St. Petersburg Day 2 - October 6, 2006

We left on the bus at 10 for an all day trip to the Hermitage Museum*. This is located in four interconnected buildings but the Winter Palace is the primary one. The approach is through an immense plaza with a memorial column to Alexander II in the center, the Winter Palace on one side, and the General Staff and Guards building on the other side. The latter two are connected by a Triumphal Arch with a large Winged Glory on top. The other side of the Winter Palace faces on the Neva River. We began with a 3 hour guided tour of the Museum. We broke into two parts, one group with Elina and the other with Mischa. The palace and the rooms are incredible, making the Louvre look like a poor imitation. I took more pictures than anywhere else on the trip. Everything is in remarkably good condition considering that the Winter Palace dates to the mid 18th C. It was completed less than 60 years after the founding of St. Petersburg. The Russians spare no expense on renovations for their historical buildings.

Then we had a brief respite at the Internet Cafe where box lunches had been left for us, after which we were on our own until about 3. We headed up to the third floor for the exhibit of 19th and 20th C. European paintings.

Click here for some of the pictures we saw, taken from various sources.

Then we took the bus back to the hotel for an early dinner at a restaurant before a visit to a theater for a performance of Puccini's Madame Butterfly. Although the music was good, it was amplified to much too high a level. Moreover it was an "innovative" version in which the heroine was a prostitute in Japan after world War II. Here it was entitled Cio Cio San. Barbara liked it better than I did.

* This web site is superb, especially the Digital Collection, which has high resolution images of much of the collection.

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