A Day At The Summer Palace Of Peter The Great


A Day At The Summer Palace Of Peter The Great

For elegance and old world feel,​ St. Petersburg is​ by far the​ best Russian city. if​ you​ go,​ a​ visit to​ Peterhof,​ the​ summer palace of​ Peter the​ Great is​ a​ must.

Peterhof

As Tanya and I left St. Petersburg for Peterhof,​ I was in​ a​ foul mood. a​ pickpocket had cut through the​ bottom of​ my backpack and swiped my camera. the​ ferry taking us was packed and the​ adorable child on​ my right had just spilled his ice cream down my leg. Why,​ I oughta’. My mood was soon to​ change.

Apparently,​ sensing my volatile mood,​ Tanya hadn’t said a​ word on​ the​ 20 minute ferry ride. as​ we exited onto a​ long pier at​ Peterhof,​ she grabbed my hand and more or​ less tugged me down to​ what looked like an​ ancient French road. This was,​ in​ fact,​ the​ Grand Canal leading to​ Peterhof.

The Grand Canal is​ a​ water way with two paths cutting up the​ side of​ it​ towards Peterhof. the​ canal cuts through a​ forested area with trees nearly forming a​ roof over the​ canal. the​ atmosphere is​ very serene,​ particularly since I noticed the​ ice cream tike on​ the​ opposite path of​ the​ canal. Walking no more than a​ mile,​ one comes upon Peterhof and the​ Great Cascade.

The Great Cascade is​ aptly named. it​ is​ a​ collection of​ fountains and statutes sitting on​ tiered marble levels rising to​ the​ front of​ the​ palace. After living in​ Russia for eight months,​ I was use to​ seeing drab,​ grey five story buildings. the​ burst of​ gold,​ white and black colors was amazing and made me wonder what Russia must have looked like before communism.

After gaping at​ the​ Great Cascade for nearly an​ hour,​ it​ was time to​ take the​ tourist tour of​ the​ palace. We dutifully stood in​ line and made small talk with two German couples behind us. Compared to​ the​ general state of​ decay in​ most of​ Russia,​ we couldn’t get over the​ fact the​ palace seemed to​ be in​ such good shape.

As the​ tour got underway,​ I kept getting the​ feeling there was something “off” about the​ palace. For a​ place built in​ 1715,​ Peter the​ Great sure seemed to​ know a​ lot about electricity. in​ particular,​ he seemed to​ have planned well ahead by creating some type of​ internal piping structure for the​ future electrical wires. Well,​ he was Great and perhaps the​ powers that be had done a​ little remodeling over the​ years.

Alas,​ one of​ our German friends was puzzling over the​ same thing. as​ we stood on​ the​ second floor of​ the​ palace,​ Jan asked our guide about the​ anomaly. He asked it​ in​ front of​ our group of​ about 20 people or​ which 75 percent were Russian. He asked in​ a​ heavy German accent.

Our guide dutifully replied the​ Germans had bombed Peterhof during World War II. Peterhof had been completely destroyed. the​ palace had subsequently been rebuilt,​ which explained its modern feel.

There was one of​ those pregnant pauses,​ which occur in​ such situations. Jan turned completely red. Taking pity on​ him,​ the​ tour guide immediately launched into an​ aggressive discussion of​ a​ particular picture on​ the​ wall while we dutifully paid attention and asked inane questions.

Oddly,​ the​ fact Peterhof is​ a​ modern structure doesn’t really detract from the​ experience. the​ palace and surrounding structures simply feel like a​ real palace. With many palaces through Europe,​ you​ get the​ feeling Disney was somehow involved in​ the​ construction.

At Peterhof,​ there is​ a​ definite feeling of​ elegance,​ but elegance mixed with a​ practicality required by day-to-day living. in​ short,​ you​ can definitely image Peter the​ Great living there in​ the​ summer.






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