in the smaller ones, to control this is accomplished.

Orangerie building in PeterhofMuseum building in Peterhof

   After this I continue exploring the rest of the outside. In winter we only must pay by the visit inside the palace and I’ve used the Petersburg card for it. The rate was 550 rub, though.

Peterhof CathedralPeterhof Cathedral interior

   When I live the complex and reach the van stop across the road I go to the cathedral to visit it as vans are stopping very often here. I get into a van, similar to the one I used to come, but I pay 55 rub, 5 less than before.

Stop for vans to Saint PetersburgReaching Saint Petersburg

Pearl Plaza Mall

   I arrive to the hotel at lunch time and with the entire afternoon to spend in Hermitage museum. We lunch in the hotel’s buffet as it is only 650 rub, although the explanation is it is quite poor. Then we leave for the Palace Square nearby.

Palace Square
Hermitage entranceEntrance to Winter Palace

   We join the line in Hermitage’s entrance but it is not going forward. Speakers say museum is full and accesses are being controlled. It is not looking good as we can see big groups of children constantly being allowed in as our line is not moving at all.

   We get in after 45 minutes waiting in the cold outside. Then I purchase two tickets by 500 rub each and we start our visit once we’ve left our coats in the keeper.

Palace HallPalace painting

   First we explore the first floor entirely, where we find mainly palace halls and items and paintings.

Hermitage HallHermitage Hall

Raphael Loggias at HermitageLeonardo Da Vinci's Madonna Litta

  Then we go downstairs to enjoy the archaeological part.

Greek sculptures in HermitageHermitage's Egyptian Hall

   Finally, we go to the second floor for the modern art, where we can find two halls allotted to Picasso. We had around two hours and a half for this visit and we’ve spend them almost entirely.

Hermitage HallPicasso's "The absinthe drinker"

   We only will leave the hotel once at night for get some diner in a neat and crowded place.