(March 27, 2015) Pushkin: Catherine Palace
This day we’ll go to Tsarkoye Selo in Pushkin, the
place for visiting the Catherin Palace.
We could visit Alexander Palace as well as it is
here too, this was we would spend the entire day in Pushkin.
No rushes for leaving the hotel this morning as we’ve read in forums
the earlier time for visiting Catherine Palace for the people is not
part of a group is 12 PM to 2 PM, so we leave at 10 AM to get there
just before noon.
We follow the steps in the St. Patersburg card’s
guide and get out from the metro at Moskovskaya station. We follow the
people looking as tourist to choose the exit to the street. This takes
us to the wrong side of the square, although it could be the right one
tomorrow. This is the point from where the vans to the airport leave,
it explains why the most of the tourists we were following had a bag
with them. As the guide explains, we must look for the vans behind the
big Lenin statue, which is now at our left across the road. We go
downstairs again to the pass way to cross the street and going out by
the right place.
We ask “Tsarskoye Selo” to the first van we see
and the driver just stop eating from a can to welcome us and give us a
couple of tickets by 35 rub each. We choose two seats inside the quite
empty van. This is number 342.
It doesn’t wait to get full and leaves as it is
just a few minutes after. It is getting full in the way, though. After
a while we do the same than yesterday: moving to the seats behind the
driver and asking “Palace?”. He says No and points forward so
I’m confident now we’ll be call.
Somehow, once we can read we’re in Pushkin I can
see a sign pointing to the Palace in one of the stops. He says it is
still not our stop, it’s just one more and we get out the van in a
short street with stands full of souvenirs at both sides and the Palace
at the bottom.
We go directly to it without stopping for any
shopping and follow a group with a guide because we think they can take
us to the entrance but they get in through the fence in the closed
courtyard which we cannot access. The guard points us to the other side
of the palace.
There is easy to know where we must go as the line
marks the spot. It’s 12 PM and the line is quite long. Somehow, this is
not working as we thought. This wait is eternal because they open every
20 minutes approximately but between these times big groups of students
arrive and get preference. We talk to the man behind us and he
explains: this is the worst week to visit Saint Petersburg because is
school holidays and then they organize trips to visit cultural places
of the city as it is free for them. This explains too why yesterday we
found the Hermitage full and had to wait that lot in a low season.
We get inside after one hour and fifteen minutes waiting outside.
Inside we get another surprise: this place is no longer part of the St.
Petersburg card, so we’ve paid this day of card for nothing. The web
site is still having Catherine Palace in the list for the card but the
page in the card guide has a stamp with the word “cancelled” on it. We
pay 400 rub for each ticket and leave out coats in the cloakroom and
join the crowd in the entrance. When we manage to reach a place when we
can see the guard, he allows us to get in after pointing him we’re only
We finish this way the worst part of the visit so now we are going to
enjoy it. We go upstairs through the groups stopped and follow the path
through the halls.
First we walk through the halls by one side and then
turn back to go through the same halls by the other side, which follows
long after them to a lot of new halls. This makes we pass through the
huge ballroom twice.
Photos are allowed here, except for the most famous place:
Amber Room. It is beautiful, with the walls covered by genuine amber.
The palace is wonderful and it is a must do. When we’re
back to the cold outside is past 2 PM, so we leave the garden to go to
lunch. In the street with the souvenirs we were before we could see
some restaurants, but the rates showed outside are for tourists, far
from the local prices. We finally get into a small place upstairs
having the poet giving name to this area as theme: Pushkin. This is Cafe
Bake'n'bards and Eva eats Stroganoff steak and I have delicious stew with a salad to share by 1210 rub.
It’s around 3:30 PM when we’re back at the garden which, as
happened in Peterhoff, have the sculptures covered by wooden boxes.
Some parts of the Palace fašade are in works with the scaffolding with
a cover painted as the palace itself to help with our pictures.
We see some palazzos around the garden when we’re exploring it
and pass across a frozen river. The garden is big and we can imagine
how beautiful and green this must be in summer.
We reach a frozen lake. I’d like to have a picture in the
middle of it but I don’t dare to jump in as the ice is not looking
strong enough for me.
We leave the place the van left us and keep waiting for the appearance
of the next. The wait takes more than 30 minutes until we can get into
When we leave the metro in Admiralteyskaya is 5:45 PM. As
these are our last minutes at daylight in this city we delay the rest
in our room to explore the park around Isaac’s Cathedral and see the
popular Bronze Horseman statue.
We then rest but go out for dinner for a nice good bye to this
fantastic city. We choose a restaurant in our own street where we’ve
seen before we’ll be able to taste pelmeni and borscht. Before that I
book a taxi for tomorrow morning at reception desk by 1700 rub because
we have too much baggage as per going all that way in metro.
is more than we expected: it’s looking as a house in century XIX, and
even the waiters and waitresses are dressed as that period. The food
and service are excellent here. Borscht and pelmeni are fantastic and,
even we’re full, we still share an apple pies dessert. With all this,
we even expected a more expensive bill than the 2250 rub we finally
pay. A happy ending for our stage in this city.