Day Twelve — Epic Odyssey
St Petersburg, Russia — Today, we got a little extra sleep before gathering for our excursion to Peterhof Palace, often referred to as the Russian Versailles. The 30-minute hydrofoil boat ride took us to the Palace, and we enjoyed seeing more of the sights of the city on our way. We had several hours to explore the grounds and learn its history. It was a lovely Sunday afternoon, a novelty in St. Petersburg, which claims to have only 42 days of sunshine a year. The Palace was full of tourists, as well as many locals enjoying the weather, fountains, and gardens.
Then we returned by boat to the city for a four-course lunch at 1913 restaurant just a few blocks from the hotel. To complete our day, we took a bus tour of St. Petersburg to experience the highlights and history of this great city, which served as the capital of Russia until the Revolution of 1917. For most of the 20th century, the city was known as Leningrad. It was nearly destroyed by a brutal 30-month German seize during World War II, which cost the lives of nearly half the city’s population. During the tour, we visited the Hermitage, the Winter Palace, Palace Square, and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.
The evening, everyone was free to explore and dine on their own. With dozens of quaint restaurants and bars to choose from, everyone enjoyed the nighttime ambience of a truly unique and resilient Russian city.