These are some pictures from our day in Peterhof, where the Czar called Peter spent large chunks of his downtime.
NO DOWNTIME FOR US though in our forced march through his palace, where an hour into the tour I began to feel like a bite of salami getting ushered through an alimentary canal by the ceaseless process known as peristalsis.
June or no June, the day was cold: So cold that even our native-born tour guide shivered. “We pass our year in two ways here in Russia,” he’d told us on the coach that brought us here. “Nine months of anticipation followed by three months of disappointment!” Then the coach stopped and out we all got, while a three-man combo of Russian men in Brezhnev-style hats played highly whimsical renditions of God Save the Queen, the Battle Hymn of the Republic and When the Saints Go Marching in.
Thus we did that: We went marching in, filing like school children past kiosks full of winter clothes, which I was delighted to come upon, since 50 yarsd into out trek, the stems of my earrings were carrying the cold straight into my bloodstream via the tender mussel-like lobes of my ears.
I bought this red stretchy ‘ring of bunny-fur for a mere 341 rubles – or six bucks.
After the palace tour, our own small party of four decided to walk all the way to the property’s edge where a stiff wind straight off the Gulf of Finland parted and re-parted our hair for us.
Still there was great beauty both inside and out: a world of gold if you like gold, and fountains shooting off at regular intervals. Here’s another chilly gold guy at a different part of the fountain:
We’d been turned loose on the grounds, see, literally driven out of the palace in point of fact for a chilly 90 minutes. Then, just near the end of that hour-and-a-half, the sky turned the color you see here and a fine stinging rain gave us all facials.
It was great though, of course it was great. It was the Day Three of our Russian tour, and our final day in the environs of St. Petersburg, the haunted city known called Leningrad during the Soviet years.