Thursday, September 27, 2012

All That Glitters . . .

Can you guess where I've been?

Yup, St Petersburg. Never imagined I'd be in Russia with a handful of roubles, even if it was a very brief visit. 

Mormor is over for a visit, so I managed to get a cheap deal on a cruise to St Petersburg. It was just one day in the city and two nights on the boat, but it gave us a good taster for a possible longer visit in the future. The Chief stayed with the Weans while Mormor and I 'museumed' until we literally dropped. A good compromise and everyone returned to normality this morning pretty much unscathed. 

We spent most of our time in The Hermitage which is a museum that includes the Winter Palace and the Small and Large Hermitages where all the Tsars used to hang out. 

I have never seen so much gilt, crystal, marble in my life and it all overwhelmed the 16,000 pieces of art it housed. Absolutely mind-blowing. 

It was impossible to do justice to the rooms, the lighting was poor to protect the artworks, but also the scale was massive. There was no way to capture all the details of the room or the scope of the elaborate ceilings, various chandeliers, wall fixtures, paintings, furniture, tiled or mosaic floors. Impossible. 

Each room was grander and more elaborate than the last. Just when you think they couldn't pack any more gilt, marble or paintings, they found a way to top it off with even more icing and cherries on top, lacing it all with a good slosh of Russian flair. 

I had a trial by fire learning how to use the manual setting on my dSLR camera as they wouldn't let you use the flash, but it was quite fun once I got a bit more comfortable. Over 200 pictures in dimly lit rooms is a good way to learn, I guess. 

I got a bit obsessed with the ceilings.

But sometimes it was the finer details that caught my eye.

Who does this remind you of?

Though we spent about 4 hours there, I'm sure we didn't see more than half of the rooms and couldn't even begin to take in most of the art scattered about everywhere. It's not the kind of place the kids would have been happy in, so I was glad we did it this time, so if we go back to St Petersburg, we can do something different. I'd definitely go back, there's a lot more we didn't even begin to see. 

I have a few more photos of places outside the Hermitage which I'll do later. 

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