Our three days in St. Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia, went by quickly. It is Russia’s second largest city with a population of between 5-6 million residents.
On our first day we enjoyed a city tour by coach and also by canal boat. In the evening we attended a ballet in Alexandrinskiy Theatre. Swan Lake was delightful and as we left the theatre at 10:45 p.m. the sun was still shining. We never saw darkness during our three days here!
Yesterday following our visit to the Hermitage Museum, we took the hydrofoil to Peterhof Gardens. George Burmeister said, “This was the best day yet.” The sky was beautiful and the weather perfect to capture photos of some of the 119 water fountains. George said, “There are too many people in the way for photos.” Albert Hildebrand had trouble believing that all the water fountains were flowing without a pump. Lorne Smith agreed saying there was too much pressure. They are beautiful and require a tremendous amount of water. The guide assured us no pump is used and the water flows from a source 22 kilometers away to a lake in Peterhof and feeds the fountains.
Today we enjoyed visiting the Catherine Palace in Pushkin created by Catherine the Great. Did she get the idea to encourage the Mennonites to come and settle in Russia while working in this palace? This question was asked by Lorne as we were touring her favorite palace.
Margaret took so many pictures that she had to borrow batteries from LaVerne since her batteries went dead. Joyce said that George gets the prize for experiencing the most. He took all the optional tours! He does not want to miss any opportunity for learning.
Now we have to pack our suitcases. We will return to our homes with a new appreciation for the changes occurring in Russia. We experienced warmth and friendliness from the people. Carol Smith expressed the sentiment of the group, “A great tour!” Esther Lewis said,“ Let’s do another TourMagination & Uniworld Tour.”
~ Wilmer Martin