July 17, 2016

Day Twelve — Epic Odyssey

Today, we are allowed a little extra sleep before gathering for our excursion to Peterhof Palace, often referred to as the Russian Versailles. During the 30-minute hydrofoil boat ride that takes us to the Palace grounds, we enjoy seeing more sights of the city along the way. We have several hours to explore the Palace and learn of its history. It is a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon, a novelty in St. Petersburg, which claims to have only 42 days of sunshine a year. The Palace is full of tourists from around the world, as well as many locals, enjoying the weather, fountains, and gardens. We return by boat to the city for a four-course lunch at 1913 Restaurant, just blocks from the hotel. Afterward, we take a private bus tour of St. Petersburg, learning about the history and highlights of this famous 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 visit the Hermitage, the Winter Palace, Palace Square, and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. This evening, everyone is free to explore and dine on their own. With dozens of quaint restaurants and bars to choose from, everyone thoroughly enjoys the ambiance of this remarkably beautiful Russian city.