A simple cottage by the sea…
Despite the raging fires a few (hundred) miles away, the weather in Russia was amazing. It was in the low 80s every day, perfect weather to saunter through a palace or two.
Peterhof Palace, located in St. Petersburg, was built both under the direction and with the sweat of Peter the Great. He was 6 foot 7 inches tall (an inch taller than yours truly) and legend states that he built many of the fountains with his own hands.
Although there were no pictures allowed inside the palace, the grounds are reason enough for a couple quick stories…
Our guide, Ksenia. Or something. The Hub and I disagree on what her name is.This is the sight of her that we were most rewarded with, as she scurried about the massive grounds. We were in bus 11, btw.
The front of the palace. I long for a home that I could literally get lost in.
The back porch, with the canal to the sea. PtG pattered the palace on Versailles. Well, obviously.
All of the fountains are fed from cisterns in the mountains several miles away, through an ingenious series of smaller and smaller pipes, creating more than enough water pressure to propel the water high into the air without the aid of mechanics. Or maybe with Russian magic!
Gold leaf. ...over his dingle.
We had lunch in one of the palace's outbuildings. Most notably, there was no air conditioning in these palaces, so it was hot. A hot, sticky lunch of Russian food. Not a highlight.
See? We had Borscht. Borscht is beet soup, served cold. Mmmyuck.
However, there was this roving band of sweaty and delighted Russian singers roving about the restaurant. Of particular note: the super happy russian banjo player and his glare of what I can only assume is unrequited love for me...
I'm not sure if you can see it in this picture, but this is a fountain tree. Peter had the jokey idea to build these behind benches and hide until a group of ladies would sit to cool off on a hot Russian summer day. Then, he would turn on the water and douse the ladies, making the flour in their wigs turn to paste! Heehaho. Oh, Peter. You're kind of a freak.
The surrounding gardens were amazing. I could not have asked for a more gorgeous day to saunter around Russia, pretending to be a great Tsar.
We left by hydrofoil, so this was our parting shot of Peterhof. Isn't it the awesomest? You should go this weekend!