So! After a bumpy and long boat ride we are finally here.

At Peterhof, it is a series of palaces and gardens located in Peterhof, Saint Petersburg, Russia, commissioned by Peter the Great as a direct response to the Palace of Versailles by Louis XIV of France.

The architect between 1714 and 1728 was Domenico Trezzini, and the style he employed became the foundation for the Petrine Baroque style favored throughout Saint Petersburg. Most famous are the fountains, these were intrinsic to Peter the Great’s original plans for Peterhof – it was the impossibility of engineering sufficiently powerful jets of water that prompted him to move his attentions from the Strelna site to Peterhof – and subsequent generations competed with their predecessors to add grander and ever more ingenious water features to the parkland surrounding the Grand Palace.

The most famous ensemble of fountains, the Grand Cascade, which runs from the northern facade of the Grand Palace to the Marine Canal, comprises 64 different fountains, and over 200 bronze statues, bas-reliefs, and other decorations. At the centre stands Rastrelli’s spectacular statue of Samson wrestling the jaws of a lion.

The vista of the Grand Cascade with the Grand Palace behind it, the first sight to great visitors who arrive in Peterhof by sea, is truly breathtaking. The Grotto behind the Grand Cascade, which was once used for small parties, contains the enormous pipes, originally wooden, that feed the fountains.

Very interesting, but a bit too much if you ask me 🤣 We walked around the park and had a fabulous time. The weather was great, sunny and the wind couldn’t be felt through the trees. We spend about 3 hours here so that’s money we’ll spend. Because of the weather the boat didn’t return to the city so we had to take the bus. Well that wasn’t so great. No seats and it took about 1 hour to arrive at the first metro station 😓 But this cost a lot less, about 80 Rubles per person (so €1,-) a lot less 😉 But for that you have to stand in a bus for 1 hour… and then take the metro back to the city. When finally back we decided to visit the church Milene really really want to see. Let’s see how that turned out…

Церковь Спаса на Крови

Церковь Спаса на Крови

Or in English “The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood”.

High on my (Milene) list, but as ALWAYS(!!!) there are constructions thus the main church tower is in scaffolding. Same actually as the fountain at Peterhof, which is also under construction. We always have this, many attractions we want to visit are under construction. A bit annoying. So we couldn’t make the greatest photos because, let’s be honest, it looks a bit like a condom covering the main tower.

Anyway, let’s share the story of this building.


Construction began in 1883 during the reign of Alexander III, 2 years after the assassination of his father Alexander II. The church was dedicated to be a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Estimates suggest that the construction cost 4.5 million rubles. The construction was completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

The church as a memorial

The church is prominently situated along the Griboedov Canal; paved roads run along both sides of the canal. On March 13, 1881 as Tsar Alexander II’s carriage passed along the embankment, a grenade thrown by an anarchist conspirator exploded. The tsar, shaken but unhurt, got out of the carriage and started to remonstrate with the presumed culprit. A second conspirator took the chance to throw another bomb, killing himself and mortally wounding the tsar. The tsar, bleeding heavily, was taken back to the Winter Palace, where he died a few hours later. Inside the church a shrine can be found which is located exactly at the place where Alexander II got assassinated.


Architecturally, the cathedral differs from Saint Petersburg’s other structures. The city’s architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Saviour on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.

As we were late we weren’t able to enter the church. Tomorrow we will because the inside is even more beautiful than the outside ☺️

Hermitage and 200 steps of stairs

Hermitage and 200 steps of stairs

So as the weather forecast wasn’t so great for today we decided to visit the famous Hermitage.

First some facts about this building. The Hermitage is the second largest art museum in the world! (After the Louvre) It’s 233.345 sq. meters, it has 1500 rooms and 1.013.653 works of art. Well, we didn’t see it all but it feels like we came close.

Ok, first of all it’s very smart to get your tickets beforehand on the internet. Like we did. This way you skip the line, which wasn’t actually that bad today but we’ve heard other stories 😉

The Winter Palace (now Hermitage) was built in 1754 by the architect Rastrelli on the orders of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. Construction of the new palace took over eight years, covering the last years of Elizabeth’s reign and the short rule of Peter III. In autumn 1763, Empress Catherine II returned to St Petersburg after her coronation in Moscow and became the royal mistress of the Winter Palace. Check more info on the website of the Hermitage.

Now we visited this museum, we can tell you: it’s a lot. Too much to see actually. It’s so big you don’t even know where to go and what to see. But with my (Milene) speed we got to see a lot. I’m not a huge fan of paintings (not at all actually) so I went in there for the rooms itself which are insane. Truly insane. I entered a room which was totally covered in gold!!!! A golden room!!!! Unbelievable right?

Anyway, after three or four hours inside and rain outside we thought it was enough for today. And when we got outside the sun began to shine. How lovely. We walked around a bit and decided to walk up the 200 steps of stairs to the top of St Isaacs Cathedral. From the top of this cathedral you have a nice 360 degrees view over the city (see photo). It was quite nice and only 2,60€.

It’s actually quite cheap here. A pizza is about 6€ in a restaurant 👍🏼 and beers are about 4€ for a pint 🍺 Love it! St. Petersburg is full of hidden gardens with bars and restaurants. Almost every block has one hidden inside them. So we found this cute little bar (photo) where we decided to have lunch. A really great place. And after that we went to see the metro stations. I’ll tell you more about that in later posts.

Now we are death tired in bed. We walked 14km and climbed 40 floors so I guess that’s okay. And tomorrow we are going to explore some other great treasures this city holds. Bit first, time for bed 😴