After touring the interior of Catherine’s Palace, we were lead outside to the palace grounds. The gardens, ponds, walkways, and pavilions were all very beautiful even though the season was late and there were very few flowers in bloom. Here are a few pictures from the gardens.
This is the Upper Bath House.
Here is a picture from the Grotto pavilion with a statue outside.
Inside the Grotto, we were treated to a wonderful musical treat:
In the rear of the gardens is another beautiful building called The Hermitage Pavilion. It was used by the rulers to host more private dinners and parties away from the palace and the servants.
After leaving the grounds of Catherine’s Palace, we were driven to a small store that was chocked full of Russian goodies to buy, like the nesting dolls and amber necklaces and bracelets. I took a couple of pictures outside that give a little perspective of Russia when you are not in one of the palaces:
Here is our tour bus. Notice the Jersey Barrier on the sidewalk. It is made of hollow plastic and is used to save parking for the tour buses in front of the store. I laughed when what appeared to be a concrete barrier was picked up by an attendant and moved to the sidewalk.
At this point, we had spent the entire morning touring and everyone was getting hungry. This particular tour included a full lunch on a floating restaurant in the heart of St. Petersburg.
Our table was just inside the smaller floating building on the far left. Notice the two orange statues on the back of that floating barge. Here they are up close. One is Neptune and the other is a Mermaid.
Behind the two statues is the bridge that we used to cross the river to get to the restaurant.
Here is a picture looking in the other direction (downriver toward the Baltic):
Looking directly across the river, you will see that many buildings are under renovation, like most of St. Petersburg:
Here is one of the tables in the restaurant, preset with bread, water, and salads.
The meal was delicious and helped to prepare us for a full afternoon at the Winter Palace, also know as ‘The Hermitage’. That will be the subject of my next post.