As we venture out into our world, travel can consist of a day visit to the closest towns or a journey that will place our feet clear on the other side of the world. It is all about discovery and about everywhere we walk. So, COME – EXPLORE WITH ME.
We began with three nights and four days docked in beautiful St. Petersburg – exploring the city in its true splendor.
Valera, our Russian guide, and one of the best on Viking River Cruises, remained with us throughout the entire cruise: whether it be for after-dinner drinks or to teach us Russian with good laughs!
St. Petersburg was built with Venice in mind, to be the window to the west, to present an image of grandeur of the Russian Empire with its approximately 70 canals and 300 bridges.
It was Peter the Great who founded the city in 1703. Today, St. Petersburg is in need of much repair, however, it remains awesome to behold.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral is the third largest domed cathederal in the world. Once the site of Peter the Great’s Winter Palace, the Hermitage museum has the largest collection of artwork and antiquities in the world. An art lover’s paradise!
At all of the villages along the waterway to Moscow we shopped and found beautiful markets with wonderful, inexpensive treasures to purchase. People were most friendly. Most welcoming. At one village we walked to a home where a woman was working in her garden; she spoke no English and we spoke no Russian, but somehow we communicated and she invited us into her home. She showed us her telephone, which she was very proud of, along with family pictures. It was a grand experience.
Moscow is a sharp contrast to St. Petersburg. Home to over 12 million people, it is a very cosmopolitan city. Everyone seems to own a car, making traffic the same as in every other large city.
The Kremlin is the original fortress and the oldest part of the city. The Armory, a museum within the Kremlin, exhibits Fabergé eggs, carriages and breathtaking artifacts. The collection goes as far back as the fourth century yet it wasn’t until 1813 that the Armory building became an exhibition hall and museum. The treasures contained within are overwhelming, presented with an array of objects that are staggering in their historical interest and spectacular richness. Directly next door, at the Diamond Treasury, one can observe the nearly 190-carat Orlov diamond.
Red Square is incredibly beautiful and pictures do not do it justice.
It was on our very first Russian trip, on board our Viking River Cruise, that we met Jo Lee. We keep going back – on Viking River Cruises.