HAL in the Baltic: The Hermitage, pride of St. Petersburg

ABOARD THE EURODAM – On a 1974 Pan Am tour (remember them?) our group was taken to The State Hermitage Museum in what was then Leningrad. As a novice photographer at that time I much preferred being out shooting in the street rather than being stuck inside a musty museum. So when I was told there was no photography permitted in the museum I abruptly bolted for the door. Subsequently I learned that skipping the Hermitage was …

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St. Petersburg: Trinity of Cathedrals

ABOARD OCEANIA MARINA-Three of St. Petersburg’s Most Famous Churches Following lunch on the Oceania Marina, we’re off to visit three of St. Petersburg’s most prominent cathedrals. Russia is a land of paradoxes and nowhere is that more apparent than the country’s attitude toward religion in the last century . After the Russian Revolution of 1917 and atheism became the country’s official doctrine, churches were closed and stripped of their religious objects. Churches were converted into whatever the …

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St. Petersburg: Touring the State Hermitage Museum

ABOARD THE OCEANIA MARINA-State Hermitage Museum is a Former Palace The State Hermitage Museum is one of St. Petersburg’s must-see attractions, normally choked with as many as 35,000 tourists daily in summer. We appear to be the first ones entering the museum today. There’s a reason for this: cruise ship tour groups enjoy early admission to the Hermitage well in advance of the museum’s normal operating hours. And we’re on an Oceania Marina tour. The State Hermitage …

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St. Petersburg: Evading the Peterhof Curse

ABOARD THE OCEANIA MARINA: Finding The Tour Group: Time Runs Out (In case you’re coming in at the end of this three-part tale, it begins at the end of this post, continues in the last one, and concludes here.) Continuing to search for my Oceania Marina tour group, I leave Peterhof’s Lower Gardens and go to the one spot where we should meet at some point. The overlook above Peterhof’s famous Grand Cascade with its 64 different …

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St. Petersburg: The Curse at Peterhof Palace

ABOARD THE OCEANIA MARINA-One of Russia’s Most Popular Attractions It’s about a 45-minute drive from the Oceania Marina to the palaces and gardens at Peterhof, often called the “Russian Versailles.” It is a place I look forward to with anticipation and dread. (Note: See previous post) Our lively guide Marie briefs us on the past of St. Petersburg and Vladimir Putin. We pass through countryside that is green and eye-catching. There isn’t a single visible scar from …

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Cruising with the Morrisons: Visiting exotic St. Petersburg

When we left my friends, Owen and Lesley Morrison, they were several weeks into their Seabourn Cruise, heading into St. Petersburg, Russia. They have finally finished their entire cruise and are heading home to Australia. Owen sent me lots of reports on the second part of their trip and I will post them here…know that these events took place a couple of weeks ago. They are now sailing on the Seabourn Sojourn. Russia Saturday May 21, 2011 …

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