"Gargoyles & Graffiti"chronicles architectural elements that I find interesting or unique in my travels. Gargoyles are my passion, but today graffiti (which I hate but am learning to love as it is everywhere) is as much a part of architecture as the gargoyles and decorative railings that thrill me.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Catherine's Palace St. Petersburg: pro or con?

Our guide in St. Petersburg

It seems it is all the vogue to go to St. Petersburg, Russia and come back with stories of how you loved the Hermitage Museum, Catherine’s Palace and generally St. Petersburg. The city felt cold to me, like the guide who took us around. She was lovely in appearance, a beautiful, poised woman dressed in a gorgeous outfit with a polka dot skirt. She smiled on cue. She answered questions, but there was a disconnect as if she was doing her Communist, civic duty. There was no warmth or spontaneity and what she said felt scripted. 

Too much gold?

My feet in booties to protect the floor in Catherine's Palace


St. Petersburg surprised me for its modern feel. I knew it contained a lot of old buildings but I was surprised at all the flash. I felt like I was in Times Square, but I prefer being near Tiffany’s so that was not a plus for me. Times Square always feels too dangerous and St. Petersburg felt dangerous too. 

The air in St. Petersburg is super polluted and my eyes stung the whole time there. I was probably cranky as well as the temperature was in the high 90s and there is no air in any of the museums (except the offices where we were not allowed.) 

The architecture is elaborate but almost too much so. I prefer French or Italian, and even though Catherine’s Palace is supposed to be Western, it felt so overdone with all that gold. Having to wear booties as well to tour the museum seems over the top, and the customs people both entering and leaving are so unfriendly. 

Catherine's Palace

 On the other hand, my husband loved it, but he did say he wouldn't want to go back. Here is a youtube video I found. Let me know what you think of Catherine's Palace, pro or con!

There were plenty of nice people outside the Palace. I bought some imitation Faberge eggs from a super nice lady and I love the eggs. I have them displayed on my guest bedroom dresser and they look great. And I had an ice cream at a truck outside Catherine’s Palace and it was delicious.

My fake Faberge eggs

One really cool thing did happen at Catherine's Palace. I saw a woman in the bathroom that I had met on an Eastern Med cruise a few years before. We got reacquainted and I was able to introduce her and her husband to my husband later on. Talk about a small world.

Singers at Catherine Palace lunch

Friend from cruise on our Neva River boat ride

Funny things we saw ...

How many signs they had with Eva Longoria of Desperate Housewives advertising Loreal. There was a billboard on every block. Too bad I didn't get a shot. If anyone has one, please forward on.

The laundry hanging on the boat when we entered to go on our Neva River cruise, probably crew's clothes! (By the way, doesn't anybody else notice how dirty the Neva River is? I was shocked at all the industrial plants dumping stuff in the river on our excursion.)


  1. I have heard mixed reviews. A friend from Church did a river cruise tour and loved it.

  2. I have heard the cruises that do the Russian rivers are interesting. Hard to say. I think I'll stick to the Mediterranean. Surer bet!

  3. I've never been there, but it looks garish...more like a Fairy Tale illustration. I love your description and honesty. Your eggs are beautiful! I'm especially glad the ice cream was good...I love ice cream!

  4. Hi, Jeanne, Yes, the ice cream was amazing and I loved the people outside the Palace working the trucks. They were fun, honest and fun-loving.

    Thanks about my fake Faberge eggs. They are pretty special!

  5. Thank you for visiting my post on Catherine's Palace. The palace is beautiful and rich in history, but I agree that the gold is too much and I did feel the disconnect. I also did a post about our experience about the "unfriendliness" in the city. I think St. Petersburg is a one time experience for us as well.

  6. Kayni, I so much enjoy your blog! Can't wait to see where you will be next!