June 6, 2011

St. Petersburg : Catherine Palace

I seriously don't have time to blog anymore. Work in the office is piling up and even if I have free time when I reach home, I'd rather spend it to catch up on me time and other family matters. So I will try my very best to finish my writing on St. Petersburg as soon as possible. And then I still have Turkey trip to blog. 
Oh my.. I wish I have more than 24 hours a day. 
Other than the Hermitage, locals in St Petersburg will definitely recommend you to visit either 1 of these 2 palaces, Catherine Palace and Peterhof. We chose the former as it is easily accessible via public transport. This place is actually in the countryside, Tsarkoye Selo, about 20km to the south of St. Petersburg.

Took the Metro to Moskovskaya station.

And then took a minibus. There are a few minibuses going to Tsarkoye Selo; no 286, 287, 299, 342, 545. Fare is only 30 rubles per person. These minibuses don't wait exactly in front of the station. You need to walk to this building, which you'll notice once you exit the station.

Those buses wait in front of this building. I am not sure about the travel frequency but as we exit the station, we saw bus no 545 already waiting for passengers. So we hopped in.

Take picture first. Our first bus ride in Russia! Hehe...
Taking a bus in Russia is a challenge unless you can speak some Russian because most drivers don't speak English. Make sure you know in advance exactly where to get off the bus. We showed the picture of Catherine Palace to the driver and he nodded.
The journey to Tsarkoye Selo took about 30 minutes. We were dropped off at a T junction, the bus was going to the left and we needed to walk to the right, where the palace is. It's just a short walk, no worries.
There are 2 entrances for visitors. The grouped tours enter from the palace gate, while individual visitors need to pay 200 rubles for ticket to the park.

Mind you, the ticket is only for the park. Add another 550 rubles for the palace entrance.
Enter the park and the queue begins here.
Ughh... the queue was very longggg! We had no choice but to join it. We waited and waited... and it wasn't moving! I almost lost my patience and asked my sister to ditch this palace and just enjoy the garden instead.

Apparently, they give priority to grouped tours. Although the palace opens at 10am, individuals can only enter the palace from 12-2pm and 4-5pm. The rest of the time is allocated to the grouped tours. Not fair eh? 

Anyhow the palace is extremely impressive. The blue, white and gold exteriors is beautiful. 

The beautifully sculpted atlantes.


You wanna see how does it look inside?  

We have to put on this shoe cover to protect the parquets from being damaged.  

The palace has been incredibly restored after being destroyed during WWII.

I think this is Catherine.

Even her outfit has a touch of gold. Walauwehhh... over ok! 

We passed by rooms by rooms, each decorated lavishly with gold.

I see gold everywhere! Even the sculptures on the wall. 

Those tsars were filthy rich man!

The Great Hall with its gold embellishments is something from a fairytale.

The highlight of the palace is the famous Amber Room. 

With its walls of amber, the room is really unique.

We spent the rest of the evening having picnic by the lake and enjoying the beautiful garden. 

There's a cafe inside the palace but the price is a little bit expensive. And we thought it must be hard to find halal food, so we brought bekal from home.


Ahhh... it was so relaxing here! 


Looking back at all these photos suddenly I feel like going there again. In winter. It must be very beautiful yeah? All covered in white. But dunno whether I can brave -20 degree celcius winter weather in Russia. T_T
Anyway, if you're in St. Petersburg, do come here. Believe me, it's worth visiting. 


blackcombo said...

nice pictures... winter in st.petersburg not always -20... ;) this year the temperature drop to -10..
as a student studying here, there are some places i not even have a chance to visit but you did... haha.. :)

rara said...

blackcombo: u're studying there? so u still have a lot of time to explore the country :) i'm soo jealous! st pete is a very beautiful city!

blackcombo said...

yup.. i`m part of students malaysia group in st. petersburg... you can find us at facebook.. https://www.facebook.com/pages/MESSPMalaysian-Engineering-Student-of-Saint-Petersburg/217060114995330

yeah.. peter has great history and full of beauty... if you want to come during autumn, around march, the snow continue till april.. don`r recommend to come in january and february.. freezing cold...

J. Rial said...

Thanks for your post! I am from Brazil and I don´t speak a word of russian... I´m planning a visit to Catherine Palace and your post was really helpful!!!

rara said...

J.Rial: glad my post benefits you. :) enjoy ur trip!