Food was not the primary focus of our trip to Russia but it was the unexpected star. We ate phenomenal fresh and marinated fish, wonderful mushroom dishes celebrating autumn and some of the most delicious desserts I have eaten anywhere. Read on for the highlights and a list of restaurants where you can sample these delights.
As someone who grew up during the Cold War and its aftermath, the splendor of Russia’s churches and palaces was a revelation. I read enough Tolstoy and Chekhov to know that religious institutions played a major roll pre-1917, but in St. Petersburg as in Moscow, their beauty and stature were impressive to behold.
In 1703, Peter the Great (1672-1725) moved the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg where the city was built on a series of islands in the Neva River. (The city was named in honor of St. Peter, not its founder as is often assumed.) However, the river near the capital was too shallow for commercial traffic or warships, necessitating the construction of a fortress and port further west. Peter designed a palace complex at Peterhof, on the Gulf of Finland, including his beloved summer retreat Monplaisir. From this strategic location, he could see the Kronstadt fortress as well as the city of St. Petersburg. Continue reading “Palaces and Fountains of Peterhof”
We took the high speed train from Moscow and arrived in St. Petersburg at night which allowed us the optimal amount of time in both cities. The train was extremely comfortable – as nice as the Shinkansen and Eurostar. The stations in both cities are centrally located which makes travel that way the best choice. Continue reading “The Glorious City of St. Petersburg, pt I”