First sighting of Russia's iconic onion domes for the Cathedral on the Spilled Blood, Moska Canal tour of St. Petersburg, September 2012
Here in January I don't have many interesting photos to share--except Chet and the cardinals, who are in danger of overexposure--so thought would take you back to Russia. I was fortunate to make a trip of a lifetime in September 2012, on a rivers and lakes cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow. With a little poetic license, I think my photos will fit with the weekly memes in which I usually participate:
The only hitch is that you need just a bit of background of the location for the post to make sense. But, I don't want to repeat myself every day for the different memes, so I'm just doing this one big honking post and you can either just scroll through to the subject that you're interested in--macros, barns, water, fences--or, even better, look at the whole thing! I'll try to be restrained with the number of photos used.
Located 19 miles west of St. Petersburg on the Baltic Sea's Gulf of Finland, Peter the Great built a palace and gardens "befitting the highest of monarchs" to commemorate his victory over Sweden in 1709. Peter must have been pretty full of himself because he wanted this palace to rival the great palaces and grounds of Europe. Apparently he was successful because Peterhof is now known as the "Russian Versailles" for it's gilded statuary, fountains, cascades, ornate palaces, English and French gardens.
Come along with me for a tour of this example of over-the-top opulence. To get to Peterhof, we hopped on a hydrofoil from a main street in St. Petersburg. A hydrofoil is a boat equipped with bottom fins so that the boat "skips" over the choppy waters at high speeds. We traveled the Gulf of Finland in record time (just in time to eat a boxed lunch). Here we disembarked from the hydrofoil--you can see them in the background and that's a lighthouse to the right of the landing dock:
The centerpiece of Peterhof is the quarter mile Sea Channel, a narrow waterway that originates with the cascades and fountains in front of Peterhof Palace and allows the water to run to the Gulf of Finland. Visitors most want to see Peterhof when all the fountains and cascades are operating--otherwise, disappointing. Here we're walking along the Sea Channel toward the Palace:
In the third photo above you have what's called the Grand Cascade, a complex network of statues, cascades and fountains. Below this feathered fellow was just being friendly along the Sea Channel as we walked to the Palace:
This is an upper level view of Peter's Palace with closeups of the gilded domes on each wing of the palace:
These photos were shot from in front of the Palace on the checker-board landing steps and give a view of the Grand Cascade and fountains, including the Samson Fountain in the center, and the Sea Channel to the Gulf of Finland. In the last photo you see smaller summerhouses on either side of the Samson Fountain.
Moving back out into the park, I captured a wedding party in front of Monplasir ("my pleasure", I think) Palace overlooking the Gulf of Finland. Peter the Great is said to have used this place for wild drinking parties. As well, his naval office was here so he could monitor ships in the gulf:
Behind Monplasir there were many gardens like this one laid out in the French style with sculpted beds. Notice the small urn/statue fountain:
And here's my entry for Barn Charm. Hopefully this fanciful aviary will qualify with its pleasing geometric designed fence. (Tricia, you did bend the Barn Charm rules to include any barn or farmish outbuilding?Birdhouse do?)
And then the fountains! So many of them--with names like Neptune, Adam, Eve, Roman--I'll just show a few, including a playful gangley tree that gets people wet when they step close:
And finally, some formal white fences leading up to Peter's Palace with views of more French style gardens below:
My goodness! You're still reading? Thanks! I'll keep this post up all week and enter it in the different memes on their respective days. Now I can just enjoy coming around to visit you.