We got another great weather day, finally! Today we visited the two (2) premier palaces in St Petersburg: Peterhof, the Summer Palace of Peter the Great, and Catherine Palace, the summer refuge of Tsarina Elizabeth and Catherine the Great. Both were magnificent, although if I don’t see another palace for a while, I won’t be sad.
The amount of gold, ceramic, and marble that we saw today will last me for many years. One room of the Catherine Palace contained 12 pounds of gold leaf (consider that the price of gold today is over $1000 per ounce! The Catherine Palace is actually more splendid than Peterhof on the inside, although the fountains and gardens at Peterhof are the most spectacular I’ve ever seen.
Considering that both palaces were virtually destroyed by the Nazis during World War II, Russia has done a remarkable job restoring them to their former elegance and splendor. I must single out the Grand Cascade at Peterhof , the main fountain at the complex. It was positively magnificent, with a golden statue of Samson at its focal center.