Yesterday evening, it seemed that the weather was improving but unfortunately this morning it is very bad. I planned to go to Peterhof and I thought that maybe some clouds would have kept away the weekend big crowd but this is really too much! Bus to Peterhof leaves from Avtovo metro station. I came here without having breakfast so, right after checking from where bus leaves I go to eat a Blini (the Russian Pancakes) and drink a coffee and while I’m eating it starts an hailstorm, as you can see in the pic. I start to think if it really the case to go on with my plans and “bravely” face this horrible weather or to stay in Saint Petersburg, maybe going to see some other museum. I don’t want to have regrets so I decide to go. Trip to Peterhof takes about 40 minutes. There’s no much traffic on the road. Rain sometime stops and for just a short time some ray of light breaks the clouds but soon situation reverts to bad. When I arrive in Peterhof it is raining, of course and it is that kind of very thin rain that encourages you to stay out but if you do it after some time it makes you completely wet.
Petergof as the Russian say or Peterhof that is mostly used by westerners was built here by Peter the Great, originally to have the chance to see how construction of Kronshtadt’s naval base was going, but it became soon a very elegant residence with beautiful buildings. It is divided in two parts: upper and lower park. Bus leaves you at the entrance of upper park that are free of charge, while for the lower park, you have to buy a ticket. I didn’t consider that Russians are familiar with bad weather conditions and therefore even with rains, there is quite a lot of people including, by the way, a lot of tourists from far East. Peterhof is famous for its buildings and its fountains and in the upper park you see the huge Grand Palace that divides upper and lower park and also a lot of fountains and the most famous is the one named after Neptune. All around the green is emphasised by the rain and it is brilliant some time spotted by red and white tulips. People doesn’t seem to be very interested to this part of the park and they all go north, in the direction of the lower park and I do the same.
Tickets for lower park have different price for Russians and for foreigners. Right after the entrance you understand why this is the most visited part seeing the magnificent Grand Cascade, an ensemble of more than 100 small and big fountains extending for the entire length of the Grand Palace with a small canal in the middle that reaches the Gulf of Finland. As I do usually, I don’t visit the interiors of the palace. This one was designed by the Italian Architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli that marks Saint Petersburg with many of its works including the winter palace. This palace reminds me the one that also Rastrelli built in Rundale, not far from Riga in Latvia. It rains harder but I keep going on. I decided to roughly go on a rectangular route so to move first west than by the sea and in the end to come back to the Palace and get out to upper park again. The most scenic landmark I see in this first part of my tour is the golden stairs you see in the cover. I try to imagine what it could be when the sun is shining. You can see fountains, even simpler ones, more or less in any corner and statues and of course ducks that in this kind of weather are happier than me. It is also quite cold so I opt for a short break and the cafè for a Solyanka (a typical Russian soup), a slice of cake and a coffee. Once restored, I follow the path along the Gulf of Finland that is made dramatic by the strong wind and the big waves. There is the chance to reach Saint Petersburg also by hydrofoil but I think this is not the best day to do it. Watching at seagulls jumping in the cold water I think that this is the third sea of my trip after Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, and that to see next one, it will take a lot of time. After the dock it is a short walk to reach Monplaisir building that was Peter the Great’s favourite. I do not stop here too much and I keep following enjoying the other fountains. In some case there are also water games activated when someone comes closer to it and people enjoy it a lot. For the ladies there is the chance to wear some aristocratic dress and take the appropriate picture for this noble environment. Now weather is a bit better and I can say I’m happy of this morning decision. Before to go I see the beautiful Peter and Paul Cathedral whose golden domes have finally the chance to shine under the sun rays. With visit to Petergof it basically end the day and also the Saint Petersburg’s stop of my trip. In the evening after resting and drying off, I eat duck filet in a gastro pub with some nice craft beer. Tomorrow I will move to a new town: Veliky Novgorod. Meanwhile please find here the gallery with pictures of Saint Petersburg and Petergof. More pictures are on Facebook. If you’re not there please let me know and I will provide you by email with links to see them.