Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Another Wee Quilt, and St. Petersburg - final

Over the weekend, I finally made it back to the studio to do some stitching.  I put together bits and pieces, and began working with this:
 I don't know if you recognize them, but they are leftovers from a few projects last year.  Once I'd inserted the strip, I pulled a piece of seaweed off of my design wall.  It's been sitting there for who-knows-how long.  For some reason, each time I look at this, I think "Lighthouse," but there's nary a lighthouse to be seen on this little quilt.  strange.

St. Petersburg - Final

After our morning at the Faberge Museum, the evening was spent at the ballet.  It was not the Bolshoi, and it was not at their primary ballet auditorium.  We saw Swan Lake, at Alexander Theater.  It is an imposing structure, though maybe not, when you consider that everything built by the Romanovs was imposing.  This was built by Catherine the Great, for her favorite grandson Alexander.
 Before we entered the building, we walked through the garden to view this statue of Catherine the Great.  She looks like a Viking to me, or like she belongs on a ship's prow.  She was a very powerful woman, who ruled as Empress, even though it was her (stashed away) husband who was of the royal line.
 My husband insisted on taking lots of pictures of me.  This one is not half bad.  Catherine looms directly behind me, and out of the frame.
 It took quite a while to find our seats, but find them we did.  There were wooden chairs lined up on the floor.  We were in the sixth row.  This is the stage. 
When you turn around, the other 3 walls greet you with the balconies.  And, wow!  Look at that chandelier!
 I believe this was Catherine's box in Alexander Theater?  It was in the back of the room, with the best view of the stage.
 Hubby and his selfies!  This is the last photo I have from the ballet, as all photography of the show was banned.  The ballet itself, was disappointing.  I've heard about and seen Russian dancers, but I guess I've only heard about and seen the best.  Once I got over the shock that they were not dancing perfection, I was able to delight in the amazing surroundings and the incredible costuming.  Quite the experience, to be sure!
On our third and last day in St. Petersburg, we visited The Hermitage.  This was originally the Winter Palace, built by Elizabeth.  But Elizabeth died 7 years into the 8 years it took to complete the building.  Catherine moved in, and devoted half of it to her private art collection.  She called her galleries "The Hermitage," meaning that it was for her enjoyment, and hers only.

After the Revolution, the Communists kept it intact, and opened it to the public.  wow!  Anyone and everyone could now be exposed to the Masters.  During WWII, all of the art was whisked away to Siberia before the Nazis invaded.  There are photos of the people visiting the museum and admiring the empty frames, as an attempt at normalcy when they were under siege.

We arrived on a rainy day.  The wait looked long, but once they opened, we entered quickly.
 We walked up a marble staircase, in the middle of this amazing soaring building.  What an entry way!  Look at those columns!
 Here's a close-up, and remember:  If it looks like gold, it IS gold.
 There were a couple of thrones, this was one of them.
 There were parquetry floors everywhere.  I took LOTS of pictures of floors. They may have been my favorite part of the Hermitage.
 They had a fiber and fashion display as we first entered the museum.  This gown actually belonged to Catherine the Great.  Judging by the gown?  She couldn't have been much taller than 4'6".  I would have dwarfed her.
We entered room upon room and hall upon all, all filled with treasures.  I believe they said that if you spent one minute studying each item in the collection, it would take more than 7 years to view it all.  I believe it!  I found the passage from one wing to another to have a fascinating view.
 Every bit of the palace is decorated.  No surface is left alone.  Can you imagine?
Here is another view, from another walkway to another wing:  right over a canal!
 This is the clock room.  If you click on it, you can see a glass case near the middle of the frame.  It contains an elaborate peacock clock, that is unbelievable.
 This is about the best picture I could get of it.  When it hits the hour, the peacock lifts its tail and flaps its wings and the owl hoots and the mouse moves, etc., etc.  The time is kept on a mushroom at the bottom of the scene.  It is incidental to this mechanical marvel.
 And I guess I would be remiss, if I failed to mention the art.  But I found the paintings to be disappointing, simply because they were all behind glass.  One could not view them without seeing reflections.  Apparently someone entered The Hermitage and doused a Rembrandt with acid several years ago.  After that, all of the paintings were installed behind protection.  Good for the paintings, bad for the viewer.
And that was it for our time in St. Petersburg.  We reboarded the ship, and headed out that afternoon.  Say goodbye to the impressive architecture!
 And the port activities...
 Once we pass the bridge, we are back in the Baltic.
Next stop...Riga, Latvia.  At least that was the plan...

1 comment:

Barbara Sindlinger said...

All that gold - all that glitz. Wow. You just have to wonder how much money was spent on all of that.